Monday, August 27, 2012

The Girl In the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

STORYLINE: 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. And Finley thinks she might finally be a part of something, finally fit in—until a criminal mastermind known as the Machinist threatens to tear the group apart….

I'm a fan of superhero stories, and this kind of sounded like one—a group of talented teens defending their country from an unknown evil genius—with added steampunk flair. I'm also fascinated by characters who struggle with a dark side, and Finley Jane, the main character, is the perfect candidate—a girl version of Jekyll and Hyde.

The characters seemed a little flat, though not horribly so. The worst part, for me was that the author put two—yes, two—love triangles into the story. I also think that Finley's struggle with her dark side ended a little easily, but I guess with the aether, you can (presumably) do anything.

That's another thing that might present a rough spot for some readers—the mystic Aether, basically the spirit realm of the book. Griffin can access the Aether and use it's somewhat magical powers for things like emitting blasts of energy and calming Finley when her dark side rears its head. I didn't care so much for those sections of the book, especially when Griffin uses it to contact his deceased parents. It just touched a little too close to the occult for me.

Coupled with quite a bit of cursing (though nothing above PG-13 range, certainly) and some sensuality (though not nearly as much as the cover would suggest), I would say that this could be given to older teens with a mature understanding of how the spiritual side of life really works.

Rating: three out of five stars

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