The Girl in the Steel Corset

The Girl in the Steel Corset

Book rating: 04 Hardback Steampunk Chronicles

By (author) Kady Cross

List price $18.00

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Paperback $10.06
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Format: Hardback | 473 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 185mm x 41mm | 481g
  • Publication date: 24 May 2011
  • ISBN 10: 0373210337
  • ISBN 13: 9780373210336
  • Edition statement: Original.
  • Sales rank: 90,251

Product description

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.

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Customer reviews

By Alex 20 Jun 2012 3

The concept here is essentially steampunk teen X-Men, with a side of Final Fantasy-esque costumes and girly wish fulfilment (Masquerade Ball! Hot Dudes! Fighting Heroine! Love Triangles!). My thirteen-year-old self would have exploded in excitement over something like this, but now that I'm old and jaded, I can't muster up the same enthusiasm. Sorry about that.

The story starts when Finley, a girl with a violent alter ego, runs away and joins a bunch of young people with superpowers - one of whom, of course, is very handsome and very rich. Together, they investigate the crimes of the Machinist, a villain who uses robots to commit nefarious deeds.

Though it's set in an alternate Victorian period, the novel doesn't read like a historical at all. The writing is more neutral or contemporary, which makes it easy to read, and it is the narration that clues us in to the social etiquette of the times. This decision is particularly understandable when you consider how the clothing and technology described take the story away from historical fact and into the realm of fantasy. Personally, I would have liked a bit more of a historical feel to the prose, but as written the language is very accessible to younger teens.

The novel was a lot more plot-driven and action-packed than I expected it to be, which was a surprise. To be honest, I expected more introspection and whatnot, but there were plenty of fight scenes and lots of stuff actually happened. Less Twilight, more Vampire Diaries - but with an added bonus of an action girl for a heroine.

The book itself is like fairy floss or popcorn: fun, addictive and fluffy. It's a girly action movie in book form, enjoyable but without too much depth. Like many action movies, the plot is rather predictable and it isn't particularly original either; I would say it's more of a mish-mash of various beloved tropes and concepts than an entirely new creation. Only very few things did not make logical sense to pedantic ol' me but it's fine if you don't think about it and just let yourself get carried along for the ride.

Also, though the plot is resolved by the book's end, the last pages comprise a cliffhanger for the sequel, which I know can be annoying for some people.

The book is great if you're after something girly and easy to read that's neither dull nor silly. Best enjoyed if you don't expect too much and just sit back and enjoy the fantasy.

By Linda 14 Jun 2012 5

Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/review-the-girl-in-the-steel-corset-by-kady-cross/

I admit, when I first read that synopsis, I was scared. I was scared of just another fake novel that had the same plot and same characters and same everything (which just so happens to be like an outline for paranormal romances today). But then, what I got in return exceeded my expectations by far.

The Girl in the Steel Corset is a completely original novel with completely original characters and completely original plot and completely original romance. It's so completely original that I adored the complete thing so completely.

First of all, our protagonist, Finley? Yeah, even though she's battling this dark side of her, she's amazingly nice and sweet at times (unlike her dark side, who throws a full-grown man across the room). And I love her sense of humor (on both sides, good and bad). She's kick-butt when she's in full dark-mode. (That's how she threw the full-grown man across the room.) All these aspects make me love her (both sides).

And the romance? Oh, I'm definitely on Team Griffin. No offense to Jack Dandy, but even though Jack is such a sweet (and dangerous!) guy, Griffin is even more so (on both counts, I'd say). Griffin is unbelievably sweet to Finley (first saving her and then taking her into his household) and dangerous in that he's pretty determined in finding his parents' murderer. Not to mention trying to stop this guy from creating robots that are murdering people across the country.

I loved this plot. It kept me on edge constantly, wondering what was going to happen next. And that cliffhanger ending is definitely going to make me yearn for its sequel.

Fast-paced and constantly on edge, The Girl in the Steel Corset is a must for any reader tired of vampires and werewolves. I mean, why not try bloodthirsty robots?

