Not a lot to say besides I really liked this book I thought it mixed together the elements of steampunk and the Victorian Age very well I loved the characters, and I loved how Cross added in Gothic elements as well by using inspiration from some stories we all know and love Frankenstein well I hated that Jekyll and Hyde ditto and threw some twists in The Girl in the Steel Corset included a nice little backstory to the character of Finley Jayne From there it goes into the longer story that has Finley meeting other characters I assume we are to follow for the rest of this series Finley s backstory gave us enough of a glimpse to know there is something about her You don t know what But at times she feels like she is two people trapped in one body The short story that began before it included the longer story was so good I loved it and wish we had followed up with characters introduced in that When we catch up with Finley again, she ends up fighting off a young lord of the manor who thinks he can take her and do what he wills When she flees after injuring him, she runs into Griffin King and his friends who are doing what they can to defend the country England against outside enemies.Besides Finley and Griffin, we also have Emily, Sam, Jasper, and a young man called Jack Dandy We quickly find out that Griffin and his friends Emily, Sam, and Jasper are out to capture a man woman called The Machinist who is behind several crimes that took place involving automatons However, suspicions turns towards Finley for maybe being involved with the Machinist when things start happening that shows that the criminal is out to get them Even though this is a Young Adult book and yeah I had no idea when I borrowed it from the library this book reads much older I didn t even realize the characters are teenagers until I saw someone s age mentioned That s not a knock against Cross either, it was delightful to read young adults who actually for the most part had sense and thank goodness two love triangles reared their heads, but one was absolutely resolved and I think the other one is too for what it s worth The only complaint I will say that I really did have is that this book was a bit too long I know that Cross had to set up the other characters and do world building though so it s to be expected in the first book in a series I just honestly didn t need the story to be swinging back to much to Sam He got tiresome after a while I do wish we had spenttime with Griffin s aunt on her adventures though.The setting of a Victorian age with steampunk think automatons walking around, things people cannot see that are little machines that can repair, people having eyes replaced, etc really hit the sweet spot for me.The ending leaves things in the air for some people I am definitely going to continue this series to see where it goes. Steampunk ery at it s best This is one steam tastic debut Steam erific okay I m done.This is my second steampunk novel and although it was quite a bit different than the other novel I read, I am finding myself enad with this genre Finley Wow, that girl can kick some butt I think that I was immediately drawn to her because of that power she had Seriously, I would love to be able to kick someone s ass like that Well, when the occasion called for it being controlled by a darker side, is something that I don t really have an interest in at all.The characters and the world are what I enjoyed the most I loved their quirks and the haphazard family that they created for each other, it was all rather endearing And I loved the darkness and mystery surrounding the one and only Jack Dandy now there is a character I want to see a littleof I d say he has a few secrets hidden up his sleeves I ll admit that I had the bad guy pegged and his evil plan all figured out, long before the intelligent characters in this novel did But it was still fun watching them putting all the pieces together themselves There were a few instances where I was caught by surprise too Cross has definitely created a world and characters that I can t wait to visit again InEngland, Sixteen Year Old Finley Jayne Has No One Except The Thing Inside HerWhen 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 PunchOnly 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 SecretGriffin 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 InBut 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 Within the acknowledgments at the end of her book, Kady Cross describes her original desire to write The Girl in the Steel Corset as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets teen X Men There s really no better way to describe this novel than that for Kady Cross did obviously want to write that novel Her talent seems to rest in creating an interesting world and atmosphere where those kinds of elements can come together The problem, though, is that a great number of other things seemed to fall by the wayside in order to craft such a world, including a clear narrative, character investment, and a large amount of tension within the story arc.Steampunk and packed with adventure, The Girl in the Steel Corset opens upon a young serving maid named Finley Jayne who believes she s struggling with a darker side within, a side that unleashes when she s frightened or angry Incidentally, we re treated to a display of this when the master s son decides he d like to take advantage of the new serving girl, and he winds up beaten unconscious As Finley is aware that she ll be lucky if she only winds up dismissed from her position and not arrested, the voice in her head offers some solid advice flee before either can happen Dashing into the street as she escapes, Finley is nearly run down conveniently, by the only young man in all of London who can truly help her Within his circle of friends, she finds evenfrightening prospects than dealing with her own