Four Stars: This book is so much fun. Lots of steampunk, great characters and a mystery.
Dread washes over Finley Jane as the son of her employer leers toward in the darkened hall. As a servant girl in the house, she is up late prepping a dress for her mistress. On the way back to her room, She runs into the drunk Lionel. He has one thing on his mind. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't know that Finley isn't a timid maid. He strikes her cheek, drawing blood. Finley's dark side awakens and strikes. In seconds he is pummeled and knocked unconscious. Terrified, Finley flees the mansion knowing that she is in deep trouble. She dashes out into the street so consumed by her fear that she doesn't see the velocycle rushing towards her. The driver collides with the frightened maid and she blacks out. Lord Griffith stands over the girl. His instinct tells him that there is something different and important about this servant girl, lying battered and bleeding at his feet. Against his best friend Sam's wishes, he decides to trust his gut and take the girl home. When Finley Jane wakes, it is quickly apparent that she is not a normal girl. She is a young lady with two sides, one dark and one light. Rage and fear awaken the dark beast inside her and she fights the servants. Once she is calmed, Griffith finds himself drawn to this lovely girl with two halves. Can Griffith help Finley Jane control her personality, while he tries to stop the terrifying random machine attacks throughout London?
What I Liked:
*I picked up this book last summer, drawn to the gorgeous cover (yes, I know shallow of me). Why I let it languish so long in my reading pile is beyond me. Perhaps I was afraid this was just another disappointing read behind a pretty cover. Luckily, I was wrong. This book was great fun. It has mystery, steampunk, two awesome smart kickbutt girls and more. I really enjoyed this book.
*I am still new to the whole steampunk genre, but I can honestly say so far this has been my favorite. Ms. Cross includes some fantastic steampunk elements. My favorites were the steel corset and the robot cat. These are just two of the many unique and clever steampunk contraptions in this book. If you are fan of steampunk, I highly recommend you give this book a read. I only wish that this novel had pictures of all this great stuff. The steel corset sounds lovely with its intricate flowers and unique design. Who says protective gear can't be fashionable?
*Ms. Cross creates great characters. Finley Jane with her unique affliction is able to fight her way out of danger. She can beat up almost anyone. If you love strong female leads, Finley Jane won't disappoint. I really adored Emily, she is an intelligent Irish lass who is a skilled mechanic, inventor and even a medic. I loved that both the female characters were smart, strong and very capable and that they possessed qualities that are usually associated with men. The two gents, Sam and Griffith round out the group and they are fascinating, considering that they both have some interesting abilities and secrets as well.
*This book is a retelling of Jekyll and Hyde except with a twist. This time the afflicted is a young girl, Finley, and she has no knowledge of the how or why she has a dual personality. I had fun uncovering the secrets of her personality, as well as watching her battle her dark side. I admit, I loved it when her dark side took control. I completely enjoyed this new spin on an old classic.
*This book presents a plot with layers of subplots. There is the focus on Finley and her condition, the conflict that Sam is waging with himself, the attacks by the machines, the solving of the murder mystery and the unmasking of the machinist. I always appreciate books with layers of story lines and this book provides plenty of threads to follow.
*Finally, I was thrilled that Ms. Cross provides a nice resolution while providing some interesting new ideas to follow up on in the sequel. No cliffhanger!
*For the record, I love the name Finley Jane!
And The Not So Much:
*If you are looking for a good romance, this might be a disappointment. There isn't a complete development of a romantic relationship. Instead Ms. Cross teases us with potential sparks and promises. She keeps you guessing as to whether or not Finley will fall for a certain gentleman or not. On a side note, there is a tiny flame between two of the secondary characters, which I liked.
*This book sort of tries to present a love triangle but it is not established. Finley's dark side draws her to Jack Dandy, a criminal leader in the underworld. I adored Jack. There was something about this bad boy that just made me smile. He is charming and believe it or not a gentleman, but one that must be handled carefully, he is a bad boy after all. I loved the way he talked, especially his pet name for Finley which is "Treasure". I wanted more of Mr. Dandy.
*I was left with a couple of nagging questions. One was who was the murderer of Finley's assailant? Another sticking point was Jasper Renn. He is an American Cowboy, but he remains a mystery. He seems to have some unique abilities of his own that are never disclosed. However, at the end of the book it was apparent that the sequel is going to focus on Jasper. Hopefully, I will get the answers to my questions.
The Girl in the Steel Corset was a fast and thrilling read. If you love steampunk, you will appreciate all the imaginative gadgets and gizmos as well as the references to corsets, gloves, hairpins and all the fashion that steampunk enthusiasts adore. This book is more than a pretty cover and I enjoyed the fantastic multi layered story line. If you have been considering this book, waste no more time, get it! I am glad that I have book two, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar to tear into next!
