Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Posted 22 August, 2011 by Amanda / 20 Comments

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)
Genre: YA, Steampunk
Received: hardcover from Felicia’s July RIPI giveaway
Read: 8/8/2011 — 8/9/2011
In Six Words: Wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great either.

Kady Cross — Website | Blog | Twitter
Amazon — Hardcover | Kindle
Book Depository — Hardcover
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Book Order

1. The Girl in the Steel Corset 
2. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (2012)


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.
-from Goodreads

Why I Read This Book and General Thoughts

I’m not really sure where I saw this book first.  Maybe it was just one of those books I saw floating around the blogosphere and thought it sounded interesting enough to add to my wishlist.  When Felicia had The Girl in the Steel Corset up for grabs on her RIPI giveaway (read it, then pass it), I put it my bid — and won!  The only other steampunk that I have read was the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, which is not exactly typical of the steampunk genre, so I was particularly interested in whether I would like The Girl in the Steel Corset or not.  I did like it, and it was a good, solid book that I enjoyed, but it didn’t knock me over with awesomeness, either.

A More In-Depth Look

I liked The Girl in the Steel Corset and read it in two days, so it held my interest easily.  But I also figured out what was going on and who was behind it long before the characters did.  For me to be able to guess so easily and be right means that a) I wasn’t engaged enough in the book to be swept up so much that I forgot about making a guess and b) it was predictable.  However, the plot did not hinge solely on this aspect, and luckily there were other aspects that kept me reading.

I am not sure whether I simply don’t have enough experience with the steampunk genre or if it was not explained well enough, but there were times that I was confused by the world, like I was missing out on information that I should have already had.  I also felt like the characters were under-developed.  And both girls had their own little love triangle?  Yeah, no thanks.  I hate love triangles, though I will admit that Finley’s attraction to Jack and Griffin was a nice reflection of her two sides and actually made the most sense.  The ending gives a pretty good indication of what the next book might have in store, but I can’t say that I have a burning desire to know.  Would I read it if the book is placed in front of me?  Heck yes.  Would I go out and buy it?  Probably not.

You Might Enjoy This Book If…

If none of my complaints above bother you, and you’re a fan of steampunk and/or YA, you might enjoy The Girl with the Steel Corset.

Other Reviews
Tales of Whimsy — 3
Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog — 3.5
Mission to Read — 3
Parajunkee — 4
My Mercurial Musings — 4

Filed under: ESR: 6, Review: Amanda, Steampunk, YA, ,


20 Responses to “Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross”

  1. Felicia

    I hate love triangles too! While I thought the one was ok since she had duel personalities, the other one I just didn’t get. That being said, I could have done without both of them. I don’t really get SteamPunk though so I think the problem with me was the over descriptive nature of gadgets/stuff but not enough description of the story/world/thoughts :) That being said, it really wasn’t bad and I agree, I think fans of the YA Steampunk world will really like it!

    • I got the duel personality love triangle, but I still wasn’t a fan. So, like you, I too passed the book onto someone else. :)

  2. I always get a little confused in the steampunk world too, there’s just so much going on and so many new and different things to keep track of that it’s easy to get a bit lost. When the characters and story are really strong though, that always makes it a bit easier (like in The Iron Duke – loved that one!). Too bad this one is a bit predictable, but even with that and the double love triangle it still sounds like an enjoyable read!

  3. Steampunk is only as good as its characters and world building. That said, world building doesn’t need to be endless superfluous descriptions of weird gadgets that don’t impact the story. I think you need to read Leviathan for a better example of when steampunk is a seamless element of the world and not a reason for the story or an attempt to stick it in a specific genre.

    I am curious about this one but it never fully grabbed me so I didn’t make much of an effort to try and read it. I think I may look for it at the library.

  4. I love Steampunk Romance, though I’ve gotten pretty far off track in terms of reading it. I really want to read this one but I think I’ll wait. If there’s a love triangle, I want to know the couple will be at the end. That way I won’t become to invested in the wrong guy. And throw the series across the room. It’s happened.

    • The choices were pretty clear, I thought. Though that could just be me, making my decisions early and sticking to them. ;)

  5. Ehhh, sounds like a love triangle of doom :p I actually haven’t read like, ANY, steampunk YA! Except for Leviathan, but I still get completely confused by that genre :p Great review! I’ve been seeing this book around a lot as well and it seems like one I can pick up for an entertaining read.

  6. I remember seeing a reviwe of this book on another blog before I became a blogger. I loved the cover and sooo wanted to buy it, but as I read the reviews I didnt. Good to know I haven missed out. New Follower! Oh an I think im goung to enter into your read-a-thon…only I cant enter until i get home from work…the computer here doesnt allow me to see the entry form.

  7. Michele Boon

    OMG I am in love with this book, I just wish someone will draw a picture of what the Aunt looks like. I am almost done with the book but so far I am LOVING every bit of the story, wonder if she is coming out with a new one soon.

  8. I’m so new to the steampunk genre. I really do want to try out the Parasol Protectorate series, but I’m stepping back from the genre for now. I did like the Infernal Devices series: even if the two books aren’t totally submerged in steampunk, it’s nice to have that little quirky bit that’s included.

    I felt the same as you about this one. I read it, but it didn’t completely blow me away.

    Great review!