Oh dear. This is what I needed to rev up my bibliophile engine again! :)
In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has just lost herself yet another job as a lady’s maid after a young lord tried to take liberties with her and – well – she beat him to a pulp.
She’s a small slip of a thing, but inside of her is a being of some sort that craves a good fight. And when it takes over, as it often does in this sort of situation, Finley is only an observer as she develops a super-strength that takes the would-be rapist by surprise.
The question is, as he lies unconscious, what is Finley to do?
This “thing” inside of her alarms her – it’s a complete loss of control that is supernatural and violent. And she’s going to be getting a reputation that will make it far more difficult to get another job. All she can think to do in the moment is run away…
Eighteen-year-old Griffin King, the young Duke of Greythorne, almost runs into her while on his velocycle – and in that moment he sees the darkness in her. He sees two auras in one young woman, something unprecedented in his time of seeing the Aether, the invisible force all around us. He immediately takes her back to his home of misfits, consumed with curiosity.
There Finley meets Jasper, an American cowboy with a mysterious past, brilliant Emily that has her own special abilities, and the young man she has unrequited feelings for: Sam, a “mandroid” with both human and robot parts. Yet Finley’s warring insides alternately want to rip them all apart on her way out of there or is distrusting, wary, and desperately hopeful that these people might be the answer to helping her.
Meanwhile, Griffin is investigating a criminal called The Machinist that is a genius behind a rash of aggressive, frightening crimes committed by automatons.
But as they investigate The Machinist, he seems to be investigating them…
Ah… (that was a sigh of happiness, if you couldn’t tell) this is what I’ve been needing!
The Girl in the Steel Corset kicks off with an awesome, kick-ass start that introduces us to Finley with her Buffy-like strength and bloodlust Jekyll and Hyde complex. Mmmm, that’s the way to start a book!
I have been realizing how much I liked steampunk, as hard of a genre as it is to explain… It’s a perfect mixture of Victorian-era (usually, though not always) alternative history with way more automatons, steam/clockwork technology and a mesh of fantasy/sci-fi. Awesome!
Here, with The Girl in the Steel Corset, I was infatuated with each individual plotline and happily immersed in the dark powers and machines of alternative 1897 London! We get a mixture of memorable characters that pop off the page, strong smarts, and a sense of both seriousness and fun.
The mystery, intrigue, fantasy excellence, and hints of romance create a truly delectable dessert of a novel! The Girl in the Steel Corset has fantastic twists, emotions I care about, great Dr. Jekyll & My Hyde/Frankenstein parallels and a dastardly villain in The Machinist!
Now, I was a TAD disappointed later on – because I figured out The Machinist’s “master plan” before our brainy, ragtag bunch of abnormal heroes and heroines – but I did see that plot coming a little since I was a fan of (*Possible Spoiler Alert if you were/are a fan of lesser known Disney movies from a bygone 90s era!*) The Great Mouse Detective when I was little. (*Possible Spoiler Alert Over!*) Though here it is, of course, far more sleek and stylish with a completely different plot!
It’s an extremely hard book to stop reading, at least in my opinion. I had a blast! I am ecstatic that there is a second book out called The Girl in the Clockwork Collar! I need it! I want it! I must have it! :)
The Girl in the Steel Corset has such a motley, entertaining, detective/action, steampunk vibe that I believe it could sustain a series – beyond hopefully just a trilogy or something like that. It’s called The Steampunk Chronicles – and I hope that means that author Kady Cross will be chronicling many, many adventures with these characters!
Because that would make me happy.
And you wouldn’t want to make me angry… You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…
P. S. If you didn’t know, that was a reference to the 70s TV series The Incredible Hulk, which seemed appropriate with Finley’s issues. :)