venerdì 11 gennaio 2013

Review: The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl In The Steel Corset 
Steampunk Chronicles #1
Author: Kady Cross
Published: 24th May 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Hardback
Source: Bought
Purchase: TBD, Amazon, B&N

From Goodreads

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

My Review

The Girl In The Steel Corset was the first steampunk book I've ever read, at least that's what I think. I immediately loved the framework in which the story took place: let's say that I love the Victorian epoque so definitely this book earned a point from the beginning, then the whole story about automatons, men and women with strange powers and dangerous secrets that could negatively influence humanity, immediately caught me. From the beginning the author introduced this mysterious protagonist, Finley, a girl who is often submitted by her dark side, that she can't control. Immediately I was amazed and surprised by this problem and it was probably the main reason that kept me reading so fast; moreover when Kady introduced The Machinist, a man who was suspected to be the cause of many incidents that were frightening the town, the story became even more interesting, because it was obvious that he had to do something with Finley's problem. 
Being sincere I am a little disappointed by how things worked out because, as I said, almost everything was introduced from the beginning, but actually, in the end, a little space has been given to these thematics. The mystery of Finley's "desease" was liquidated in just a few pages and also, the long-awaited clash between Finley's group and The Machinist was a little unsatisfying. Another thing that I really missed is the element of surprise! Infact, in my opinion, it was pretty obvious who The Machinist could have been and also the reason why he did what he did.
Nevertheless, there were also some great details about this book that I appreciated much. I really think that this book made me discover a new kind of genre that I really could like in the future;in effect the things I liked the most about this book are those that can be practically defined the main characteristics of the genre: the historical period and the automatons. Something that I really appreciated (I know this could sound ridicoulous) is the importance that Kady Cross gives to the description of the dresses, for example, as when she describes Finley's dress for the party.  Personally, I am a little obsessed with fashion and I really love the dresses that ladies used to wear in the past, so the thing that I could perfectly imagine what women (but also men) were wearing in that period, was something absolutely fascinating. I also like how well-developed the characters were and also the variety of their personalities.  
To conclude, Kadie Cross wisely decided also to tell the story by different point of views, and this contributes to make the story more complete and real because you could actually imagine how everyone was feeling during the course of the whole story.

Finley was actually a great heroine with a strong personality and above all.. a DOUBLE personality! I think it was great when she finally succeed in reconcealing her two sides because she remained quite sweet and kind but with that little veil of provocation and strenght. If there is something I didn't like about her is her indecision in choosing between Jack and Griffin, ( I hate love triangles by the way!) because it seemed like she was playing with both of them. Personally, even if I admired her strenght and her breezy language, she was not one of my favourite character, in the end.

Secondary characters
Griffin was the Duke of Greythorne, and as all of those in his group, he had a particular ability, to govern the Ether, the power which lives in every thing. He was a good character, sweet, generous and caring. He lost his parents in an accident and the most similar thing he had to a family were his friends Sam and Emily, for whom he would have sacrificed his life, if needed. As for Finley, I didn't find him that appealing, he was quite a common character, actually. On the other hand my favourite character was absolutely Jack Dandy, mysterious and very intriguing. I found him very special and I love his way of speaking!He was so funny yet so formal and he was so tender because it was evident he felt something for Finley, even if romanticism was not in his strings; moreover I really admired how patient and helpful he had been with Finley, despite she was clearly more attracted by Griffin. Another character I really liked was Emily, a young sweet girl with a great passion for automatons. She was in Griffin's family and she was the mind behind all tecnological creations: she could disassemble and reassemble anything, despite she was very young. She has never had a normal life and the arrival of Finley is a pleasent surpise for her, that will finally have a female friend to talk to. One aspect of her personality that I enjoyed was how capable she was of imposing her will on the other inhabitants of the house, especially on Sam, and how bravely she was able to get into the game when necessary. This surprised me much especially because she was probably the only one who had no arms for defense since her secret skill was the ability to talk to automaton, which is actually useless in battle. In Griffin's group there was also Sam, a man who had an incredible strenght since he was partly human partly automaton ( he had risked his life in a battle and Emily saved him by replacing some parts of his body, including his heart).

A good steampunk book, filled with velocycles, automatons and telegraphs mixed with love triangles and ancient secrets. What are you waiting for? You definitely should give it a read.

Rated 3.70

Favourite quotes
“Don't mistake me, Treasure. I can offer you many things, but friendship ain't one of them. Now, for once in your life, be a sensible girl and run away.” 

“Griffin had to get to the bottom of these automaton attacks. He couldn’t ignore them just because Finley Jayne posed such an intriguing problem in such a pretty package.
And she was pretty—even when off her rocker. In that respect, she was every bit as dangerous as Aunt Cordelia seemed to think.
It was a good thing, then, that he enjoyed a little danger now and again.” 

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