The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finley Jayne is half normal girl and half . . . something else. After beating up her pervy employer after an unwanted advance, she (literally) runs into Griffin, Duke of Greythorne, and his pack of friends, all of whom have special talents. Griffin can enter the Aether and talk to the dead. This same talent also proves helpful in helping Finley calm her dark side, the same one that protects her, but also gets her into trouble. Griffin's friend and resident mechanic, Emily, has a way with machines that goes beyond tightening bolts and getting just about anything to go from busted to perfect. She can actually communicate with machines. Sam gets his superhuman strength from being a special blend of man and machine.
Under the guidance and support of Griffin's friends, Finley learns how to channel her dark powers effectively without letting them completely overtake her. However, sometimes, the urge to just let the darkness rule can be very seductive, especially when she's in the company of Jack Dandy, the thug overlord of London.
I thought this was a very entertaining read overall. Kady Cross captures the flavor of the Victorian era in her writing and the setting of the book. If you're looking for realistic fiction with tight no-nonsense prose, this isn't the book for you. If you're looking for a fun introduction to Steampunk novels, I highly recommend this one. It will be interesting to see what Cross does with the sequels.
At the beginning, it seemed like The Girl in the Steel Corset was going to be more of a female version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, but as Cross fleshed-out the other characters, it turned into more of a take-off on Sherlock Holmes/The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
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