She thought there was something wrong with her. She was right.Finley Jayne has known for quite some time that she isn’t ‘normal,’ but when she beats up the son of her employer and is forced to flee, she stumbles into a world where there are bigger freaks than her. They take her in, treat her like family and demand her trust. How can Finley trust them when she can’t trust herself? And why is she drawn to the powerful Griffin as well as the dangerous Jack? She has to get herself under control before she gets into trouble she can’t get out of.Griffin King is one of the most powerful men in Britain but he couldn’t save his best friend from almost dying. He is determined to save Finley and help her become the person he knows she can be, but there’s evil afoot in London. Machines have attacked humans under the orders of a nefarious criminal called The Machinist. He has sworn to protect his country against such a threat, but he’s never faced any foe like this. However, when he discovers The Machinist’s connection to his past, Griffin vows to end the villain once and for all — but he’ll need the help of all his friends, including the beautiful Finley Jayne – the girl in the steel corset.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Harlequin (first published May 24th 2011)
Four Stars: This book is so much fun. Lots of steampunk, great characters and a mystery.
Dread washes over Finley Jayne as the son of her employer leers toward in the darkened hall. As a servant girl in the house, she is up late prepping a dress for her mistress. On the way back to her room, She runs into the drunk Lionel. He has one thing on his mind. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't know that Finley isn't a timid maid. He strikes her cheek, drawing blood. Finley's dark side awakens and strikes. In seconds he is pummeled and knocked unconscious. Terrified, Finley flees the mansion knowing that she is in deep trouble. She dashes out into the street so consumed by her fear that she doesn't see the velocycle rushing towards her. The driver collides with the frightened maid and she blacks out. Lord Griffith stands over the girl. His instinct tells him that there is something different and important about this servant girl, lying battered and bleeding at his feet. Against his best friend Sam's wishes, he decides to trust his gut and take the girl home. When Finley Jayne wakes, it is quickly apparent that she is not a normal girl. She is a young lady with two sides, one dark and one light. Rage and fear awaken the dark beast inside her and she fights the servants. Once she is calmed, Griffith finds himself drawn to this lovely girl with two halves. Can Griffith help Finley Jayne control her personality, while he tries to stop the terrifying random machine attacks throughout London?
What I Liked:
- I picked up this book last summer, drawn to the gorgeous cover (yes, I know shallow of me). Why I let it languish so long in my reading pile is beyond me. Perhaps I was afraid this was just another disappointing read behind a pretty cover. Luckily, I was wrong. This book was great fun. It has mystery, steampunk, two awesome smart kickbutt girls and more. I really enjoyed this book.
- I am still new to the whole steampunk genre, but I can honestly say so far this has been my favorite. Ms. Cross includes some fantastic steampunk elements. My favorites were the steel corset and the robot cat. These are just two of the many unique and clever steampunk contraptions in this book. If you are fan of steampunk, I highly recommend you give this book a read. I only wish that this novel had pictures of all this great stuff. The steel corset sounds lovely with its intricate flowers and unique design. Who says protective gear can't be fashionable?
- Ms. Cross creates great characters. Finley Jayne with her unique affliction is able to fight her way out of danger. She can beat up almost anyone. If you love strong female leads, Finley Jayne won't disappoint. I really adored Emily, she is an intelligent Irish lass who is a skilled mechanic, inventor and even a medic. I loved that both the female characters were smart, strong and very capable and that they possessed qualities that are usually associated with men. The two gents, Sam and Griffith round out the group and they are fascinating, considering that they both have some interesting abilities and secrets as well.
- This is a retelling of Jekyll and Hyde except with a twist. This time the afflicted is a young girl, Finley, and she has no knowledge of the how or why she has a dual personality. I had fun uncovering the secrets of her personality, as well as watching her battle her dark side. I admit, I loved it when her dark side took control. I completely enjoyed this new spin on an old classic.
- This book presents a plot with layers of subplots. There is the focus on Finley and her condition, the conflict that Sam is waging with himself, the attacks by the machines, the solving of the murder mystery and the unmasking of the machinist. I always appreciate books with layers of story lines and this book provides plenty of threads to follow.
- Finally, I was thrilled that Ms. Cross provides a nice resolution while providing some interesting new ideas to follow up on in the sequel. No cliffhanger!
- For the record, I love the name Finley Jayne!
And The Not So Much:
- If you are looking for a good romance, this might be a disappointment. There isn't a complete development of a romantic relationship. Instead Ms. Cross teases us with potential sparks and promises. She keeps you guessing as to whether or not Finley will fall for a certain gentleman or not. On a side note, there is a tiny flame between two of the secondary characters, which I liked.
- This book sort of tries to present a love triangle but it is not established. Finley's dark side draws her to Jack Dandy, a criminal leader in the underworld. I adored Jack. There was something about this bad boy that just made me smile. He is charming and believe it or not a gentleman, but one that must be handled carefully, he is a bad boy after all. I loved the way he talked, especially his pet name for Finley which is "Treasure". I wanted more of Mr. Dandy.
- I was left with a couple of nagging questions. One was who was the murderer of Finley's assailant? Another sticking point was Jasper Renn. He is an American Cowboy, but he remains a mystery. He seems to have some unique abilities of his own that are never disclosed. However, at the end of the book it was apparent that the sequel is going to focus on Jasper. Hopefully, I will get the answers to my questions.
- This novel is labeled as Young Adult. I personally think that this book is beyond the YA label. Not due to inappropriate content, but because it transcends the normal YA classifications. The characters are mature and act like adults even though they are young and the plot itself is beyond the typical YA lines. This is a book that can be enjoyed by adults as well as young adults. Don't let the YA label deter you if you typically steer clear of YA books, this is a book that will appeal to fans of all ages.
The Girl in the Steel Corset was a fast and thrilling read. If you love steampunk, you will appreciate all the imaginative gadgets and gizmos as well as the references to corsets, gloves, hairpins and all the fashion that steampunk enthusiasts adore. This book is more than a pretty cover and I enjoyed the fantastic multi layered story line. If you have been considering this book, waste no more time, get it! I am glad that I have book two, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar to tear into next!
"An aura of danger clung to her like an oil slick. Unfortunately, he couldn't tell if she was in danger, or if she was danger."
"Pencils were excellent for hairstyling. They also made very effective weapons if the need arose."
"Watching his expression change was like watching thunderclouds suddenly blot out the entire sky."
"She had to be family because she and Griff had the same eyes---like a spring sky about to be taken over by storm clouds."
"She'll never be able to be part of something while she's two halves of a broken whole."
"I promise you I will be careful with my affections, but beyond that I can offer nothing else. I cannot tell my heart what to feel."
"She's two personas struggling for dominance in one body."
"Although, Dandy could be very charming, and girls seemed to like the dangerous fellows---some foolish rot about reformed rakes making the best husbands."
"It was like someone lit a candle inside him, a small flickering flame that warmed him from inside out."