Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross Review

By Kady Cross
May 24, 2011
Harlequin, 480 pages

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.

— description

I’ll be honest, I had to Google what “steampunk” was.

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain -- that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. (Wikipedia)

Ohhhhhh, okay. I’ve read something along these lines before, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

After finishing The Girl in the Steel Corset, I have to say I’d recommend you read Clockwork Angel first.

This is an interesting book, and I was never at risk of putting it down. But it just didn’t click for me. Rather than focusing on the human relationships – which really make a book for me – too much time was focused on describing things. Anything, really: the clothes people were wearing, their hairstyles and especially the machinery.

Not being totally familiar with steampunk, I’m thinking maybe this is part of the genre? The details of the steampunkery machines and the outfits in order to set the scene? Not sure. But it just didn’t work for me.

Plus: Oy, with the love triangles already.

Any recommendations on other books to try in this genre? I’m definitely up for trying another. Let me know in the comments!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin for my review copy of this book.

Anna Reads young adult book blog


  1. I haven't read any Steampunk novels and at first I had to search that too on Google! lol
    I'm a little hesitant with this one so I'll go ahead and read Clockwork Angel that I haven't yet.

  2. Basically the only aspect of this book I liked was the love triangle. It was one of those, "I have to finish it" books, sadly because I truly did want to enjoy it.

  3. "Rather than focusing on the human relationships – which really make a book for me – too much time was focused on describing things."

    Hmm. Good to know. That's our fave part of books too.

  4. Absolutely read Soulless by Gail Carriger. I feel like you will love the series; not only is it steampunk and hilarious, there is lots of fun romance. And werewolves.

    I know Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is also steampunk and I've heard it's very good, but I haven't read it yet. I just got it from the library on audio, so there might be a review in the next month or so on my blog.

  5. This is definitely steampunk. Steampunk novels include those details (machinery; Victorian era; etc.).

  6. @Lin -- Well, I know it's steampunk, but I just didn't know if it was the style of the genre to go so intensely into detail about everything? That was my biggest gripe with the book, and I wanted to be sure I wasn't just missing the memo on the genre. Thoughts, anyone?

  7. What I meant to say was that's the way the genre is--to go into details about machinery and other aspects.

  8. Hey Anna, I suggest reading The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. I'm not huge into steampunk, but I really liked that one. I think Steph from Steph Su Reads really liked it, too. It's a bit more adult than YA (but in a very sexy way *grin*), but still a good steampunk read from what I could tell.

  9. agreed with the love triangles. ENOUGH.

    agreed with the relationships = key to a read. i'll take relationships over plot any day. although both is best, obvs.

  10. I just got a copy of this! Hoping to start it tonight/tomorrow, we'll have to chat! :)


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