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I Belong

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset

Author: Kady Cross

Genre: YA Steampunk/Paranormal

Series: The Steampunk Chronicles (Book 1)

Publication Date: May 24, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 480 Pages

ISBN-10: 0373210337 (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0373210336 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Kayla


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…

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 against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a 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 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.

Quick and Dirty: A girl with a Jekyll & Hyde personality bands together with a group of paranormal teens to defeat a crazy automaton mechanic/expert.

Opening Sentence: The moment she saw the young man walking toward her in the darkened hall, twirling his walking stick, Finley Jayne knew she’d be unemployed before the sun rose.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Finley Jayne is trying to be independent from her family — not because she doesn’t like them, but because her actions cause destruction everywhere she goes. She is trying to make a better reputation for herself, which means working as a maid for a very rude, touchy-feely (in a bad way), and rich gentleman that is high on the social ladder. So when she ends up beating the dude half to death and runs across the street, she doesn’t expect to run into yet another aristocrat. Although crashing into Griffin King is the least of her worries. A madman is becoming bolder, determined to use his automatons to disband Griffin’s group. To make matters worse the evil half of her personality is growing stronger — and Griffin may be the only person able to help.

This book definitely has potential. This was an amazing read once you get into it, but there were some parts that were predictable. After the first few chapters, the story never slows down. Twists? Yeah. Cliffhangers? Definitely. Victorian England makes the story even more complicated with status problems, balls, and the annoying social rules.

And what’s a great book without romance? Cross had the perfect amount of action and romance in the story. The love triangle between Finley, Griffin, and Jack Dandy was somewhat predictable and a tad slow. Emily’s love triangle between Sam and Jasper was minor but still intriguing nonetheless.

Then there was Finely Jayne, multi-personality extraordinaire. Cross delivered a new take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and had me begging for more. This independent, lower-class girl struggles controlling her “other half” throughout the book. She had me laughing and crying with every epiphany.

And then there was Griffin King, who had me yelling “Go after her!” and the like. His power to control the Aether (the force between the dead and living) is unusual and useful. His way of controlling people’s emotions is perfect in helping Finley control her other personality. Plus, not only is he rich and handsome, he’s the leader of the ragtag group of superpower people. Of course he has his flaws, but what good hero doesn’t?

The rest of his group make the story full and rounded. His team consists of Sam (part robot), Emily (automaton genius), and Jasper (the American cowboy). There’s also Jack Dandy, infamous criminal and as rich as Griffin (well, maybe a little less). These characters all have a big part to play in the story, even if their part is short. Jasper may only be in half the book, but his character leads us to the next book in the series.

Overall, this story was worth the slow beginning. Once you get past that, you won’t be able to put it down. The next book, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is already out and picks up right at the end of Steel Corset. But you’ll have to read the book to find out where the story ends.

Notable Scene:

“There’s something not right about her,” Griff said finally, frowning as he studied the girl.

“She’s come to the right place then,” the redhead replied with a touch of a smile as she pushed her ropey hair out of her face. “There’s not one ‘right’ amongst us the lot of us.” And then, “She must of jumped out of your way and struck her head on the ground. If you had hit her, she’d be more seriously injured.”

Griff kept frowning. “I did hit her. That’s part of what’s not right.” The girl had practically leaped onto his cycle, hadn’t she? He shook his head, uncertain whether his memories were real or his imaginings.

Other than remaining unconscious and the gash on her head, there was nothing wrong with the girl. Nothing at all–except the bruise on her face, which he could now see bore the imprint of a signet ring.

“Someone beat her,” Emily said. “You probably saved her.”

“Or saved whoever was after her,” Sam commented from the doorway.

The Steampunk Chronicles:

0.5. The Strange Case of Finley Jayne

1. The Girl in the Steel Corset

2. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of The Girl in the Steel Corset. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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