Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  "In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. 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 . . . that she's one of "them."

And here's what I thought:  So ... that summary doesn't really tell you too much, does it?  And I'm going to try to avoid spoilers, so bear with me if I don't tell you much more.  Suffice to say, there's a lot more going on this book.  Things like: some steampunk-y elements, like steam-powered velocycles, and evil automatons.  Other things like: really smart girls (one who kicks ass, and one whose intelligence kicks ass).  And a little bit of romance between a couple of characters.  There are also some historical details and descriptions that I thought the author did a nice job with.  Example:  If the city of London was a body, Whitechapel would be the groin: a great unwashed area that only showed itself under the cover of darkness....   (p 91

I really liked this book, and thought it was a fun story, with a fast pace, and with characters that I enjoyed.   Our main character, Finley Jayne, is, as the summary suggests, more than she appears to be --- she's not your typical Victorian girl.  Instead, she's got something dark inside her that seems to give her a power-boost when she gets angry (no, she doesn't turn into a green, dress-shredding hulk of a girl).   The good thing is, she's not alone --- Griffin King, who has his own special qualities, takes her into his home, where he and his friends live.  And from that point, the story really begins.   There's some mystery and intrigue, adventure, and, as mentioned, a bit of romance.

If you visit GoodReads, you'll see that reviews are all over the place for this book.  I won't say that the book was perfect --- but I thought it was an entertaining read, with qualities I liked.  The author's descriptive writing allowed me to imagine the places, people, and clothing clearly, which was fun.    Sure, I sometimes got a bit tired of Finley being kind of perfect (she's pretty, she's smart, and she kicks ass.... while wearing a corset, of course).   And, on the subject of corsets ---- I did wonder at how she was able to do all the butt-kicking and properly breathe while wearing the various ones she had (which were always fully described).  I have worn a corset at Faire, and let me tell you -- while I do stand up much straighter, I'm laced tightly enough that I don't think I'd be able to do half the things Finley does in this book without passing out.   And, note to the author about the character of Emily: I know you describe her as a small, redheaded girl.  However, every time we seem to encounter her, she's "the small redhead."  I got it the first time --- please just use her name.  Thanks.

Anyway, I did think this was a fun read, so if it sounds like something you'd like, definitely visit your friendly neighborhood library and pick it up (because a library lets you try before you buy .... I wouldn't want anyone to purchase this book and then have buyer's remorse).

First lines:  The moment she say 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.  Her third dismissal in as many months.

More fun lines:  She bounced on her feet, waiting for him to recover.  She should run and hide.  She should be gaping in fear, lungs constrained by the tight lacing of her corset.  But she wasn't afraid anymore and she wasn't about to run.  She was going to fight.  But first, a little fun.  She hadn't hit the bully as hard as she could have.  She was going to let him think he stood a chance first.  (p 15)

Thoughts on the cover:  Not bad, although I imagined Finley as being a bit curvier than this girl.  I like how her back is turned, with the gown showing a bit of a steel corset, and I like the font --- an eye-catching combination.


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I really liked this book (and I actually loved the sequel even more). Finley was just a cool character and I fully support smart ladies who kick ass!

Dependable San Antonio Maid Service website said...

Ths book has a little of everything for everyone: adventure, love interests, gadgets, and more! I absolutely adore the way the author weaved the past with futuristic technological advances! This book kept me suspended the entire time and I can't wait for the next one to arrive!

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