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The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk…

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles) (edition 2011)

by Kady Cross

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81310511,203 (3.69)51
Title:The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles)
Authors:Kady Cross
Info:Harlequin (2011), Edition: Original, Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross



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Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Actual review: 1.5 out of 5. If I'm being generous.

I must admit that I was drawn in. The blurb and cover of this book intrigued me and the novella, while daft and exposition heavy, was at least enjoyable enough to sustain my interest. Unfortunately, it just couldn't retain that for the full length of a novel.

The problems with this novel is that it's all style and no substance. It sounds it should be great. Steampunk! Superheroes! Victoriana! X-men meets League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! But beneath that there is a really bog-standard YA romance focusing on a "special" female protagonist torn between the rich nice-guy and seductive rogue. While it sets itself up as a mystery, this actually forms very little of the story and is pushed aside for lots of angst and relationship drama. When the plot does occasionally rear it's head, it's a predictable, exposition-heavy mess.

The novel isn't even fantastically written. While I have read worse, the prose is very repetitive in both the text and dialogue and it ends on a sudden cliffhanger for something that is barely hinted at until the final two pages. It also doesn't really use its themes to great effect. Neither the superpowers or steampunk elements feel fully intergrated into the tale. They're just kind of...there. Powers just kind of evolve to ensure that the characters are able to immediately take out any threat (and survive even the most fatal of injury) and the steampunk gadgets are just really "Victorian" versions of things we have today (velocycles in place of motorbikes).

To make matters even work, I couldn't even like the characters. Even beyond the two (yes two!) love triangles, they're all just so shallow. The most interesting one was Jack (though I wanted to choke him by the 8,000th time he called Finley "Treasure"), though Jack ultimately had no impact on the plot beyond potential suitor. The rest were all varying degrees of bland. Griffin had virtually no defining character traits and Finley's character development - the need to control her powers - almost entirely happens off page. The author also seems to be unable to balance modern and Victorian attitudes, with female characters practicing kung fu with the men but still being unable to go to parties without a chaperone.

All in all, I was relieved to finally get to the end of this book. It really wasn't for me and I'm in no hurry to read any of Cross's other books. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Jan 5, 2017 |
I’ve always loved steampunk, but it was only in recent years that I realized that the thing I love has a name, so when I came across Kady Cross’s Girl with the Steel Corset, I knew I had to read it. Not only are there awesome machines and great costumes, but I loved the references to other stories that ran through the story.

Finley is a girl who, quite literally, has two distinct sides. Generally, Finley’s lighter side is dominant, but when she is threatened, her darker side activates (for loss of a better word). As our story begins, Finley gets into an alteration with her former employer and finds herself running into Griffin – the Duke of Greythorne – in the middle of the night.

At his home she meets Sam and Emily who work alongside Griffin and seem to have powers of their own. She is welcomed into their little family like a band of misfit heroes reminiscent of the X-Men. Add Griffin’s family history and you have a bit of Batman thrown in.

With so many great parallels The Girl with the Steel Corset does not disappoint; there is enough action and twists to keep you on your toes. As the story progresses the reader learns about the experiments that made Finley into the person she is – very reminiscent of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I found the characters to be well developed and even found myself curious about the shadier characters and what lead them to the lives they chose.

My one complaint about this story was varying points of view. Sometimes it was a little confusing when the narrative moved from character to character, thankfully it’s in the third person so we have a better idea as to who we are following, but I wonder if it was necessary to see so many character views.

Overall I loved the story! If you love steampunk, super heroes and villains that tread grey areas in their villainy, then this is a book for you. ( )
  iShanella | Dec 2, 2016 |
The actual steel corset is a letdown. Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde psyche stuff is interesting, but the girl needing saving so many times is not. It's a steampunk romance that is also Jekyll and Hyde meets X-Men meets James Bond. Fast paced plotting but a totally predictable book written in predictable prose. Teens who like Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel will be into it. ( )
  mbrandone | Jul 18, 2016 |
Not the worst book I've ever read by any means but not the best either. The plot points were telegraphed chapters before they occurred and the writing style would be suitable for an eight plus age group but I had the impression that it was marketed toward the 14 market. The characters themselves were not bad but again I had the impression that these 16 to 20 year olds were acting closer to 12 - 16 at least on emotional level. If you want great steam punk try meljean brook instead.
Final verdict: Kady Cross can write but she needs to decide on her audience and stay focused. ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
I loved this book. I'm just now getting into the steampunk genre, and I'm wondering what took me so long!

There wasn't constant action throughout the story, but when there was, it was awesome. I love when a kick ass girl is a main character. Finley is a girl that is in constant battle with her "dark" side. Her dark side always seems to get her into trouble. I do love how she doesn't back down, and doesn't act timid or like a damsel in distress. She's a take charge type of gal. Griffin, a young duke, believes he can help her learn to control her other side.

The book is written in third person. I enjoyed seeing events through the eyes of different characters. It helped the story flow easily, and it gave us a look into the characters. We didn't see them through just one person's eyes. I had my suspicions about who the villain was about half way through the book, but his reasoning was still surprising at the end.

I wouldn't say there was a love triangle per se, but there was definitely a "like" triangle. It was nice to see the relationships put this way. There's no instant love, but there's also no denying the attraction that pulls Finley to the two gentlemen.

Definitely grab this book, you won't be able to put it down! ( )
  BookishThings | Mar 23, 2016 |
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London, 1897: The moment she saw the young man walking down the darkened hall toward her, twirling his walking stick, Finley Jayne knew she'd be unemployed before the sun rose.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373210337, Hardcover)

In 1897 London, 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 fullgrown 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:17 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Finley, who has a beastly alter ego inside of her, joins Duke Griffin's army of misfits to help stop the Machinist, the criminal behind a series of automaton crimes, from carrying out a plan to kill Queen Victoria during the Jubilee.

(summary from another edition)

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