Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Early Review - The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, Book 1) by Kady Cross (4/5 stars)

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles)Reading level: Young Adult

480 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: May 24, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0373210336
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Steampunk Chronicles
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
5 stars

 I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley(dot)com.  I loved the cover, the premise, and the fact that it was steampunk.  I was a little leery after reading some reviews on it, but I shouldn't have been.  This was a fun steampunk read propelled by a sweet love story and an intriguing mystery.

Finley is working as a lady's maid when one of the young lords of the house accosts her.  Finley is forced to call on her darker side to defend herself and ends up fleeing the house only to be smacked by a cycle.  The young lord Griffin, who hit her, feels horrible and takes her back to his house to help her recuperate.  Griffin can sense Finley is different.  Finley is grateful for Griffin's help but is finding it increasingly hard to suppress her dark side.  Then she ends up leaving at night to talk to the cities top criminal Jack Dandy...and when she gets back she can't remember what happened.  Griffin has his own problems to deal with, he is trying to stop a murderer known only as the Machinist.  Of course Finley gets drawn into the mystery.  Will Finley be able to suppress or at least come to terms with her darker side?  Will they catch the Machinist?  Who will Finley choose Jack Dandy or Griffin?

This book was a lot of fun.  It reads kind of like an adult romance, but with a lot of steampunk and with a PG-13 rating.  The writing style just constantly made me forget I was reading a YA novel and I keep thinking it was an adult steampunk romance of sorts.  Finley is a fascinating character, she very much like Jekyl and Hyde in that she has two personalities that emerge.  Some people have complained of her "good" persona being too vanilla, well it is...but that is kind of the point.  Her bad personality has all the fun!  I thought Cross did an excellent job going back and forth between her personalities and I loved how they began to merge as the book went on.

Jack Dandy and Griffin are both swoon worthy.  Yeah they are a bit stereotypical, Griffin the noble do-gooder and Dandy the dangerous rogue, but they are still absolutely lovable and I truly enjoyed reading about them.  Griffin's friends Emily and Sam are just as engaging.  All of the characters have neat "super powers" and histories that make them easy to engage with and interesting to read about.  At the end the author says she was trying to write "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" meets "X-Men" and I would say that she definitely succeeded at that.

The plot moved along at a good clip.  It got a little distracted on the way a few times, but the distractions were interesting and fun so I didn't mind too much.  There is a lot of steampunk worked into the novel; neat little machines, automatons, aether, etc. that I really enjoyed.  Nothing really creative and unique to the steampunk genre but it was fun to read about. 

The name of the book doesn't really have much to do with the book itself.  It is a catchy name and references a couple small scenes in the book; the book is more about Finley's fight to meld her two selves and about trying to catch the murdering Machinist.  The book ends well but is definitely the opener to a series.

Overall I enjoyed this book.  It was fun and light, a good escapist read.  Yes it is not historically accurate, yes the male leads are a bit stereotypical...but the characters are lovable, the plot moves quickly, the romance is sweet, and action scenes loads of fun.  I will definitely be reading more books in this series.  It is a romance heavy steampunk, so if you are anti-romance you might want to check out something else.  The tone of the writing is older, so it is probably most appropriate for older teens and up (although I don't remember any questionable content that would make it bad for younger teens).  The characters are in their upper-teens and twenties.  If you are a fan of steampunk and don't mind some romance check this out; I had a seriously good time reading this book.  I am also going to check out the novella that was just released The Strange Case of Finely Jayne.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- The Debut Author Challenge
- Get Steampunked!
- E-book Reading Challenge

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles) 


  1. Thanks for posting this review! It kind of helped convince me to get the book. I've wanted to read it for a while, but I haven't read any really positive reviews about it. I appreciate your insight, though, and I will be sure to read it ASAP. :)

  2. Hi Laura,

    Glad it helped you decide :-) It was a bit fluffy but lots of fun. I think sometimes it is just fine for a book to be plan old good fun; not every book has to be absolutely spectacular.

    I hope that you think this is a fun read and have a good time reading it!

    - Karissa