By Nina Crisp 12 Apr 2012 5

Review: In the first few pages, we see Finley Jayne's darker side. When young lord Felix Augustus Raynes thinks he can have this servant like he has the others, he finds he's wrong. And knocked out. Knowing that she'll be dismissed for teaching him a lesson, Finley makes a run for it. She's picked up by Duke Griffin King and his little band of misfits. Finley's wary of him at first, but soon gets to know him and Sam(part robot), Emily (can communicate with machines) and Jasper ("cowboy" from America), become friends with (some of) them, and is drawn into their investigations. They're looking for The Machinist, who they think is behind many automaton-related crimes, and may be (read, is) planning something even bigger. As they go, and learn about her family history, Finley is drawn into a lot of suspicion, and a lot of danger.
Ever since I saw the title and cover of this, I knew I wanted to read this. So I was very excited to get a copy of this, especially when I didn't think they were doing it in the UK. And it didn't disappoint.
The plot was done well. It starts off really quickly, and the rest of the book is similarly fast paced. There's a lot twists and turns, some of which are predictable, that all resolve themselves by the end. There's a lot of subplots that were woven in well and added interest.
The romance was done well, and I found it really nice that we didn't just follow the main characters' romance. Yes, I think that Finley and Griffin make a good couple, but I much preferred the longing between Emily and Sam. They deserved their love a bit more, and it was really easy to imagine their friends-only relationship before they got together.
The characters were all very fleshed out with distinct personalities. They interacted realistically, and I'm glad not everybody was in love with Finley to start with. It made it a bit more believable. I found Finley's family history to be very long winded and a little confusing, but I loved the idea that her dad was the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde. I don't think we saw enough of Jasper, but from the ending, there definitely should be a lot more of him in book two.
The Steampunkery in this is prevalent throughout. 1897 setting fulfils that aspect, and the gadgetery that turned up...amazing. Emily's workshop, the automaton, and so on. And the cat. All my love to the cat. On a completely different note, I'm glad the steel corset is important to the story.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a real steampunky book. Definitely want more of this series.

By Jill Barrakling 27 Aug 2011 5

I absolutely loved it. You have to know that this was the first Steampunk novel I've ever read, so while some of the "historical falsities" were confusing at first, I got used to them later and ... what can I say: I love Steampunk! But more on that on another occasion.

Finley was very likeable right from the start, as well as almost all the other characters! Even who turned out to be a villain was likeable - in the beginning at least. I usually have trouble actually liking the main character - I tend to "fall" for secondy characters for some odd reason - but in this case I did. The relationship between what is described as the good part of Finley and the bad part of Finley is perfectly executed and very believable. You could very well describe her as schizophrenic I believe, at least if you go by the general opinion about schizophrenia.

Personally, I think the conclusion was maybe a little bit rushed as everything happened in the last 10 percent of the novel, but seeing as it is the first part of a series that is not really unusual.
Oh and can I just say how much I love Jack Dandy? I always - and I mean ALWAYS - end up liking the "bad boy" better than the "good boy". Can be frustrating sometimes, but I just love Dandy! Could be because I really like Cockney, but ... I don't know. The attraction is inexplicable! Enough gushing about His Highness, the Lord of the Underground.

The Girl in the Steel Corset is definitely a page-turner. Even though I'm currently a bit short on reading-time (remember, my Mom's getting a cancer treatment) I read about 50 % of the novel in one sitting - which is in itself no extraordinary feat, but I have so little time to read like I usually do, that it's quite outstanding. These past days I've been able to read maybe a chapter or so in one sitting mostly because my mother can't do anything around the house right now and it certainly doesn't clean itself.
This review is a bit shorter than I would have liked and I've also decided for myself to move away from the really professional sort of reviewing, mostly because it isn't for me. I like gushing way too much. I hope nobody minds (not that I have gotten a comment on any review yet).

By Julie Smith 03 Aug 2011 5

First Sentence (from a galley - may be different in final copy): The moment she saw the young man walking down the darkened hall toward her, twirling his walking stick, Finley Jayne knew she'd be unemployed before the sun rose.

From the reviews on Goodreads, this is apparently a love/hate book. I liked it quite a lot. Finley Jayne just wants to be able to perform her household duties and not be bothered, but in Victorian London, a pretty girl who is a member of the household staff is fair game for the young (and not-so-young) lords of the manor. Bad for them, because Finley has a very dark side.

When Finley finds herself running from the scene of an attempted assault on her person, she runs right into the path of Griffin King, the Duke of Greythorne, and his friend Sam Morgan. When Griffin takes the injured girl home, Finley finds herself in a world far above her station, but where she tentatively feels acceptance.

With automatons, mysterious organisms called "organites" that mimic the body's cellular behavior, smart characters, an unknown villain who uses automatons to attack, and a guest appearance by Queen Victoria herself, this is a fun ride into a Steampunk adventure/mystery, as well as a story of friendship, self-discovery, all touched with a bit of romance and a wonderful mix of personalities.

QUOTE (from a galley - may be different in final copy):

Lights danced in the darkness of her eyes as pain shot through her skull. But she did not pass out.
It would have been so much better for Lord Felix if she had.

Book Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars