Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1) by Kady Cross

Author's Website: http://www.kadycross.com/

“I like a little fight in my girls."
She grinned at him, causing blood to dribble down her chin.
"Then you're going to love me.”

On a dark night Finley Jayne finds herself in a bad situation. Lord Felix decides to take liberties with the pretty new maid his household has employed. That was a big mistake. He'd never met the likes of Finley...

Knowing knocking a lord unconscious was not the best of career moves, Finley flees the sight of the attack and ends up running, literally, into Griffin King, Duke of Greythorne. Finley, never really having fit in with others finally finds somewhere she does. Griffin (Griff) and his friends are no ordinary teenagers for they, like Finley, all possess extraordinary powers, and she is quickly thrown into a world she never would have expected...

In the acknowledgments section of the book, Kady Cross states she set out to write "'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' meets teen X-men". While I can see how this would be, I felt it had more of a 'Victorian teenage Batman with mad skills' sort of vibe to it. You have a rich son whose parents are killed and turns to a life a fighting crime vowing to avenge his parents. He's got a nice side kick who invents things and another who helps him in his crusade to fight the bad guys. Griffin reminded me so much of a young Bruce Wayne with a noble edge being that he is a Duke. Alfred is replaced by a teenage brainiac named Emily and Robin is replaced by Sam--no acrobats, but the guy has some serious strength to him is a bit bionic. Plus, the bad guy's name is The Machinist. Doesn't that sound like something from the dynamic duo?  lol Did I mention I've always been a big Batman fan--of the cartoon and show when I was younger and the movies now that I'm an adult? Thankfully, this book left out the tights and capes--something I've always thought a little strange with the superhero set.

As an added bonus, we get a wonderful girl in the steel corset--Finley. Her dual personality (her good and bad halves seem to be split--like she's two people)  and super strength made me think of this line from 'The Incredible Hulk', "don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." lol We also have an American cowboy named Jasper who we only get a small glimpse of. He's the most mysterious of the lot and his questionable past will finally catch up with him taking us to the US for the next book of the series, 'The Girl in the Clockwork Collar'.

While we have the main characters, there is also another player in all the events--Jack Dandy. He's a street thug with connections. He's also taking an interest in Finley, thereby, creating a love triangle. He's good looking and can be sweet when he wants to be, but warns, “Don't mistake me, Treasure. I can offer you many things, but friendship ain't one of them. Now, for once in your life, be a sensible girl and run away.” From time to time he looses his cockney accent which adds to his mystique.

Where does the book get its name? Well, Emily makes a steel corset for Finley described as, 'a steel corset--thin, shiny bands with embossed flowers and leaves, held together with tiny hinges to allow ease of movement. Little gears and other decorative pieces of steel were soldered over some of the largest gaps between bands. The garment looked like an industrial metal flower garden.' Hence, Finley becomes the girl with the steel corset which was designed to prevent bullets and most blades from penetrating to Finley's flesh if she was to get into a fight.

Cover issues:  I absolutely adore the cover, but it is ALL wrong! The dress is not one the one in the book.*sniff*  Finley did not have steel fingers. The corset was supposed to have flowers and leaves on it. Additionally, unless the pocket watch is supposed to represent clockwork mechanisms I have no idea why it was included in the picture.

Overall, I gave this one 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. It had plenty of action, wickedly cool automatons, fun characters and a nice amount of world building. One thing that might be an issue for some is that there appear to be two love triangles in this book--Sam, Emily, and Jasper and Griff, Finley, and Jack. It should be noted, however, that the next book appears to be getting rid of one as it claims, "But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves." Hmmm...  If you like steampunk and superheroes I think you'll enjoy the 'The Girl in the Steel Corset'.  If you're still not sure, the prequel novella, 'The Strange Case of Finley Jayne' is available as a free eBook for the Kindle and Nook.

The Book Trailer:

Kady Cross discusses 'The Girl in the Steel Corset':

Order of series:

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