Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #1
Date of UK Publications: 17th June 2011
Synopsis 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.
I'll start this review by saying I have never read a steampunk novel before. That I'm aware of. I had a little bit of an idea about what it would be about, I thought it would be a little bit like Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, because I knew it was set in Victorian England and was to do with machines. And it was, a little bit, but not really. :L
Finley Jayne has two personalities, as if she is schizophrenic. She has her normal, sweet, little girl peronality, and the darker, meaner, not so little personality, that shows its face every time Finley becomes angry or scared. I liked this idea or having two personalities, one of which you cannot control, it made Finley's character exciting and made me want to read her about her.
The book is told from multiple perspectives. It swaps from Finley and Griffin, and occasionally to other characters, like Sam. This was good, because it even though it wasn't written in first person, we got an insight to each characters thoughts and their actions when Finley wasn't there, which would not have happened had it just been Finley's narrative.
The beginning of the book was incredibly slow for me. I'm not sure why, I just had a hard time getting into it. It wasn't until about half way through that I started to enjoy it, even though I really wanted to. I think this is mostly because I'd never read a steampunk book before, and it was completely different to what I expected. And also because I'm not really into science, so the whole science of the Organites and the 'mandroids' definitely went in one ear (eye?) and out the other.
But, as I said, around half way through I started to enjoy it, and I read the last 40% all in one sitting. Once Cross had explained everything she needed to to make her world make sense and could get on with the story, I found myself wanting to know what would happen next more and more. I enjoyed reading about the fights and the relationships that unravelled between the characters more and more as the story went on. And the last 10% of the book was really good, and I couldn't stop myself from turning the pages.
Overall, The Girl in the Steel Corset is a very strong debut novel, though I don't think it was for me. It was a well written, well thought out story, and I recommend it to steampunk lovers, as I think they would really love it. If you're like me though, and you're not really a fan of science fiction, then maybe this one is not for you.
I give it 3 Feet!
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