"An aura of danger clung to her like an oil slick. Unfortunately, he couldn't tell if she was in danger, or if she was danger."
"Pencils were excellent for hairstyling. They also made very effective weapons if the need arose."
"Watching his expression change was like watching thunderclouds suddenly blot out the entire sky."
"She had to be family because she and Griff had the same eyes---like a spring sky about to be taken over by storm clouds."
"She'll never be able to be part of something while she's two halves of a broken whole."
"I promise you I will be careful with my affections, but beyond that I can offer nothing else. I cannot tell my heart what to feel."
"She's two personas struggling for dominance in one body."
"Although, Dandy could be very charming, and girls seemed to like the dangerous fellows---some foolish rot about reformed rakes making the best husbands."
"It was like someone lit a candle inside him, a small flickering flame that warmed him from inside out."”
“I like the premise and the plot of this steampunk novel, but the writing was uneven. ”Susan F wrote this review Wednesday, May 9, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I really wanted to like this book, and it truly exceeded my expectations! This was a GREAT read.”Gothic Gigglz wrote this review Monday, April 23, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“my review: http://quirkygirllikesvintage.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/review-girl-in-steel-corset-by-kady.html”Nat S wrote this review Monday, April 9, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Really good. Was not sure at first but it picked up in the end”Kayla O wrote this review Thursday, March 15, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I liked it. It was a little, OK a lot Gothic, but good never the less.”Caroline G. S. wrote this review Tuesday, March 13, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This story depicts Finley, a girl with an extraodinary talent that she have another personality that protects her from harm but one that also threaten her life and people around her. She then meets people who are different from normal people as they possesed extradinary talents too. Its pleasurable to join Finley and her new companions along the road of stopping a devious plot from happening. The story is intriguing to me as i am one that likes fiction genre and enjoy stories that introduce strong female protagonist. If one is into the story of The League of Extraodinary Gentlemen, then this book is totally worth the read!”Maegy L wrote this review Thursday, March 1, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross is one of my very favorite books ever. There are so many reasons why I love it so much that I am not sure if it possible to list them all, but I will do my best. :)
The world in this book is fantastic! A steampunk Victorian era with a blend of magic and science, it is positively bristling with gadgets and marvelous creations. The wonderful world-building shows in every page from the clothes to the manners and conventions and the places they visit. I love the corsets, goggles, carriages and curtsies that are all part of the scenery. I love how the cover perfectly shows the feel of the book, even though Finley is supposed to be blonde. :)
The storyline is a lovely fantasy with all sorts of twists and turns and just a touch of romance. There are so many secrets to be revealed and mysteries to be solved. It strikes the perfect balance between action and character development. The Girl in the Steel Corset is a fun adventure with hints of darkness. It is so wonderful to read book that is more focused on the story than it is on teenagers swooning over each other…not that there isn’t a bit of swooning.
I read books for the characters. The plot, writing and world are all secondary to me; if I don’t fall in love with the characters then there is no point. In this book, I fell in love with each and every one of them.
Finley Jayne, the heroine, is all polite manners and kick-ass fighting skills. The secrets of her past are unknown even to herself and she is constantly at war with her darker side. And then there is her growing attraction to the handsome Griffin King…
I love all the characters and how they interact with each other, with their own little jealousies and disagreements and jokes. Kady Cross did a marvelous job creating this quirky little family and all of their friends and enemies. They are the kind of characters that stick with you and make you laugh. Griffin King, their leader, is inherently honorable but has a dangerous edge. He reminds me of Jane Austen's heroes, only with a dark side. Sweet, practical, grease-smeared Emily of the marvelous inventions and an unrequited love for Sam...or at least she thinks it is unrequited. Sam, a part-automaton who hates what he has become and is furious with his friends for saving his life. Jasper, an American cowboy who is full of dark secrets and seems to be attracted to Emily. Even though I am Team Griffin all the way, I have a little crush on Jasper. And then there is Jack Dandy, a charming rogue who gives Griffin a little competition in his budding romance with Finley. I can hardly wait to meet them again in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar.
I hope that I have convinced you of the awesomeness of this book, but the only way for you to really see it is to read it yourself!”
“a very fun & very inventive novel. what an interesting world kady cross has created! and i adored the strong, smart girls in it. (except when romantic feelings make them disregard violations of personal autonomy & other misbehaviour. sigh.) the many scenes in which our eponymous heroine fights back against rapists or other evil doers (or just demonstrates her great strength) are very satisfying - like literary ice cream for feminists. on the down side, the characters & the plots twists are veeeery transparent, so there is almost zero dramatic tension. you know what's going to happen, and then it happens. um, tah-dah? summation: delightful, creative froth, with feminist overtones.”Kora wrote this review Wednesday, February 1, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No