Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Published: May 24th, 2011
Grade rate: A
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.
In the acknowledgment The Girl in the Steel Corset is described by Ms. Cross as ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ meets ‘X-Men’ in Victorian London. It is so funny, because I while I was reading I thought it was a mix of ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ and Disney’s ‘The Great Mouse Detective’. And guess what, I love all these movies! This was an awesome read for me.
The characters were all so well developed and I really enjoyed the third person narrative because it allows me to get insight in all the characters and not just a few. You really get to understand them, care for them, and even love them. Finley was a kick-ass heroine, and I absolutely fell in love with Griffin. Sam, Emily, Jasper and even Mr. Dandy are flawed, incredible, amazing, smart, and bound by love and friendship.
The plot of The Girl in the Steel Corset was a little predictable, but enjoyable all the same. Two things that I really liked: We know almost everyone’s ‘secrets’ and abilities right away (no mystery and guessing), and it didn’t have an excess of narrative. By that I mean that sometimes, especially when a novel introduces a ‘new world’, so to speak, there are pages and pages and pages of description to ‘set up the scene’. The novel didn’t do this and I didn’t miss it either. Ms. Cross’ writing is flawless with a nice rhythm and pace.
The Strange Case of Finley Jayne is a prequel available in e-book (just got it for my Kindle for free!) I am looking forward to the sequel, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar that will be published sometime next year.
About the cover: The cover is so pretty, I don’t think is very representative of Finley or the story but it’s beautiful all the same.