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.
This book was wonderful. It has all that I ever look for in a steampunk novel ,alternate history, steampunk, mad scientists, detectives, general paranormal activity, feisty females, and a little romance. When you throw all of the above mentioned features together and put it into an accessible YA package, you have my heart for life. This is a great adventure and relief to read – I was afraid that it might be too stereotypically chick-lit in terms of the romance area (considering the publisher being Harlequin and all), but Cross writes it in so subtly that you’re halfway in before you figure out what’s going on between Finley and Griff. And that itself is a breath of fresh air when you consider anything with romance in the realm of YA, especially as of late.
All of these elements are hard to get right by themselves, much less when you throw them together and make a delicious soup like this one.
And then there’s the mystery element – who is the machinist? What are his objectives? Cross subtly builds up the tension between the romance and the appearances of Jack Dandy (Jack the Ripper), along with trying to keep Finley’s head (and soul) together yet balances all of these things with the talent of someone from Cirque du Soleil. And the primitive version of Skynet robots killing (or horribly maiming) people! I enjoyed all aspects of this book, and can find no faults at all with it. And coming from me? I guess that’s high praise, seeing how picky I am and all.
Aside from the novella that’s just been released, I really hope that this isn’t the last full-length book set in Cross’ finely constructed ‘verse. I’ll be reviewing the novella as well, but I’ll still be waiting for news on a second book. More like squirming in my seat like a five year old, but you get the idea.
Want some steampunk that’s empowering for girls? Pick up “The Girl in the Steel Corset”. Afterwards, you’ll want a steel corset of your very own.