Sunday, January 15, 2012

[Review] The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross--book one in the Steampunk Chronicles

AU cover
Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset {goodreads}
Authors: Kady Cross
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/06/2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen // $19.99
Source: Publisher sent for review
Precautions: Clean Mild violence, mild romance
Series: #1 in the Steampunk Chronicles
Pages: 388
My Rating:
Amazing read

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one - except the thing inside her...

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But not all Victorian girls have a darker side that makes them capable of knocking out a full-grown man with a single punch...

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that makes Finley special - makes her one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities; Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist - the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help - and finally be a part of something.
My thoughts: 

~ Final thoughts ~
Kady Cross has taught me a valuable lesson: steampunk is cool! Cross introduces an X-Men-esque concept to historical (1897) London in a captivating story that will appeal to YAs and fans of historical fiction and the supernatural. Even at 388 pages, I'm sitting here wishing there was more; I'm so glad that this is the first in a series, because I don't know how I'd be able to say goodbye to these delightfully dazzling characters so soon.

~ MY THOUGHTS (in full) ~

Excuse me while I sigh heartily, such is the enormity of my love for this book. Kady Cross really surprised me--I had no idea I'd enjoy The Girl in the Steel Corset so much! Cross pitches this as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets teen X-men. I didn't know there were even going to be supernatural elements, just that it would be steampunk. There's so much to like in this book and there's a little something for fans of every genre.

Right from the get-go, I was swept up by the illustrative writing style - it definitely ranks among the more educated in the YA genre (both in structure and choice of words). Written in a third-person omniscient narrative voice, the reader is able to keep track of where each main character is, and what in the blazes they're getting up to. Those more accustomed to first-person may find themselves overwhelmed or detached, and that's okay--it won't be for everyone. I personally love the style when it's done well, and well done did Cross write it!

Quite possibly the most impressive component in this first book in a series, is the undeniably charming cast of characters. Our heroine, Finley Jayne, a recently cast-off servant, ends up at the Greythorne House in Mayfair London (where only the rich reside) following a nighttime road accident.

There, she meets a group of colourful and privileged teens: the illustrious Griffin King, whose trusting personality is as endearing and beautiful as he is himself; Emily, a small sweetie with a vocal Irish lilt, ingenious in the art of machinery and science; and Sam, who is kind of like a mama bear--big and strong and will tear you limb from limb if you mess with his family. They are closely investigating the crimes of the Machinist, who is behind all of the terrible things that have been happening with the automatons and machinery in London. They have secrets, and they're connected by far more than just their love for each other.

I love books with this kind of character dynamic ~ a group of friends who live together and achieve great things together and have fun and fight and have fall outs. . . . I fell in love with each member--even Sam won me over despite his whininess and untrusting jealousy.

Romance is aplenty in The Girl in the Steel Corset, don't you worry! It takes much more of a front seat than I'm usually comfortable with, but I was actually okay with it. There are two love triangles, but not once did they bother me. I think I'm much more forgiving of love triangles with historical-type books, since that's just how things were back then (or the way I perceive it).

Finley has Griffin King (who is working towards bringing easing in and controlling Finley's bad side) and Jack Dandy (who is attracted to the strong, bold and seductive nature of her bad side).

Emily gets Sam (whose jealousy was palpable) and Jasper (a cowboy with secrets of his own, of course ~ he's much more centered compared to Sam).

The story consists of a healthy mix of slow, descriptive passages and fast, action-y scenes. I was never bored. *sigh* I just loved this book, and even at 388 pages, I sit here wishing there was more. I'm so glad that this is the first in a series, because I don't know how I'd be able to just say goodbye to these characters so soon.


* from the AUS edition; page numbers may differ

First lines
"The moment she saw the young man walking down the darkened hall toward her, twirling his wooden stick, Finley knew she'd be unemployed before the sun rose. Her third dismissal in as many months.

(I LOVE the first chapter.
I'd been laughing so hard I was in tears!)

(Griffin took Finley back to the manor and Sam is not happy about it)

""We should have taken the girl to the hospital," Sam muttered, leaning against the corner of a sofa. He rubbed the back of his neck with his left hand. "Bringing her here puts us all at risk. What if she's a wanted criminal?"
     Griff tilted his head. "I don't think it would have been safe to take her to the hospital, for her or the staff."
     His friend raised a heavy brow, sarcasm written all over his face. "So you decided, 'hell, why not bring her home with me?' Well done."

(p. 29)

* cheapest Australian e-store price


Fishpond * | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.



Harlequin in Conversation: Meet the author!


Other reviews of 'The Girl in the Steel Corset'

Badass Bookie: 6/5 {link}
Nice Girls Read Books: 5 stars {link}
Y.A. Reads: 4.5/5 hearts {link}
Manda's Movements: 4/5 stars {link}
Alpha Reader: 4/5 stars {link}
Eleusinian Mysteries: 3/5 {link}
inkcrush: "a wild ride" {link}

Books With Bite: 5 bites {link}
Reading Teen: 6/6 chess pieces {link}

The prequel--

It's recommended that you read the prequel first, because Finley is a bit cold at the beginning and apparently you'll feel a bit more acquainted with her if you read this first. I don't know how non-Kindle readers can get the free (?) ebook... If you've read this, let me know if it's worth the read!

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---

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