Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Like many debut novels, I came into reading “The Girl in the Steel Corset” with low expectations. It’s not that this book isn’t well loved. It’s getting some great reviews from my fellow bloggers. I just tend to be a harsher critic than most. That being said, I really did enjoy “The Girl in the Steel Corset”. It suffers from some of the same problems that most debut authors seem to have (for example - “show, don’t tell”), but the writing and plot are solid enough to keep the flow going even through the more “tell-oriented” scenes. Ms. Cross shows promise in this debut novel to become a rising star in the world of young adult fiction.
The story follows Finley Jayne, who at the top of the book is about to be molested by her employer, a spoiled rich boy with sadistic tendencies. Being threatened unleashes Miss Jayne’s dark side, allowing her to beat the crud out of the jerk and make a run for it. While running, she crashes into a young duke named Griffin, who takes her in, realizing that her darkness is something special and a bit... familiar. Come to find out, Griffin and his band of misfits who all live on his estate are just like Finley. They’re different. They use their abilities to help protect the crown (this does take place in a Steampunk version of Victorian England after all!) and are currently investigating a series of crimes committed by a man they call the “Machinist”. There are two little love triangles, a cowboy with a dark secret, and a young man who happens to be part robot. Does it get any better than this?
I really liked our heroine, Finley Jayne, and would have loved to get to know both sides of her better. She really goes through a lot in this book and comes out of it a completely new person (and not just metaphorically!). Throughout the book, she becomes this incredibly complex character that doesn’t know what she wants or what she is yet in life. It’s something I think any YA reader can relate to. We all at some point in our life felt a little different. The secondary characters are also great and I look forward to getting to know them more in the rest of the series.
I’ve never read a Steampunk book before, but I have to say - I really enjoyed that aspect of “The Girl in the Steel Corset”. It was like sci-fi and historical fiction (two genres you know I love) having a baby! :D Due to the somewhat technical nature of the book, Ms. Cross can at times get a little detail oriented which slows down the pacing. I think this will improve in the sequel though now that she’s set up her version of the time period and explained a lot of the mechanics involved.
“The Girl in the Steel Corset” is full of lush imagery of a mechanized Victorian England, gorgeous costumes (I want some of these outfits!), and science fiction-y style action and adventure. This is the first installment in the “Steampunk Chronicles”. It is a tad slow at times, but now that all of this set up has taken place, I’m sure the rest of the series is going to move at a faster pace. I enjoyed escaping into this incredible world and am looking forward to book 2!
I was provided with a digital ARC via NetGalley.com from the publisher. “The Girl in the Steel Corset” is published by Harlequin and will be released May 24th.