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.


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.”