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The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
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The Girl in the Steel Corset (edition 2012)

by Kady Cross (Author)

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99311715,488 (3.66)57
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.
Member:JeanetteReames
Title:The Girl in the Steel Corset
Authors:Kady Cross (Author)
Info:Harlequin Teen (2012), Edition: Original, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

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Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
Not a lot to say besides I really liked this book. I thought it mixed together the elements of steampunk and the Victorian Age very well. I loved the characters, and I loved how Cross added in Gothic elements as well by using inspiration from some stories we all know and love (Frankenstein--well I hated that; Jekyll and Hyde--ditto) and threw some twists in.

"The Girl in the Steel Corset" included a nice little backstory to the character of Finley Jayne. From there it goes into the longer story that has Finley meeting other characters I assume we are to follow for the rest of this series.

Finley's backstory gave us enough of a glimpse to know there is something about her. You don't know what. But at times she feels like she is two people trapped in one body. The short story that began before it included the longer story was so good. I loved it and wish we had followed up with characters introduced in that. When we catch up with Finley again, she ends up fighting off a young lord of the manor who thinks he can take her and do what he wills. When she flees after injuring him, she runs into Griffin King and his friends who are doing what they can to defend the country (England) against outside enemies.

Besides Finley and Griffin, we also have Emily, Sam, Jasper, and a young man called Jack Dandy. We quickly find out that Griffin and his friends (Emily, Sam, and Jasper) are out to capture a man/woman called The Machinist who is behind several crimes that took place involving automatons. However, suspicions turns towards Finley for maybe being involved with the Machinist when things start happening that shows that the criminal is out to get them.

Even though this is a Young Adult book (and yeah I had no idea when I borrowed it from the library) this book reads much older. I didn't even realize the characters are teenagers until I saw someone's age mentioned. That's not a knock against Cross either, it was delightful to read young adults who actually for the most part had sense and thank goodness two love triangles reared their heads, but one was absolutely resolved and I think the other one is too for what it's worth.

The only complaint I will say that I really did have is that this book was a bit too long. I know that Cross had to set up the other characters and do world building though so it's to be expected in the first book in a series. I just honestly didn't need the story to be swinging back to much to Sam. He got tiresome after a while. I do wish we had spent more time with Griffin's aunt on her adventures though.

The setting of a Victorian age with steampunk (think automatons walking around, things people cannot see that are little machines that can repair, people having eyes replaced, etc.) really hit the sweet spot for me.

The ending leaves things in the air for some people. I am definitely going to continue this series to see where it goes. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
This book got progressively more terrible as it went on. If you've read like the first half and you're confused why people hate it... Just put it down now so you wont have to suffer like I've suffered.

I hate Sam so much. I hate everyone around him for excusing his behavior. He literally tried to kill Finley for something he was responsible for, but it's ok because he was "manipulated." And when she comes to his rescue he has the audacity to go:

"The last person he ever expected to come to his aid. Or was she there to make sure the automaton finished its task?"

AFTER HE LEARNS THAT SHE WAS COMPLETELY INNOCENT AND THAT HE'S RESPONSIBLE. Zero consequences. You don't actually have to forgive your friends if they turn out to be pure garbage humans. In fact, you shouldn't. You should end that friendship and never look back.

“That’s my fault,” she insisted. “If I had told you everything after the surgery, you wouldn’t have felt so betrayed. He wouldn’t have lured you in.” “It’s not your fault.” “Then it’s not yours, either.”

It's definitely your fault Sam. If you want to give a terrible character a redemption arc you have to give them some sort of redeeming qualities. Sam has none. It's not enough to keep repeating that he's someone's friend or love interest, there's literally nothing about him that's even remotely likable. He's a worse human than Umbridge, because at least we were never supposed to sympathize with her. If anyone read this book and didn't hate Sam... How? What? Are you ok?

Anyways... You also shouldn't put up with men who trap you in their house and tell you that you need saving and that he's the only one who can save you. Especially if he says shit like:

“Just relax, Finley. I’ll be done soon, and if you’re a good girl, I shall give you a biscuit.”

No. What you should do, Finley, is realize that you're perfectly fine the way you are, that you don't need fixing and that being different doesn't mean you're a monster. Why wasn't that the book, it would have been a lot more interesting than this sexist mess...

But if you must fixate on a man, Finley, pick the one who literally supports your every decision and actually listens to what you want. You know, the one who isn't a privileged, pompous asshat?

Also, there's a conversation to be had about casually inserting orientalism into a story to create ambiance. Like, I understand those were the times, but this is a steampunk novel... It doesn't have to accurately reflect the times? Especially if it doesn't intend to actually offer commentary on the effects of colonialism, but only sprinkles references to it throughout as "flavor."

While the sexism and other problematic content is "timely," this is alternative history or fantasy. If doesn't need to have those aspects. Like, make it make sense?

She's not wearing an "oriental dress," she's wearing a qipao. Why is a white, british YA heroine wearing a qipao? To highlight how she's coming to terms with her own sexuality and becoming more comfortable in her own skin? No. NO. Ew, ew, gross, gross... Like can we not? CAN WE JUST NOT WHY IS IT HAPPENING JUST NO. ( )
  systemfailure | Jun 16, 2020 |
The basic premise is that a group of Victorian era teenagers have somehow ended up with these special powers, and find themselves investigating crimes committed by automatons which are acting against their programming. Because, oh yeah, this is most definitely a steampunk world. There are fantastical machines, some of which will sound very like steam-powered versions of things we have now, and some of which are advanced even beyond our technology. (Robot servants? Not in our households… yet!)

I loved the way everything was developed: the plot, the characters, the world, and all. Lovely. Fabulous. And oh so much fun. My one really noticeable issue was how attached Dandy was to Finley even though we don’t see a whole lot of the reason why, but I could pass that off as mostly due to her personality when he met her. It does make me wonder if he will continue to be as attracted to her as the series continues and she tries to develop her control. If his feelings don’t waver and we don’t get an explanation for it, I will complain then. For now, it’s a minor issue for me, though it has the possibility to turn into something bigger. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | May 18, 2020 |
Finley Jane isn't like the other girls. She has a duel, dark side that lives inside her. One that she can't control. When the "gentleman" that she works for comes after her one night, Finley fights back and runs away. And right into the path of Griffin King. Griffin King isn't like other lords. Like Finley, Griffin has a gift - as do most of the others that live with him. There's Emily - a petite, but extremely intelligent woman that works with the automatons and talks to them (oh and Emily 100% reminds me of Kaylee from Firefly). And Sam - the man whose half-machine himself and possesses superpowers that rival Finley's. And now the group must work together to find The Machinist - a killer that's using automatons in his plan to take over England.



I loved the world of this book. I am fascinated with the steampunk genre and I think that Kady Cross did a very good job of bringing it out and fluidly working it into her world. It felt very natural. I liked the characters a lot, too, and look forward to seeing more of them.

( )
  melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
Really enjoyed the characters, can't wait to learn more about Dandy in the next book. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
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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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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.

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