Author: Kady Cross
Series: The Steampunk Chronicles #1
Published: 24 May 2011 by Harlequin
Length: 473 pages
Warnings: attempted rape, violence, romance 13+
Summary : 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."
Review: In the first few pages, we see Finley Jayne’s darker side. When young lord Felix Augustus Raynes thinks he can have this servant like he has the others, he finds he’s wrong. And knocked out. Knowing that she’ll be dismissed for teaching him a lesson, Finley makes a run for it. She’s picked up by Duke Griffin King and his little band of misfits. Finley’s wary of him at first, but soon gets to know him and Sam(part robot), Emily (can communicate with machines) and Jasper (“cowboy” from America), become friends with (some of) them, and is drawn into their investigations. They’re looking for The Machinist, who they think is behind many automaton-related crimes, and may be (read, is) planning something even bigger. As they go, and learn about her family history, Finley is drawn into a lot of suspicion, and a lot of danger.
Ever since I saw the title and cover of this, I knew I wanted to read this. So I was very excited to get a copy of this, especially when I didn’t think they were doing it in the UK. And it didn’t disappoint.
The plot was done well. It starts off really quickly, and the rest of the book is similarly fast paced. There’s a lot twists and turns, some of which are predictable, that all resolve themselves by the end. There’s a lot of subplots that were woven in well and added interest.
The romance was done well, and I found it really nice that we didn’t just follow the main characters’ romance. Yes, I think that Finley and Griffin make a good couple, but I much preferred the longing between Emily and Sam. They deserved their love a bit more, and it was really easy to imagine their friends-only relationship before they got together.
The characters were all very fleshed out with distinct personalities. They interacted realistically, and I’m glad not everybody was in love with Finley to start with. It made it a bit more believable. I found Finley’s family history to be very long winded and a little confusing, but I loved the idea that her dad was the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde. I don’t think we saw enough of Jasper, but from the ending, there definitely should be a lot more of him in book two.
The Steampunkery in this is prevalent throughout. 1897 setting fulfils that aspect, and the gadgetery that turned up...amazing. Emily’s workshop, the automaton, and so on. And the cat. All my love to the cat. On a completely different note, I’m glad the steel corset is important to the story.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a real steampunky book. Definitely want more of this series.