The Girl in the Steel Corset is everything I have been dying to find in a steampunk novel. The technology flavors the world perfectly and I love thatThe Girl in the Steel Corset is everything I have been dying to find in a steampunk novel. The technology flavors the world perfectly and I love that there's so many different verities of fashion. This is a whole new reimagined world! One where 20 years prior an expedition lead by the Duke of Greythorne journeyed to the center of the earth. Discovery of the Cradle of Life, THE place were creation began. Strange things called The Organites where discovered. Tiny organisms that can mimic other things on a cellular level. While the general public is only aware of some ore that powers the technology from this expedition. Every thing else is kept hush, hush by order of the Queen.
So now we're 20 years later after these events. Where despite keeping everything a secret things are definitely happening. People are developing powers because of certain events and there's a villain out there, The Machinist, who wants to use The Organites for evil. It's all very shady with plots against the Queen and reimagining of Dr. Hyde and Mr. Jekyll.
There is a lot of technology here leading to a new and different world. Though I have a hard time believing that facial piercing, and multiple ones at that, would be acceptable for a Lady. That's a different kind of advancement. Even the pants seemed far out. Because there were still many rules a lady should follow that contradict those advancements in sexism. But hey that's me being nit picky.
Speaking of technology. There is a lot of it here. Finally a steampunk novel chocked full of it! I love the way the machines work and the description of the gears! However, there was some technology that made me pause. Some of it was sooooooooo advanced that it felt like it was out of a futuristic novel, not a steampunk. And if you don't know steampunk novels generally take place in the past. Some in the Victorian age mainly. So that took me out a bit. Hey, they've journeyed to the center of the world! They've discovered the Cradle of Life. Anything can happen.
GitSC has a wonderful cast of characters here. Griffin is a suave leader of his gang of misfits, as expected as the current Duke of Greythorne. He's a true hero and I love how it fits along with his humanity. Finley is his social opposite. The best part is she's a fighter and I love how tough she is. Even when she's trying to figure out who she is from circumstances outside of her control. You know there's a romance happening there. The best part is it isn't rushed. Cross is doing what I have missed. Building the romance and creating the romantic/sexual tension. Not to mention Jack Dandy a dark character well worth the swooning and a nice counter part to Griffin. Because there is a love triangle, but at least it’s done well. So it fits really good here. (No teenage melodrama. I dare say it’s realistic.)
The other cast of characters are amazing as well. They all stand out and I adore how dastardly gangsters or stupid muscle men eventually flesh out and become likeable characters. People make mistakes, but they learn. Griffin's band of misfits is like a family. The trust they've all earned is moving and I enjoyed watching Finley become part of it.
Overall I love all of the aspects presented. Some readers might find it a bit full. There's changing points of views, lots of steampunk technology, people developing powers, the other worldly Aether, historical references, fantastic character interactions, witty humor and dialogue, strange Organite things, and—basically a marvelously brilliant world! It's well developed and quite fantastic. Oh, and I've been saving the best for last. A female Hyde and Jekyll. Boom. Bet you were wondering when I'd bring it up again. The Girl in the Steel Corset was an unexpected treat! If you're new to steampunk or a connoisseur of the genre don't miss this one!
Sexual Content: All rather politely clean. There is sexual humor and some hints of more.
Ah. So good. Everything just clicked into place with this one. There was this one character that I hoped, and wished, that Cross would go there with.Ah. So good. Everything just clicked into place with this one. There was this one character that I hoped, and wished, that Cross would go there with. Sure I'd predicted the plot, but it would be soooooo cool. And Cross did go there. I love an author who isn't afraid to DO things with their characters. To throw them a situation that will forever alter them.
The Girl In the Clockwork Collar is the second book in the Steampunk Chronicles. While it swiftly picks up where the last book left off, our characters won't stay comfy for long. The changing POV is still present and I'm so happy that a lot of the characters get to tell the story. Sam and Emily’s page time is not happening, but Cross writes them in so well that it doesn't feel like a loss. Jack Dandy may never have stepped into this story, but he made his presence known. *Grins* Finley and Griffin are very much the main characters. It's so wonderful watching them deal with their emotions with each other. To learning together that society should never dictate how you love someone. Life can be startling short.
Oh, and don't forget poor Jasper. He's very much the scoundrel. He's left broken hearts everywhere and his past in a gang is coming back to haunt him. However, Jasper is a true gentleman and I loved him. It's so hard to pick favorites with so many wonderful characters but Jasper is pretty darn amazing. Which is shown by the type of women he picks. (No one should complain about Finley's taste in men anymore.) I was fascinated by his exes and one in particular I hope to see in future installments.
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar does nothing to expand on the The Machinist. However, I enjoyed the peek into New York and really enjoyed how much this entry expanded the world of the Steampunk Chronicles. Now that the bulk of the character introductions and world building were handled in the first book, this book just felt effortless. There are also some heavy consequences that will affect the characters. I'm very excited to see what the next installment brings!
Sexual Content: Some mild adult themes mentioned. Kissing.