Date of Publication: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Sequel to: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Sequel to: The Girl in the Steel Corset
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper, and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens and tightens. From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship. More than ever, Finley must rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley...and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much....
If there were any doubts they were throughly dispelled after reading The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. The Girl in the Steel Corset was one of my favorite debuts and I was curious to see if this series was legit. It is. There's this wonderful mix of exhilarating and fun.
This book was fun to read. That's its biggest strength: the way every lines drew me in. There was such a great blend of so many elements; likable characters, thoughtfulness, action, and a really cool world. There's also so much creativity. Kady Cross does not bite off more than she can chew. It's fascinating how this is only the second book but it doesn't feel that way because everything is clearly written. There's depth and detail and I adore it.
Once again I have to praise Finley. I adore her. She's not a total badass because she has a conscience and insecurities. She has this steady confidence about her and her abilities that I couldn't help but admire. Finley is a character I like to read about and respect too.
The story alternates POVs with Finley, Jasper, and Griffin all having an opportunity to tell it and I loved that. Griffin is a fantastic character that I totally literary crush on. He feels so different from most other love interests in YA because he's responsible and over thinks. He's bossy but in general just decent. Someone you can pull full. Jasper I like a little less than Finley and Griffin (and Emily for this matter) but that says more about them than him.
Jasper has dealt with a lot and it's him that drags everyone into this mess (although it really isn't his fault). Jasper is brought to New York due to some bogus murder charges in an elaborate plan by Dalton, a guy from Jasper's past, who's looking for something Jasper once took. Dalton is prepared to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, even if that means hurting others, including some pretty girl Jasper seems to like a lot. Jasper is charming and you end up feeling for him and liking him but when compared to the awesomeness of Finley and Griffin, he was a second (third?) choice.
The characters are fantastic; I hope that has been established. There is just a really great crew and what I love is their loyalty for one another. There are trust and control issues but at the end of the day, everybody loves one another. They all need each other and as individuals they're fascinating and collectively they're unstoppable.
The plot centres around saving Jasper and I thought it was well done. I love that the story wraps up by the end of the book; it's very satisfying and refreshing after the constant cliffhangers. The world is pretty cool with automatons somehow being natural. At some point I got used to the crazy machines which lead to some awesome mental images of scenery. The Aether was a really cool dimension that I hope is further explored.
I've tried my best to explain why I love this book and this series so much. I think it's a bit of a YA gem and it has a little bit of everything for everybody.