internal struggles the possibility of understanding, a useful place, and true friends The Girl in the Steel Corset gets major points based on cover and book design alone I loved the dips and curls of the script combined with the cogs on chapter pages and the lush cover is quite vibrant My experience with steampunk literature is rather limited aka Gordon Dahlquist and Gail Carriger , so perhaps staunch supporters of the genre would be able to really enjoy the detail that Cross goes in to The world that Cross paints has the benefit of luxury as one of the main characters and leader of the group, Griffin King, is a wealthy young Duke being contrasted with the gritty world outside There are still all kinds of crazy mechanical contraptions including a whole lot of robots and fashions that work in a good deal of body piercings Introducing a unique element or at least making it something I haven t yet seen before , Cross features a new form of ore that seems to function as a blended mechanical organic composite and keeping this substance away from those who would use its powers for evil will obviously occupy a lot of time in the series well, that and trying to figure out just how it works and how it has affected those who come in contact with it Oh, and there s also this thing called the aether, which seems to encompass all living livings and dead ones, as it seems spirits exist in the aether Are you smirking yet I ll admit, I smirked quite often, and yet I think steampunk enthusiasts are willing to accept a lot of crazy things for the sake of fun, even if this seemedsci fi at times.I would try to explain the plotline in greater detail, but truth be told, I still haven t managed to shake the feeling that I was tossed into a series midway through, and so I find it hard to summarize in anything vaguely resembling a linear trajectory Even when you know the book says Steampunk Chronicles 1, I still felt the compulsive need to do some internet research and see if there weren t, perhaps, other series somehow linked to this one and even when I came up with nothing under this same author name, I still remain somewhat unconvinced that there isn t a manuscript floating around out there with earlier story installments for these characters Without proof of that, though, my only explanation is that Cross seeks to put the reader on par with Finley, who is entering a group of friends rather late in the game, as they have a whole history of collaboration to their credit There are, however, much better ways to suggest this than leaving your reader with the near constant distracting feeling that she s missing something It s downright frustrating to have lots of complications right at the start and a large cast of characters that obviously have convoluted emotions towards each other The romantic tangles seemed to befitting for a second or third series installment, as triangles seemed already in place, and the characters themselves were never developed enough to the point where I felt like I sincerely cared for them The story seemed to expect I would care about the good guys simply because I was told to though some effort is put in to painting a bad guy as still being interesting and alluring Finley herself is rather lacking in personality which almost seems hard to imagine, given that she s supposed to have two distinctly different sides, so you d think at least one would jump out at you Two strong male characters are drawn to her and yet I see no reason for them to feel this pull And the villain Well, I kept picturing The Machinist as Dr Claw from Inspector Gadget and that s just not a good sign His motivations once we get to know them seem flimsy and evil villainy where one might otherwise hope for some nuance or at least solid reasoning In the end, I was rather disappointed in The Girl in the Steel Corset as a trailblazer for YA steampunk The only thing that seemed to make it YA appeared to be the ages of the main characters and the PG romance There are romantic storylines in play, but nothing that ever takes us beyond an impassioned kiss Even the title ultimately proved misleading, as the steel corset really isn t an integral element to the story, beyond its not so subtle fusion of the time period s costume with industrial steel work Hopefully Cross will be able to hit her stride with later books and develop her writing abilities, but I m rather doubtful that I ll pick up future installments in this series.Please note that I received an advanced review copy of this novel courtesy of NetGalley for the purpose of review. RATING 2.5 stars.The Girl in the Steel Corset You look at the title and it makes you interested if you re easily swayed by a cover like I am you ll be impressed with the beautiful red dress and the hint of the aforementioned steel corset Then you read the synopsis and you think well, this definitely sounds good I know that is what I thought The neat packaging, the steampunk world and the fact that our main character is a strong female in Victorian times, a character that has a Jekyll and Hyde feel to her all of it sounds intriguing.Unfortunately the actual book isn t as good as it promises The best word to describe it is average Maybe even dull Or if you want to enter the realm of comparison, then it s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen No, really.Cardboard story, cardboard characters and cardboard world Cardboard defines The Girl in the Steel Corset The story is boring, reads like a badly written sci fi steampunk movie and or like an even worse YA version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Everything correlates The group of heroes with the special powers the mysterious, technically savyy villain, the service to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria everything The plot was just so thin and predictable I was surprised the characters took so long