Super Series Saturday: The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Guys, I have a geeky confession -- I totally, completely adore the steampunk genre. So far, I've only had one negative experience with any steampunk book. In general, the atmosphere and the creativity of the stories I've found are completely up my alley, and the first two books in Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicles series have been no exception.

The Girl in the Steel Corset

In the first book, we meet Finley Jayne, a servant girl who, when attacked by her lusty employer, takes him out in a matter of minutes. Finley doesn't understand why she is able to switch into a state of mind and body where her small frame is able to take on opponents much larger than she is -- or why she seems to be in a dark, evil frame of mind when it happens. But some of her questions begin to be answered when she runs in to the handsome Griffin King, Lord of Greythorne, who has some surprising insights about her past and about the evolution of the world in general. Soon Finley and Griffin, along with a supporting cast of memorable characters, are embroiled in a plot to steal the most valuable substance in the world and attack Queen Victoria.

First of all, I loved the atmosphere of this book. As I've mentioned before, something about dark, gloomy London streets and fancy gowns mixed with bizarre technologies and machines really interests me. Kady Cross does well with incorporating elements of the real Victorian world with the imaginary technologies she has created. The main components of that world are Organites, small creatures that enhance healing, give machines sentient powers, and cause those who are exposed to them to evolve new abilities, and the Aether, the mystical world beyond that which is seen and the final resting place of dead spirits. Both elements, while mysterious, are consistent in the story and allow for many interesting occurrences and objects.

I also completely enjoy the characters. Griffin's misfit band are all possessed of interesting abilities, and they are all fascinating and endearing in their own way, from Emily, the tiny, fiery Irish genius whose inventions power all of the group's exploits, to the large and brooding Sam, who is bitter about the parts of his body that are mechanical, to the quick-witted (and moving), handsome Jasper, an American with a mysterious past. The characters are placed in a plot that is complementary to their awesomeness -- the action is well-paced and interesting.

My one quibble with the book is at times the writing, particularly the dialogue. The characters often seem as if they are trying to hard to explain things, and the dialogue can be stilted. However, other than this the tale is exciting and well-done, and I could hardly put it down until I finished.

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar picks up where The Girl in the Steel Corset leaves off, with Griffin, Finley, Emily and Sam worrying about Jasper and headed to America to help him. Once they reach America, they learn about some of the issues from Jasper's past that have been haunting him, including a beautiful Chinese girl named Mei (Mei Xing, in full -- say that together and you'll get it) who is imprisoned in a clockwork collar that tightens to suffocate her if she leaves the house where she is imprisoned. Jasper is required by some old "friends" to find the pieces of a machine and reassemble it, or Mei's life is on the line. Meanwhile, Griffin's crew begin spending time with the genius Tesla, trying to learn more about his machines and their connection with the Aether. All the pieces come together with a shocking finish at the end.

Honestly, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar follows very consistently from the first book in the series. It too has a captivating plot, and may even one-up the first book in the series by incorporating more heart-wrenching moments of tragedy and emotion. Kady Cross continues to incorporate fascinating new characters, like Wildcat, the feisty, long-canined outlaw who harbors a flame for Jasper, and Dalton, the handsome and devilish leader of the gang Jasper used to belong to. We also are exposed to new inventions, including those belonging to Emily as well as new inventions from Tesla. We are further enmeshed in the questions of just what the organites can do and how they affect those exposed to them. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar was, in short, a very satisfying second book, which is a difficult feat to accomplish. It's main flaw is the same as that of The Girl in the Steel Corset -- at times it suffers from cheesy and somewhat forced dialogue.

However, in general I found this read to be thoroughly satisfying, and I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in the series.

3.75 stars


  1. I'm glad to hear good things about this series. I bought the first one when it came out but still haven't read it. Then I started seeing all these negative reviews and was getting depressed. I thought the book sounded cool but everyone said it sucked. Glad to hear at least one person liked it.

    1. Oh I actually haven't seen any negative reviews of this one. Hope you end up enjoying it.

  2. I thought Clockwork Collar was better than Steel Corset because it felt more emotionally satisfying; I loved getting to know a bit more about the characters and meeting new ones. Can't wait for the third!

    1. I liked it even better as well! I am excited for the third one to come out too.

  3. ACK! How did I miss that the second book had come out?!?! I'm glad you liked it, though--it makes me even more excited to get to it.

    1. It was really good! I also like that while it has the same characters, it is in many ways its own story, not just the continuation of the last story.


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