Monday, 30 May 2011

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross
Published: 24th May 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Description from Goodreads:

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 with one punch….
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 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 a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little 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.

My thoughts:

I've never really read a steampunk novel before (does Clockwork Angel count?) so the over-descriptive prose really put me off at first. I mean, it's not like it was *really* descriptive, but obviously small things have to be described that wouldn't be described in non-steampunk books. Like the handheld wireless telegraph machines. We'd be all "Griffin whipped out his phone" not "Griffin whipped out his BlackBerry Bold 9780, which with its..blahblahblah" so yeah, that took a bit of getting used to for me. It also annoyed me that Cross felt the need to point out that everyone's boots were thick-soled. Okay, it's steampunk therefore they're wearing clunky boots to epitomise this, I get it. That bugged me slightly. There was also an incident of third-person omniscient narration (thanks to everyone on twitter who helped when I couldn't remember what this was called!) which is my absolute pet hate in Third-Person narratives. It really pulls me out of the story. 

Anyway, the writing in general didn't really do anything for me-it was okay, but not brilliant and aside from the few hiccups above it didn't really bug me.  

The plot was interesting, I thought use of the name The Machinist was unfortunate, because I kept thinking of an emaciated Christian Bale whenever it was mentioned. I loved the take on the Jekyll/Hyde story, I thought that was an excellent choice and the way it was elaborated with the organites too was interesting. I thought it got a bit ridiculous at times with all the superpowers floating about, but I saw the logic behind it.  I thought the main storyline fell a little flat, I figured it all out before it happened, though I expected some elements of it we were supposed to, because I was sat there going "noooo what are you dooooinnnggg". But I thought all the characters were pretttyyyyy dense for not figuring out how the petty crimes being committed were all related. I literally got it from the first clue, and if *I* can get it I'm pretty sure a brainbox like Emily should have. 

Which brings us onto the characters. I loved Finley Jayne. It's the first time in a while that I've really connected to the female protag, but I really really liked her. She seemed very real and it was easy to feel sympathy towards her situation without feeling like she was being too whiny. I liked Emily too-I thought she was really sweet and it was nice to see a brainy female. Griffin and Sam both annoyed the heck out of me. Like seriously, especially Sam. He was SO annoying. His issues just made me feel like he was selfish and petty. Griffin was just too nice there was no substance to his character whatsoever. However there was one character that really, really did it for me and that was Jack Dandy. Jack is the perfect love interest for me, he's a bit of a dick, plenty of arrogance but cares for the female protag and would do pretty much anything to help her. Or 'elp er, in Jack speech. I desperately wanted to see more of him, and learn more of his backstory and he is definitely my favourite male character for a longgggg time. He reminds me a bit of Damon from the Vampire Diaries books. I loved the way Kady Cross wrote his dialogue, I could hear him speaking in my head which really helped bring him to life for me. I kinda feel like most male characters have been...emasculated a bit recently. They're all too...nice for me. I like the mean ones. I imagine that says a lot about me personally, but I love a bit of arrogance and flippancy in my love interests. Jack Dandy is actually perfect. Kady Cross, feel free to send me that t-shirt and membership form for the 'I heart Jack Dandy' club whenever you want ;)

I'm gonna give this 4/5, a few elements let it down for me but overall it was an excellent read. If you're looking to get into the steampunk genre or if you just wanna fantasise about Jack Dandy it's definitely worth a read. 


  1. Reading this right now and enjoying it very much! Yes, Sam's a little bit iffy for me at the moment but I'm liking the other characters :) Thanks for the review! Hopefully I end up loving this ;)

  2. I've heard a lot about steampunk fiction, but not sure if it will be something that I'll like. I'm not big on fantasy, but I feel I should try at least one book.

    Girl Who Reads

  3. I love your reviews. Will have to read this now, for Dandy. Although the descrptive thing sounds like it could put me off. That's a thing that really puts me off.

  4. Great review! I like how you mentioned specific details of the book and why it did or didn't work for you! I enjoyed this one as well. I'm easing into steampunk and this is a good starter novel for the genre. Cannot wait til the next one! And Jack was pretty awesome!

    Old Follower
    Jessica@a GREAT read

  5. I plan to read this pretty soon, I started reading it the other night and really enjoyed it so hopefully I'll be able to read it after Forbidden.

  6. I've been debating whether or not this should go on my tbr, because i like steampunk, but I have so many books there already. I have been hearing pretty good reviews about it, but I'm still not sure...

    (p.s. If you are liking steampunk and want to read more the Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld is really good!)

  7. Ha! Jack Dandy is definitely worth reading this book for! I really did enjoy reading this as well. Glad you enjoyed it despite the little hiccups. :) Love your review!

  8. I've heard so many awesome things about this one! I have The Steange Case if Finley Jane on my Nook... I need to read that, then read this! Lol!

  9. great review! I loved this book and mainly for Finley Jane.The free e-prequel is great too if you havent read it. Thanks for stopping by my blog. your 30 books in 30 days challenge sounds great. Ill be stopping by to see how you do :)

  10. Love this review! I'm hearing mixed things about this book, but you really nailed all the things I was worried about, and convinced me to go ahead and try it. Thanks!

  11. I heart Jack Dandy too!! And I agree with you regarding The Machinist...Christian Bale in his none too glorious state is what crossed my mind each time I read that name!

  12. Can't wait to read this one! And Clockwork Angel does count. Cassie Clare herself called it steampunk.

  13. aha, now I can leave a comment.
    Great review. I found your perspective interesting. I can definitely say that Jack Dandy is the most interesting thing in the series. Griffin was much too nice, and not interesting enough, although likeable, unlike Sam.
    I did however feel that Jack Dandy's character could have been utilized more and he could have been SHOWN to be more dangerous. I kept reading about how dangerous he was but I was never shown it, in fact I felt like Finley walked all over him.

  14. My first experience with steampunk was reading Gail Carringer's series and I absolutely loved the language and chuckled at the detailed descriptions of not only shoes, but hats, skirts, waistcoats etc. however, I can see where it might be hard to get use to too. I am happy to know that the plot and characters of The Girl in the Steel Corset had an interesting plot and strong female protagonist. Thanks for the review.


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