to figure out the evil guy s plans I mean I kind of knew from almost the beginning.The characters aren t much better The author managed to make them perfect YA stereotypes, even though this novel takes place in the 19th century There s even twice the unrealistic love stories and twice the love triangles As for Finley Jayne, the female protagonist, I m not sure how Cross accomplished the feat of making her the most boring, dull and characterless girl to grace a YA book since Bella Swan Even Finley s dark side is annoyingly dull.And don t even get me started on Griffin King I mean, first of all he has the most ridiculous name Griffin King My mind zeroed on Spider Man and the Kingpin every time I read his name Worst Name Ever Really And it s probably the most improbable lol name for a member of the 19th century British aristocracy too Of course he is also a cliche.Last but not least the world Steampunk is supposed to be interesting Except it seemed like the author had a list of things that exist in a Steampunk world and ticked it off one by one as she was writing the book So it s basically generic Steampunk, if that even exists I didn t feel like there was any trace of originality in the world building it didn t feel like the author made an effort to develop her own ideas It was just automatons and steam powered machines.So, overall, The Girl in the Steel Corset and I m wondering why it s even called that, the steel corset is, at best, a very minor character was a pretty bland read The book didn t display any originality in terms of story, characters or world I guess it was written in an interesting manner, but I thought the author could have done a lotwith it if only Finley had beeninteresting or if the focus of the plot had been different or even if Cross decided not to include the love story if unrealistic, insta romance can be considered that I was disappointed with this book, I expectedaction and alively heroine. My copy of The Girl in the Steel Corset includes the prequel short The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, which I read first The Strange Case of Finley Jayne introduces us to the title character, a sixteen year old girl from a working class family in Victorian steampunk London Finley can do things she shouldn t be able to do, like throw a man across a room and leap from a second story window When she gets riled up, a darkness rises up inside her and makes her stronger than she should be andaggressive than she wants to be This other side gets her into trouble, but it catches the attention of a woman whose daughter is engaged to marry a totally creepy noble, who also happens to be a famous inventor She hires Finley to pose as her niece, and Finley solves the mystery and saves her friend from a terrible fate, all in record time The short is about 100 pages, but it s fun and light, with lots of action.The short leads right into the events of The Girl in the Steel Corset, but what transpired in the first 100 pages is never mentioned again In fact, Finley goes on to say multiple times that she has never done some of the things she did in the short They re minor things wearing a fancy dress to a ball, dancing with aristocrats, having a friend but the contradictions pulled me out of the story Regardless, once the actual story starts, the reader is immediately drawn into the action and conflict Finley ends up joining the League of Extraordinary Teen X Men no, it s not really called that , funded and headed by cutiepie Griffin King, the Duke of Greythorne I particularly liked his POV scenes, but we get the viewpoint of many of the other characters, too It s an interesting enough group if Griffin is the leader, his buddy Sam is the brawn and genius inventor Emily is the brain Cordelia Griffin s young widowed aunt and Jasper an American cowboy provide support, and with Finley s addition, they gain the help of the dapper cockney crime lord Jack Dandy They all combine their wide range of powers to fight The Machinist, an anarchist responsible for a number of crimes involving automatons I enjoyed the book Yes, I had issues with some things like the aforementioned contradictions and Sam being a total bonehead for most of the story , but overall I had fun reading it It s funny, exciting, and entertaining I don t read a lot of steampunk, so I was really drawn into the technology of the world Cross created I gave it 4 stars because I ll definitely read the next one. Sigh I really wanted to love this one I m a sucker for pretty covers, the author was sweet as pie when I met her and the excerpt she read from the beginning of the book was great Unfortunately, I only just barely liked it, and if it hadn t been for the fact that I d received an advance copy of it, I probably wouldn t have finished it Things I liked about it Finley Jayne has the potential to be a great character I was on board with the whole Jekyll Hyde dichotomy and the battle for good and evil going on inside of her I like it when the main character is a girl who can kick ass and doesn t need anyone to coddle her She s an exciting and engaging character and as the series progresses I hope Cross can clean up the plot a bit to let her main character shine.The organites and semi sentient machines aspect was cool I haven t read a lot of steampunk, but I liked the historical bent on science fiction.Things that nearly ruined it for me It was LOOOOONG Nearly 500 pages and it felt that way The plot was incredibly slow moving For all the action in the first few pages, 3 4ths of the book moved at a snail s pace with repetition after repetition, and only the smallest revelations marking forward progress As I said, I haven t read much in the steampunk genre, but the fact that they had nearly every modern convenience felt like overkill I understand this is science fiction, but other than the way the characters talked and dressed, I