Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross [REVIEW]

TITLE: The Girl in the Steel Corset
(Steampunk Chronicles #1)

AUTHOR: Kady Cross
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PUB DATE: May 24 2011
Summary from Goodreads:

"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 no "normal" Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch....

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's 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 and an unrequited love for 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, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on--even if it seems no one believes her."

Rating:

"I like a little fight in my girls."
She grinned at him, causing blood to dribble down her chin.
"Then you're going to love me."

Finley Jayne is like no other girl. She may look like a normal girl but when danger lurks and there seems to be threats about, Finley’s “other self” becomes unleashed. That sort of alter-ego persona reminds me of Jessica from the TV series Heroes. It’s very entertaining to watch Finley’s switch between personalities, although it does cost her much whenever she tries to live a normal life. This part of herself has made her self-conscious and scared, making her feel that distancing herself would be much safer for her and for the people around her.

My copy of The Girl in the Steel Corset includes the short story The Strange Case of Finley Jayne. Reading through the latter was great considering I got to see Finley’s life before she met Griffin and his company. Although it did leave me puzzled once I started The Girl in the Steel Corset. Why didn’t the events of The Strange Case of Finley Jayne have a reflection to The Girl in the Steel Corset? Surely the good deeds she has done before would have given her more confidence in her “gift”, right? It’s like it never really happened. But since I was curious about Finley’s other story, I had to let that go and think of The Girl in the Steel Corset apart.

My experience with reading this book was very pleasant. I truly embraced the Steampunk genre in a way I never had with the other books I have read from the same category. The characters were also a splendid surprise since I was only inquisitive over Finley’s story, and yet I was introduced to an even more interesting set of people who are not only as peculiar as Finley, but have intriguing stories to tell of themselves as well. I just had to drink it all up!

I’m a little distressed to say that it wasn’t all that amazing for me. As with any book, I have my share of displeasures. Trust historical fictions to be more of mystery unraveling and crime investigations rather than having sure-fire action scenes [which I had been expectant over, considering Finley’s character]. As much as I enjoyed seeing Finley work on her dual-personality, the “pondering over things” tactic going on with our characters was a too lengthy for my taste. Somehow the excitement had fizzled out when I finally got to the climax. This has been my problem with a lot of mystery books. I tend to lose patience with the waiting and I feel like the final battle was too brief and abrupt to be of a relief.

Nevertheless, The Girl in the Steel Corset made a commendable first book for a series. It gives readers enough room to sink into Finley’s world. With witty characters, a flamboyant setting and an admirable writing style, Kady Cross has definitely gotten me eager to read the entire Steampunk Chronicles!

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