On The Back:
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.
This was my first time reading a Steampunk novel, and it was definitely a great introduction! I already love late 19th Century London as a setting, but the addition of steam power makes it even more amazing. Kady Cross does a flawless job of combining the two and I was never once uncomfortable with the descriptions of the characters’ surroundings. The automatons that are present everywhere were never once obtrusive to the story, and the presence of velocycles were very convenient at times in the plot.
Unfortunately, I did have a really hard time getting into this book. There is a ton of description, to the point that it actually slows down the pace of the book. It’s especially noticeable in any dialogue, as the conversation becomes halting and interrupted. In other places the description was okay, but during dialogue it drove me crazy! There’s also so much back story to each character that is dropped into the story that I actually thought this was a sequel to another book – only to discover this was the first! Finally, there was such a long slow build up, the story’s climax didn’t feel big enough, and I was a bit disappointed.
Despite all of that, there are some truly awesome parts of the book that I loved. Finley is presented with her steel corset and the description is beautiful:
“Thin, shiny bands with embossed flowers and leaves, held together with tiny hinges to allow ease of movement. Little gears and other decorative pieces of steel were soldered over some of the larger gaps between bands. The garment looked like an industrial metal flower garden.”
I want to own one! And the book definitely picked up towards the end of the novel. I will be reading more Kady Cross in the future and I will absolutely look forward to more beautiful descriptions like the steel corset!
Rating: 3.5 / 5