might not have known it was set in the Victorian age with all the talk of showers and electricity and vehicles albeit powered in different fashions than we have today I found myself wondering why Cross bothered to write it in a historical setting at all if she was just going to modernize nearly every aspect But again, this could just be my unfamiliarity with the genre.Neither of the love interests did anything for me, and I couldn t figure out why they did anything for Finley either There was very little chemistry between any of them.The cheesy romance novel y writing style I can t really put my finger on what it is about the writing, only that I knew right away the author had written historical romances before All that being said, I did see potential in Finley and was interested in the plot line itself once she got around to it I won t completely throw out the possibility of reading the next in the series, but I hope it s pared down with tighter pacing and acontrolled storyline. I could list out all the things that just annoyed me I could say its abrupt With one thing after another and no breather in between it just become a series of unfortunate events I could say the tech aspect was a bit too much I could even say all that describing was too much But I will go with this I do not like characters that lack depth which is not really the problem here Rather it s the complete opposite I can tell you precisely what Finley, Griff, Sam and Emily all look like I can tell you what they do and why they do what they do AND YET I honestly did do not care When a book tells me loads of stuff, IMO I start not to care All that description took me away from the story All I m saying is let me figure things out myself, with that I will probably never finish this book And here s onereally annoying point Finley At one point she s swooning at the probable ability of the men she encounters to overpower her I mean seriously WTF She might have the strength to harm him, but he wouldn t go down easily, and she might not survive the altercation And as with Griffin, this elevated Dandy in her estimation. Thanks Net Galley This book is the first part in a new series called The Steampunk Chronicles, and there is some measure of success in some of the devices used here The Organites in particular are pretty cool if borrowing somewhat from Star Trek , as they are tiny life giving creatures that can heal scars and mend bones Many of the other steampunk elements are also fun, including the decorative but useful steel corset designed for Finley by her friend Emily.But after awhile, there s almost too much technology on show, particularly when random devices make appearances for no apparent reason There is an instant camera, rebuilding of hearts, and numerous other scientific discoveries that just aren t very convincing Further straining credibility is the notion that Emily, a teenaged girl, would be so proficient in medicine, surgery, and the use of aforementioned technology, despite any back story to indicate her training or education There s also a disturbing lack of adult presence in this book, and the few that make appearances seem merely there for show On top of this, the plot itself is pretty thin, there s very little character development, and the attempts to mimic the language of the time is awkward at best.This book starts out with a bang as Finley flees the household where she s been mistreated and then encounters the self same lord in a dark alley Unfortunately, it quickly loses momentum as it becomes apparent that this is essentially a romance novel with a gorgeous cover and some great action scenes The steampunk genre certainly invites a certain suspension of disbelief, but Victorian England and its manners and s should bethan just a set decoration for a story that is placed in that era Readers who crave fun, well written steampunk would do better to find Cassandra Clare s Clockwork Angel, which skillfully blends mystery, magic, and strong characters and plot in with the distinct language and customs of the day.This review also appears in The Midnight Garden a review copy was provided by the publisher. Read This Review More Like It On My Blog 2 out of 5 stars and that s me, being very kind and generous towards a very trying, unoriginal and bland novel This was quite nearly a DNF for me Some books just read effortlessly and easily and some books are a struggle from the first page until the last and The Girl in the Steel Corset is definitely a member of the latter group Only a few things could have kept me going in this four hundred page mess and one of them was the immense, looming obligation I felt to read ARC I received for the equally long winded sequel, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar Several aspects of this first novel were mystifying to me amid and during my boredom and struggle to complete it like why, exactly, is this lip service steampunk novel so many readers first and judging by the gadgetry shown in this novel, their only taste taste of that kooky and inventive subgenre And why is Finley so brainless and hard to like I have to readily admit my experience with Finley and her misfits were much less than satisfactory and note honestly that if I hadn t won this book, I would be pissed at having spent my hard earned cash on it The Girl in the Steel Corset is just plain bad often, and frequently a mess by many measures There re love triangles galore Jack Finley Griffin and Sam Emily Jasper , missed character potential in order to focus on fripperies, coffee coffee I m sorry I thought that this was alternate England not a new universe Where s the tea and clothing, and most damning and frustrating as a reader of all, there are unfulfilled and unexplained plotlines AFTER the resolution and roundup on the final page view spoiler seriously, who killed Felix No answer is provided hide spoiler