In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous. Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.Hardcover, 416 pagesExpected publication: May 22nd 2012 by Harlequin
Four stars: More action, more steampunk and more danger in this sequel.
After Jasper Renn, the American Cowboy, was hauled off by a bunch of thug bounty hunters, the gang is in pursuit, headed to New York City. Jasper was taken prisoner accused of murder. Griffin and Finley refuse to believe their loyal friend is guilty of this crime. So they are currently aboard Griffin's airship gliding over the glittering city. Once Griffin, Finley, Sam and Emily settle in New York, they head to the jail in search of Jasper. Strange he isn't at the jail.....Meanwhile, a battered and bruised Jasper is currently residing in the home of his former boss, Dalton, as a prisoner. Dalton is the leader of a gang of ruffians and he is certainly not an upstanding citizen. It seems that Jasper double crossed Dalton by stealing and dismantling a strange invention that he helped Dalton procure. Jasper had no idea what the device was designed to do, but he had a feeling it wasn't for anything good. Now, Jasper's criminal past has come back to haunt him and at a steep price. Dalton is demanding that he recover the pieces. If he fails to do so, the girl who once stole his heart, Mei Xing, may die, strangled by the clockwork collar she is forced to wear by Dalton, her captor. Enter in Finley and the rest of the gang. They plan to recover their friend and determine if he is indeed guilty. To do so, Finley infiltrates Dalton's gang and enters into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Will she succeed in freeing the cowboy?
What I Liked:
- This book picks up right where the first leaves off. All the characters and elements I loved from The Girl in the Steel Corset return in this sequel. There are more interesting steampunk inventions as well as the continued camaraderie of the four friends. Finley Jayne is tough as nails and she find herself in the middle of numerous fights and scuffles. I love reading about this kick butt heroine.
- I liked that this book was full of surprises. I was caught off guard by several big reveals. First impressions are often wrong in this book!
- The romance is a more prevalent in this book, but it takes its sweet time. What started as small sparks between Finley and Griffin has turned into a smoldering tension that runs throughout the novel. The two dance around their kindling feelings, hesitating..and you are on the edge of your seat wondering if those smoldering sparks will ignite into a full blaze. Ms. Cross does an excellent job creating a romance that keeps you guessing. If you like relationships that are slow building and wrought with tension, you will enjoy the dynamic between Finley and Griffin.
- I appreciate that this series not only has great characters, good story lines and fun steampunk elements but the best part is that the novels are written so that they can be stand alone books. There are no cliffhangers and they resolve neatly. Yet, they build upon each other. I am all for a series that avoids the dreaded non resolutive endings.
And The Not So Much:
- I just don't believe that any of the main characters are teenagers. I think Ms. Cross created them as teens so that this series could be labeled as Young Adult. The problem is that they do not act like teenagers, more like they are in their twenties. All four of the characters are mature, capable and dealing with issues more suited for adults. This series excels beyond the typical YA boundaries and I personally don't really see it fitting well into the classification. There is absolutely nothing appropriate about these books so they can be read by youth as well as adults. Don't let this keep you from reading these books, they are so much fun. Just don't expect a book with a typical teen related issues.
- I was excited that this book was coming to America and I especially wanted to see how the author envisioned New York City at the end of the 1800's. Unfortunately, the city is just a backdrop and there is little description or detail on New York during this time period. I wish that she had showcased New York City more.
- The final showdown felt a touch rushed. The book builds to this big climatic showdown and it is over in an instant. I was expecting a bit more in the final scene.
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar lives up to its predecessor. This is an action packed adventure set at the end of the 19th century in New York. When gangs dominated the city and guns and fists were often the way to settle disputes. Add in a dash of romance, a dose of steampunk and a strong camaraderie and you have the framework for an exciting sequel. If you have yet to dive into steampunk, The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross are an excellent way to immerse yourself into the genre.
"Spread out before them---just beyond the ship's lanterns---was a blanket of lights. It looked like stars covered the ground, and set a short distance from it all was the largest lady she'd ever seen, the glow from her torch illuminating from her raised hand to just the top of her crowned head."
"New York looked like someone had captured the stars and dragged them down to Earth."
"Her mouth hung open like an old door off its hinge."
"When she moved around to the front of the desk, he saw that she was wearing and evening gown that fit her almost perfectly and and made her skin look as smooth as cream."
"I know thinking the worst of people makes it hurt less when they disappoint you, lad, but not everything is at it seems."
"Either she was a good actress or she truly didn't trust him any further than she could throw a buffalo."
"A fella couldn't outrun his past, no matter how fast he was."
"When the stormy blue of his gaze locked with her own, it was as though her heart fell over."
"The two of you are like a twister colliding with a mountain."
"You want a torch or a candle, maybe? You've got your head so far up your own arse, it must be dark in there."
"She tasted like the strawberries they'd had for dessert, and she smelled of fresh air and cinnamon."