After reading the second book in the Steampunk Chronicles series by Kady Cross, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, I decided that I needed to get my hands on book #1. Am I ever glad I did! The first book, The Girl in the Steel Corset, was, in my opinion, the better of the two, yet they were both very well written and entertaining.
The novel, The Girl In The Steel Corset, takes place in England in the year 1897. Miss Finley Jayne fights and escapes from a young lord whom tries to take advantage of her while being her employer. What allows Finley to win over this man is the darker side within her that makes her able to knock-out any full-grown man; she has strength unseen in even the most normal of men, let alone women. After fleeing from her attacker, she literally runs into Griffin King, the Duke of Greythorne. He sees something inside her that he believes is special and so he takes her into his home to live with himself and his friends, who as a group are known as misfits. There is Emily, the only other girl, who is a genius and has her own abilities, as well as an undying love for Sam, who now has a body that is half metal and is therefore stronger than most. Then there is Jasper, with whom they don’t know much about his past, but do know that he is unremarkably fast and is an American cowboy.
Finley falls into their lives while Griffin is in pursuit of a man called The Machinist. He has been building automatons that he then has sent out on criminal activities. Finley is hoping that with her abilities, and Griffin’s help to bring her darker side more intact with her good side, that she will be able to help them stop The Machinist before it is too late, and that she may have finally found a place to fit in.
The Machinist is set on tearing Griffin and his friends apart, and sneaks into their lives undetected, while using one of them while they are at their lowest. The group of friends must find out who they can really trust and whether they can trust each other. The plot is great and so easy to follow. You know that they are working up to finding out who The Machinist is and how they are going to stop him, with a few minor conflicts along the way.
The characters in this novel are well written. You get to know each of them, but only in as much as you are supposed to know. Cross has a way of explaining things when the timing is perfect, and you find that some of the characters are more intertwined than you first think. I love how the characters are all from different social classes, not something you would think was common place in Victorian England.
This book encompasses a lot of things that make a YA novel a good one. You have friendship being tested, romances evolving, love triangles, paranormal activity, a female heroine as the main character, mystery and suspense. I love that Cross has multiple mysteries in the novel. For instance, who is The Machinist and what is he planning on doing next? What is his ultimate goal? Also, who is Finley and why does she have this darker side? Also, who is she attracted to, Griffin King or Jack Dandy, a criminal?
I am really starting to get into the whole Steampunk novels. I think my first ones I read were the Infernal Devices, which I absolutely loved, and now these books, The Steampunk Chronicles, did not disappoint me. I would recommend reading this if you are into this type of genre, or if you are looking for something new and exciting.