Book Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset
By: Kady Cross
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 24, 2010
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Galley Provided by Published via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult
The Girl in the Steel Corset is a mixture of Victorian era X-Men and steampunk. The Steampunk genre is becoming more and more prevalent. Other authors such as Scott Westerfeld and Cassandra Clare have already solidified themselves as strong writers in the genre; Kady Cross will make an excellent addition. The Girl in the Steel Corset focuses on a group of talented youths who seek to keep London safe from criminals. In this edition, the main criminal at large is The Machinist, a man who builds automatons and releases them on the public for various purposes. Griffin, a wealthy young nobleman, finances efforts to stop The Machinist's activities and uncover his latest plot which leads straight to Buckingham Palace. Along the way, Griffin meets Finley Jayne, a clever and strong girl, who appears to have both a demon and angel residing within her.
While the concept of the story appealed to me, I couldn't help but think of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel. Both of these novels have villain types creating machine armies for various purposes, runes, and almost identical settings. Even though that's where the similarities between the two end - this book did not hold my attention as well as Clockwork Angel. I loved the characters in this novel, but it felt like the plot plodded along in parts. There were times were I honestly had to force myself to keep going. I am so glad I stuck it out because the ending is awesome; I loved that it kept me on the edge of my seat, eager to flip to the next Kindle screen.
Kady Cross is a solid writer and a master at character creation. However, I would have liked to know more about the abilities of the characters and why those traits were the ones that manifested. You get so much detail about Finley and Sam, but not the others. I also felt like Jasper was just randomly thrown in as an afterthought at times. He was never truly introduced in a way that made it seem like he belonged with this group.
I went back and forth a lot on whether to give this book 3 or 4 birdies. I really did enjoy it when it was all said and done, but getting to that point took a lot more work than I would have expected. I often found the narrative to jump around too much and at times I had to reread to figure out what the heck was going on. Some moments just seemed to come out of the blue and I couldn't always decipher how they fit into the larger picture. For example, the whole tattooed rune issue just seemed like it was a thrown in towards the end rather than being integral to the story. Also, if the runes are so important and beneficial why are Griffin and Finley the only ones who seem to have them? I also have so many unanswered questions. I know this is a series, but some closure would have been nice. Overall, this is a good read and I do recommend it. However, I wouldn't say it's a go get this book as soon as humanely possible and read it NOW kind of book.
One Last Gripe: Sam's behavior and attitude throughout the book turned me off. He does try to redeem himself, but he is tainted for me after laying his hands on a female. Superhero or not - that is not cool.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: Finley's family history
First Sentence: The moment she saw the young man walking down the darkened hall toward her, twirling his walking stick, Finley Jayne knew she'd be unemployed before the sun rose.
Favorite Character: Jack Dandy
Least Favorite Character: Sam
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.