The Girl in the Steel Corset
by Kady Cross
Received ARC from NetGalley
Synopsis (from publisher): 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.
Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset is a book that started out slowly and then stormed to a rip-roaring finish. Set in a Steampunky London, Finley Jayne escapes the advances of the son of her employer and ends up part of a group of friends with odd special abilities led by Griffin King, Duke of Greythorne. The author describes the book as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets teen X-Men, and I couldn't agree more. Each of the characters is well-defined with a distinct voice - which is helpful since the narration bounces from one character to another with little to no warning.
For some reason, the level of detail in the narration reminds me more of H.G. Wells than any modern steampunk writer which is totally not a bad thing. But it is an older style that may be less than engaging to a modern reader who simply wants action. Have faith, modern reader, the action will come and when it does, you'll be happy there was so much description so that you can follow it!
As a fan of historical costuming, I really enjoyed Ms. Cross' attention to detail regarding this and her thoughtful adaption of Victorian styles to her steampunk world.
I'll be looking forward to catching up with Finley, Griffin, Emily, Sam, and Jasper in the next book!
I received a galley of this book from NetGalley.