Book Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

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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.

Recently, I've become a bit obsessed with all things VICTORIAN or STEAMPUNK (because of my new novel, which yes, I do have to get around to posting about). And this was very much both. Which made me very happy :D

Contrary to my expectations, I liked Finley (although I have to say I liked Emily more). She was basically in a Jekyll-and-Hyde position, only the change was part of her blood, not caused by potions. Her inner conflict was interesting and she wasn't a total Mary Sue, thank goodness. It was a refreshing change from the recent increase in bad MCs in popular YA, which is very disheartening. I'm actually working on my own MC's inner conflict, and I'm really not sure if I'm doing it right.

However, Emily is completely brilliant. She's all Irish and smart and strong and doesn't let boys get her down. Her accent is totally cool, too, and she creates these awesome gadgets. CLOCKWORK CATS AND STEEL CORSETS. WHO DOESN'T LOVE THAT?

The boys in this book were... interesting.

So the friend who introduced me to this series is, like, OMIGOODNESS JACK DANDY IS SO AMAZING. But I don't know about him. There's really no character development, only a smooth-talking, arrogant, sarcastic criminal, who is admittedly very handsome. Therefore by default I like Griffin better, because with him I got a whole backstory that made me care about him and HE CAN ACCESS THE AETHER. He cares so much about Finley, too. It's sweet.

Sam Morgan I didn't particularly like, though it'll be really cool to see how he and Emily develop. Jasper was pretty chill, too, and I'll be looking forward to seeing more of him in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, book 2 of the Steampunk Chronicles.

The third book, The Girl With the Iron Touch, came out a few days ago.

So here's summaries for the next two books:
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper, and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens and tightens. From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship. More than ever, Finley must rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley...and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much....

I think this is my favorite cover in the series :) That clockwork collar is scary, but sooo pretty...

In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken.

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives.

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him...and for Griffin.

Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has....

Looks like this one will be about my favorite character EMILY! *squeal*
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