Monday, May 28, 2012

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, but I prefer to view my steampunk, rather than to read it (I love Wild Wild West, the show and movie, I love Treasure Planet, 9, The Golden Compass, those new Sherlock Holmes movies, The Prestige, Sucker Punch, Hugo, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing and so on). Of course, this comment excludes the original fathers of steampunk HG Wells and Jules Verne, I could read their novels all day and have taken reading challenges, just so I could do this very year. You see, modern (those styled after Wells and Verne) steampunk novels include affectations that drive me completely and utterly insane. It seems to me that these novels are more about the gadgets, the setting, the feel for an anachronistic Victorian England than they are about the characters and the plot...if I have to read one more time about some guy's cravat, I may just...ugh...

I know what you are thinking (or at least will be thinking soon), Stephanie, if you dislike steampunk so much than why do you read it. Hmmmm, I read it in the hopes that one day I will read a steampunk novel that comes closer to Wells and Verne than what I've read so far.

I think this book, The Girl in the Steel Corset, and its novellette companion, The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, may be the closest I've seen yet.

Finley Jayne has literally run away from her job...of course, she did this after clocking the living daylights out of the son whose hands were just a little too friendly. She runs right into millionaire and Duke, Griffin King. He takes her back to his mansion/castle via his velocycle were we meet a group of young castaways. Via the aether Griffin can see the future, read your thoughts, locate your whereabouts and communicate with the dead, Sam Morgan is a big tall hunk of metal, literally, as he was torn into pieces and put back together, who mopes around lamenting his real heart and his true love. His true love happens to be the beyond brilliant Emily Kingston, who can fix anything, as she can communicate with machinery. There's Jasper Renn, a cowboy from the wild west, who is running away from something and joins the crew and there's Jack Dandy, the villian who sports an unrealistic cockney accent on purpose. And, then there's Victorian England and Victoria herself both of which are in danger of being destroyed by a brilliant, but crazy mastermind.

This book is released by Harlequin Teen (didn't even know this division existed) and written by a former romance novelist and you can tell, most of the time in a good way as we get to read more in-depthly about the dresses, the city, the men and the clothes and the walls, seriously beautiful and breath-taking...when it comes to the portrayal of Finley Jayne it didn't work so much. Although, she can punch through walls and throw grown men and machinery across the room, she still light and fluffy and girly...gag.

Frankly, I like the novelette better, Finley seems less conflicted and I like how the story is set up, so we know she wasn't just kicked out of her former employers home. We know that Finley is passionate and strong. It segues nicely into the novel. Although it was released after the novel, I wish I would have read it first, as I would have found Finley less annoying.

Oh, and cravat is only mentioned nine times; how refreshing.

And, since Steampunk looks so pretty on the screen, I'd love to see this as a's too bad Jude Law is way to old *wimper for the sake of all humanity* to play any of the male characters.

I look forward to reading The Girl in the Clockwork Collar.

4 Stars   

The advisories below cover both the book and its novelette.

Teacher Advisories
Sex 1/5 
There are a couple of kisses and the sexy flirting. I'm not sure I'd count that as more than a one.
Language 2/5 
Phrases and words are used to mean cuss words. The word damn is used rather flagrantly.
Substance Abuses 1/5
There are some dinners with alcohol and some bars with some ale. Do the organites count as a substance?
Violence 4/5
Griff's friend Sam gets into a lot of brawls. Each of the girls gets knocked out at some point. There's, Griff harnesses the aether and gets caught up in it...pretty deadly stuff.

Touchy Subjects
Contacting the dead
Griff uses the aether to talk to his parents who are dead. Some people may think that the aether is some sort of evil spirit.
Queen and country
Poor dear Queen Victoria gets turned into an automaton, some people may find this offensive. Queen Victoria is also kind of mean and secretive.
Machines taking over the world
Scary idea because it's so real...

How this book is used in the classroom
1] Independent Read option

1 comment:

  1. Griffin King sounds like the perfect guy. This story is great, amazing characters and plot, there is some real potential in this world that Kady Cross has created!


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