Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Girl in the Steel Corset

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
HarlequinTeen, 2011
473 pages
YA; Science-fiction; Steampunk
4/5 stars
Steampunk Chronicles #1

Source: Received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

After loving The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, I was psyched to start this book although I drew pause at seeing the length due to my general belief that books can and should be edited down as much as possible.  I did end with some complaints about length but overall I think it was appropriate to have all the included scenes.

Just as with the prequel, this book opens with Finley Jayne in trouble at her place of employment and fleeing in search of new work.  Instead of returning to her home though, she is taken in by a motley crew helmed by the Duke of Greythorne aka Griff.  His compatriots are Emily, the brilliant scientist; Sam, half-man, half-machine after an encounter with the villainous Machinist who is skulking London's streets; and Jasper, an American cowboy who has befriended Griff.  There is also his aunt and guardian Cordelia because his parents died in a tragic accident some years ago.

Finley doesn't entirely know what's happening because of her powers that baffle and frighten her.  But as she settles into the household, she discovers she is not the only one with mysterious abilities as the rest of the group slowly reveals what they can do.  Her personality seems to mimic Dr. Jekyll (good and upright) and Mr. Hyde (violent, seductive, and incredibly strong) but there are more twists in the abilities of the other characters.  This part was great; the action was thrilling and well-paced just as in the prequel.  The bit I was less enthused about was the love triangles, which were not a part of the prequel.

In comparison to many YA, this book has TWO love triangles.  First the lovely Emily who is interested in Sam, despite the fact that he is a MORON, and Jasper who also has an interest although he is unable to express it.  Sam, in a move I hate, doesn't want Emily to be with Jasper but doesn't think he is deserving of her, resulting in his annoying thoughts.  In fact, I quite loathed Sam who will hopefully be redeemed in the sequel I'm looking forward to reading.

The other love triangle is Finley with Griff and Jack Dandy.  Now I can see many YA readers falling for Jack Dandy but I always want the straightedge guy so I prefer Griff.  The two segments of herself each appeal to a different guy and fears about her inferiority to the duke hamper her relationship with Griff but I have confidence that as the trilogy(?) progresses, she'll realize it's the right choice.

Overall, I liked all of the characters except for Sam and Cordelia and I really enjoyed the abilities of the characters and the combination of machines with what seems like magic.  I am very excited about the second book, which looks like it will have its own self-contained story set in New York City!

Cover: I've said it before: I love a cover with a bold, eye-catching dress; it just speaks to me and promises an interesting read. I hope the second book also has a gorgeous dress.

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