Book Review: The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (The Steampunk Chronicle Prequel)

Kindle with strange case Finley Jayne in the screen

5 open books

Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles 0.5
Language: English
Published: May 1, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Finley Jayne knows she’s not ‘normal’. Normal girls don’t lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkedly violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she’s offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined.

I’m a sucker for the classics and periodic novels. My Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Bronte Sisters book collections can attest to that.

So when I learned about the steampunk genre, my interest was piqued. It reminded me of Sherlock Holmes with its Victorian-era gadgetry, so when I saw the Steampunk Chronicles, I thought I’d try it. Not only does it fit my book taste for periodic fiction, it also has a mixture of science geekiness that I enjoy.

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne is the prequel to the The Girl With The Steel Corset and the rest of the book series. It wasn’t in my plan to read the former but I thought better of it, and I’m glad I did.

Although the prequel didn’t tell much about the heroine’s true nature, it tells the interesting tale about the heroine, Finley Jayne, and her fears and struggles of living in the Victorian society where women of her circumstance had to rely heavily on recommendations in order to find a job and pretty much keep it.

As I read through the chapters, I was hoping to find some information on what triggered Finley’s special abilities but found none. However, instead of feeling disappointed that there was no such thing as being bitten by radioactive spiders or being exposed by cosmic rays to acquire her “abnormalities”, I was intrigued nonetheless. There was a part in the book, though, that stated at what point in time did she realize that there was something different in her.

As I got to the main plot, the mood switched from feeling “poor Finley” to “Oh, wow, she’s so cool” as her abilities were slowly revealed. The action scenes were thrilling but not that intense. But then again, it’s a just a novella so I guess that explains the subtlety and the fast pacing of the entire story.

My guess is Kady wrote this book to give an introduction to her character, Finley Jane. And perhaps to give readers a taste of her writing style and this type of genre.

As for me, I find the story tasteful that’s why I’m giving this five open books. It’s my first time to encounter steampunk and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I’m on the first book now, The Girl in the Steel Corset, which I’ll be giving my review once done.

If you’re into periodic novels fused with science and the arts, then The Strange Case of Finley Jayne is worth the read.

Favorite Quotes:

“Is there something you want to talk about?” Words teetered on the tip of her tongue, just waiting to spill out and confess everything, but Finley bit them back. “No. I’m just disappointed in myself.”

“Learn from it and then let it go. Dwelling never helped anyone.”

“I suppose being from the country will provide an excuse for any ignorance I might have for proper social behavior.”

Phoebe waved her hand. “You have more manners than most lords and ladies I’ve met. Trust me.”



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