Archive for October, 2012

Review of The Girl In The Steel Corset by Katy Cross

From Kady Cross’s Website:
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.

General Impressions:
First off, my version from the library contained the short story The Strange Case of Finley Jayne.  I highly suggest reading this first, as it really gets you into the head of Finley and gets you used to the social classes that play a part in The Girl In The Steel Corset. Also, it gets you familiar with the steampunk world created by Kady Cross. While there are some inconsistencies between the two, it is easily overlooked especially with how much it does set up Finley for the reader.

The story itself definitely grabbed me early on and refused to let go. While I was curious as to what was going on with the overarching plot, honestly it was the characters that pushed me further into the book. The whole motley group living under Griffin’s house plus Jack Dandy lead to one of the most colorful and intriguing cast of characters in a book. While some of them you want to slap upside the head repeatedly, there really wasn’t a character in the entire story that dragged for me.

My only complaint was that I figured out the mystery roughly halfway through the book, though Cross made up for it during the climatic battle. Even knowing who was behind everything didn’t kill the story for me because the real story is about the characters.

Final Takeaway:
If you haven’t read steampunk before, or have been holding off on reading steampunk for one reason or another, this is a good introduction into the genre. Cross does an amazing job of incorporating elements of steampunk into Victorian London without it being jarring. Within a few chapters, almost everything comes across as completely normal and in place.

I suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of steampunk, or looking to read some steampunk for the first time. Also, anyone who is into genetic mutations and such. I really loved this book. Reading in the Acknowledgements Katie Cross mentioned how her editor referred to this book in the beginning stages as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets X-Men. While I would never have come up with that myself, it’s a fitting comparison.


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