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July 17, 2011

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

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.
Steampunk is officially the newest addition to my list of favorite genres. I haven't had much interaction with steampunk-style novels; in fact, the only one I've read is Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel. While I did see a few similarities between these two books, both consisted of completely different plotlines.

Finley Jayne, the protagonist, is exactly the kind of female lead that I love. She's strong, intelligent, and completely badass. She also has two personalities, much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When Finley feels threatened, her more dangerous side takes over. This gives her much more strength than the average adolescent female--enough for her to take down a grown man.

Then there's Griffin King. Griffin, Griffin, Griffin; the English duke (yes, he is extremely attractive in my eyes--English accents are an automatic WIN) who welcomes Finley into his group of people who also have some interesting abilities. Some of the members don't trust Finley, however, and they believe she's conspiring with the antagonist of the story, a man who goes by the title of "The Machinist". Between trying to fit in in a new place and help in the battle against the criminals, Finley must prove that she is not as evil as some may believe.

When you find out how Finley, Griffin, and the rest of the group are connected, your mind will be blown. Also, when you find out what The Machinist is planning, your mind will be blown again. I loved this novel so much because it was so intruguingly unpredictable. There's action, betrayal, romance, and so much more. My only qualm was the fact that the Victorian era technology seemed so beyond my comprehension--I couldn't understand what was happening in a few scenes. Even so, The Girl in the Steel Corset is a fabulous read for any YA fans, especially those who are looking for something a bit different in a story.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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