Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Release Date: 24th May, 2011

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 473pgs

The Story

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 a full-grown man with one punch.

Only Griffin King sees the magicial darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits. Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy 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 apart of something, finally fit in.

But the Machinist wants to tear Griffin's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows who side she's on, even if it seems no one believes her.

The Review

First things first, I LOVE steampunk and it's become one of my favourite genres in young adult books! We need more of them! While other readers remain unaware of what 'steampunk' actually is, I can definitely say once you read this book . . . you'll understand.

"I like a little fight in my girls."

She grinned at him, causing blood to drip down her chin.

"Then you're going to love me."

Judging by this quote, you can already see Finley Jayne isn't your ordinary, lady-like victorian girl. Nor does she have manners. But she does have an unexplainable power: whenever she feels angry or sad, an odd surge of power courses through her that is almost like another side to her. A darker side. After being harassed by a young Lord who tried to force himself on her, Finley fought against him and ends up knocking him unconscious . . . pretty badly. And yes . . . she's clearly in trouble now. Forced to flee her masters home, Finley finds herself running into and meeting a young, handsome (of course he has to be handsome) Duke, Griffin King, whom takes it upon himself to invite her into his home and offers safety and protection despite the fact that Finley's power - or rather this rage - is both dark and dangerous.

THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET drew me straight away - from its cover to its first chapter! I just loved every moment of it! The thing that really had it going for it was the main herione, Finley Jayne. In the book, she's what you call your own Jekyll and Hyde. She has a good and bad side to her. She can be sensitive and she can be badass. I loved these two sides of her, although it would be best to keep on her good side as you wouldn't want to mess with her (it would involve breaking necks trust me). The main thing you'll read in THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET is about Finley's struggles to control her darker side, which is hard considering she's always being threatened, feared, and attacked. But she's gaining better control when she's with the likes of Griffin and his band of followers.

Griffin and his friends were a pretty awesome bunch of characters, all armed with their own abilities, talents, and personalities. Griffin, Duke of Greythorne, has the fascinating ability to tap into the Aether which was again awesome considering I have a high interest in spirits, realms, and aura-like things. And then you Emily, Sam, Jasper . . . but I won't tell you their abilities since it will ruin your own experience. But I will talk about Jack Dandy! Unlike the sophisticated Griffin, the rich boy, Jack is one of England's best unground criminals, and one that you're bound to love like most bad boys of the fictional world. To me, Jack was the only entertaining character throughout the entire novel and it came no surprise that I would fall for him and his Cockney accent cause it's sooooooo London. However, it was a pity that we didn't see more of him. I was like, "Griffin get off your high horse and bring Jack over here!" Anyway, all of the characters mentioned in this book are characters that are loveable, funny, and perfect in every way . . . despite their "issues". What's a character without issues, right?

Despite everything I love, I had a couple of my own issues with the book. With all the action and addictive page-turners, I just didn't like the romance between Finley and Griffin, or even the light-romance-and-possibly-love-triangle with Finley, Griffin, and Jack. Whenever I hear about Victorian-esque novels with a bit of steampunk, I expect adventure and so deep-and-perhaps a little cliche romance that you go, "Awwwwwww." Sadly there was hardly any romance. *bows down head* I get the whole Mr. Darcy act when it comes to Griffin and how he can't exactly makeout with Finley since he's a rich gentleman and all, but really???? At least Jack - a possible love interest - had the sense to pay Finley some attention, even if he's the kind you shouldn't trust but I loved him anyway. Another small issue is when the book smally mentioned rune tattoos and whenever I think about rune tattoos I imagine Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. So as it's a very popular and a best-selling series, it's probably best to leave the runes out because - like me - a lot of readers (well, maybe some) will end up comparing the two. While this isn't a hater comment, it's just a little peeve of mine.

Over all, THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET was pretty freakin' awesome. The action, the faint romance, the technology, the weird-but-wonderful inventions, the world, the power . . . it's everything a steampunk book should have! Even with a predictable ending and a predictable villian, I was glad to have picked up a copy of this book! If you love the likes of Caitlin Kittredge's The Iron Thorn and/or Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel book, then as Finley quoted in the book, "Then you're going to love me."

The Rating
4/5 stars


  1. I started this a while ago but just haven't picked it back up. It's not that there's anything wrong with the book... it's just that it tends to happen when I have to read on the computer. Great review though! I've only seen a bit of Jack so far but I find him way more interesting than Griffin already. I also like Emily! (If that's not her name, I apologize, LOL.) Thanks!

  2. Hopefully you'll read more of it because it was a pretty great book. And yes, Jack has more appeal than Griffin does. Yep, Emily is her name! :) Thanks for commenting!

  3. I confess I'm one of those people who still doesn't fully understand what steampunk is. But I love a book with a strong heroine and Finley sounds like just the thing. Great Review.

  4. Thank you!

    To me, steampunk is basically a world where science fiction or other fantasy elements DO actually EXIST. For example a steampunk book will ALWAYS be set in a victorian/edwardian world but instead of the traditional sense of that era period . . . the author adds - I don't know - a scientist of some sorts who builds automatons for a living or something like that. Steampunk is all about discovery and industry, science and even nature. A great example of steampunk is this book above, The Girl in the Steel Corset, The Iron Thorn, Clockwork Angel, and even the classic - a personal favourite of mine - Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.

  5. I really enjoyed your review. And I loved the book as well, all the characters were just great and the world she created was just fantastic.
    I did like Jack as well but I still prefered Griffin. I don't really know why, maybe because Jack was a little manipulative and Griff was a little more interesting (for me at least^^). Anyway, I wouldn't worry, I think in the end Finley will pick Jack.

    Greetings from Germany!

  6. Great review! LOL the Cockney accent so annoyed me! I can't help it, it just detracted from my love of Jack sometimes. But despite that, I really did enjoy his character. While I didn't love this book, I really enjoyed the steampunk elements behind it and I'll definitely be checking out sequel... plus other steampunk novels!

  7. Thanks Nina. Jack is a little manipulative but so very awesome. I loved Griffin but Jack has more appeal for me. Anyway, you're from Germany? Awesome! :)

  8. Thanks Brodie! I loved his Cockney accent! haha. *shakes head* How can you not? haha.

  9. Yep, I'm from Germany but I actually stumbled upon your page a couple of times already :)

    Hm, I didn't like the Cockney that much either...I mean it was funny and all but it just reminded me so much of lolcat speech ;)

  10. Yay for Germany followers! :) I love the cockney accent so I don't mind being the only person who loved it! hehe


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