Book Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles 1)

The girl in the steel corset kindle-compressed

4 open books the girl in the steel corset

Author: Kady Cross
Genre: Steampunk
Published: January 1, 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Support the Author: Buy on Amazon.


In 1987 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 knee 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.


Have you ever experienced that moment wherein you walk in to a party, spotted a cute guy and decided right then and there that you want to get to know him before the night ends only to realize that you’ve completely forgotten about him as soon as you started dancing?

Well, that’s kind of how I would sum up this book. When I saw its cover I figured it looks interesting. Then when I read its prequel, The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, I knew I had to read the sequel. But then just like the forgettable cute guy, the book didn’t leave an unforgettable impression on me.

Which was really a disappointment.

If you’ve read my review of the Strange Case of Finley Jayne, who would’ve thought that its sequel would take a nose dive from being a riveting tale about an ordinary girl with extraordinary abilities to a yawn-producing story of a band of misfits trying to save England from a Victorian-era “Doctor Octopus”  madman.

Yes, it was that dull.

Before you shun the book, however, you should know that it has its own interesting mix of drama and romance to merit a four-open-book rating.

Despite finding it dull for my taste, the book still deserve some credit. And perhaps a few hours of your time to finish its entirety.

For instance, the love triangle of Finley, Griff and Jack. That’s something you might want to read. Then there’s Sam and Jasper vying for Emily’s attention. There’s also the drama of Sam’s insecurities and getting manipulated by Leon, which is another metal man just like him. So yeah, it’s not all that boring.

There are just some points that failed in my expectations. And here are the why’s:

1. While Griff’s character is the kind that any girl would swoon for. He’s dirt rich, handsome and has an old aristocratic title to his name. But no amount of that can cover that fact that I find him boring. Yeah, he’s the leader of the pack but he doesn’t seem to be like the take-charge kind of guy.

When he was first mentioned in the prequel, I had a hunch that he’d be in the next book and that got me intrigued and excited. That didn’t last very long, though. If I had my way, I prefer Jack for Finley because he’s the kind of guy who’d go after what he wants no matter the cost. So, sorry Griff.

2. While I can understand Sam’s sentiments for being a freak, I think he’s a little stubborn for refusing to see the good in what Emily and Griff did for him. Then I can’t believe how gullible he was for not seeing the obvious. Tsk. I mean I would hear alarm bells ring if a stranger would take sudden interest in his life. Sure, Sam and Leon has something common to share, being part human and metal, but it’s easy to deduce that’s somethings not right after sharing some confidential info about his (Sam’s) friends and then got them in trouble the day after. It’s pretty obvious. Well, I reckon that Sam’s character is supposed to be strong but low in deductive thinking. Much like a Johnny Bravo thing, you know.

3. Romance is supposed is supposed to give a breather to all the dram, but I find Finley and Griff’s love story too bland for my taste. It lacked spark in my opinion. Like I said, I think I’d like her with Jack.

4. Although Emily is not the main character in the story, I believe she deserves a spot or two in the limelight. Being the brainiac in the group, I think it would be nice to get her story. Of course, there are still books in the series that I have yet to read, so hopefully I’ll get to read her story in the future.

5. The story’s pacing was too dragging for my taste. What’s worse was that there were less action and more talk, which is boring for a supposedly action-packed novel. It was just too slow.

Overall, The Girl in the Steel Corset is packed with all the right qualities a young adult fiction should have — an interesting plot, a love triangle, a band of intriguing people, an almost perfect writing style, and a sprinkle of little humor here and there. However, it had failed to capture my interest and full attention (it took me a week and a half to finish a short novel) so I’m giving it four open books and that’s because I like steampunk and I’d like to give it a chance.

I would recommend it but I wouldn’t really push it. If you’re looking for something to pass the time or waiting for something better to come along, like a dancing, then it’s an okay read.

Favorite Quotes:

His real strength wasn’t in intimidation. It was in subtlety and confidence.

No person was entirely good or entirely evil — one side could not exist without the other.


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