I heard good things about The Girl in the Steel Corset from various places like Goodreads and other blogger's reviews, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I vaguely understood the concept of steampunk, and I thought it sounded cool, too.
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
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.
Finley Jayne is different than the other young girls in London. None of them could fight off a fully-grown man with their bare hands or have frightening multiple personalities, one cruel and vicious and the other sweet and shy.
Finley tries her best to hide her dark side, until the day her employer's son attacks her and she's forced to incapacitate him, running for her life. That's when Griffin King almost runs her over.
When she's taken back to his home, that's when Finley discovers Griffin and his friends, Emily, Sam, and Jasper, aren't quite "normal," either. The problems to come and the evil mastermind behind them aren't something any of them ever expected.
Admittedly, when I started reading this book, I had a little bit of trouble getting interested in it. I thought it was pretty good, definitely, but I also found myself more interested in what was going on with Griffin and Sam and Emily, and their POVs than Finley's, and she was supposed to be the main character. Luckily, though, by the end of the book I was more drawn into the story, including Finley's part in it.
Something I did love, though? Griffin. He was awesome. He was smart and brave and protective of his friends, even Finley, who he'd just met. I love protective guys. One of my favorite Griffin moments was actually very early on in the book:
Fear. He felt it roll of her in great waves. It shimmered around her in a rich red aura Griff knew he alone could see, as it was viewable only in the Aetheric plane. She was afraid of them and, like a trapped animal, her answer to fear was to fight rather than flee. Interesting.
She was certainly a sight to behold. Normally she was probably quite pretty, but right now she was...she was...
She was bloody magnificent. That's what she was.
Another fantastic part of this book was Emily. That girl is--to quote Finley--a bloody genius. She was smart and funny and, in a word, awesome.
The villainy, however, I found a little lacking. I enjoyed the story and the development of the characters. I liked watching them find new information about their abilities and pasts. But the Machinist didn't have as big of a role as I was expecting.
Someone who had a bigger role than I was expecting, however, was Jack Dandy. I'm not quite sure I like him as a person, but his character did add another interesting layer to the story.
Add all that into an interesting world, interesting characters and interesting problems, and I give this book <*><*><*><*>