Release Date: June 2011 (Aus), May (US)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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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.
I'm reposting this since blogger still hasn't restored my post from their downtime the other day. I see most other blogs have, but this only returned to my drafts so I figure I may aswell repost. Sadly the delightful comments are gone :( Any new comments are very appreciated!
This was my first foray into the steampunk genre and I must say, I was quite fascination with all the technology. Okay, so I never really understand what the heck 'steampunk' meant. I just thought it sounded cool. Thanks to The Girl In the Steel Corset, I feel slightly less of a clueless idiot.
There's a Jekyll/Hyde drama happening within Finley Jayne. She has both a dark side and a good side - two entirely separate parts existing within her, both warring for dominance. Her darker side brings with it super strength and heightened senses, she's definitely not someone you want to mess with. Unless, of course, you like the idea of a broken neck. Throughout the novel we see as she struggles to gain some semblance of control over her dark side, which rears it's head when she feels threatened, fearful or else just manages to take over without her hardly realising. The novel opens right in the thick of things, having Finley's dark side emerge as she's forced to defend herself against the arrogant son of her employee. But when she comes to her senses and realises she very nearly killed him, she makes a run for it and collides directly in the path of Griffin King. An encounter which marks a whole new beginning for Finley.
Griffin's group of friends are a motley collection of characters, all with their own abilities and talents. Griffin, Duke of Greythorne, has an intriguing ability to tap into the Aether. Which really fascinated me, because I love all things that dwell on the spirit realm and auras and whatnot. But giving too much of himself to the Aether could have very dangerous consequences - I'm very curious to see this explored more in the sequel and how it will affect him. Then there's Sam, Emily and Jasper - I won't go into too much detail exploring their abilities, because I'd don't want to spoil people too much, but every character has their own inner demons and secrets to battle and it was interesting watching how the characters dealt with their problems. Since the book is written in multiple POV's, we gain a more rounded idea of what's happening with everyone.
I did have a couple of issues with the book. Firstly, while I enjoyed the novel as a whole, I did feel as though it could have been shortened quite a bit. It started off with action and intrigue and had me very interested, but as it progressed it did drag at times and I felt like certain sections could have been compressed to make it a more tighter, shorter book. The plot was a bit predictable, I guessed the villain the moment they were first introduced. I wasn't totally immersed in the light love triangle between Finley/Griffin/Jack. I mean, the characters were all well described and developed, I just didn't really feel the attraction and the chemistry there. And I think I'd find Jack much more bad-boy-sexy-with-a-caring-undertone if he'd stop using that Cockney accent! That's not a complaint against the book, it's just a pet peeve - even Finley comments on his butchering of the English language
On the whole, it was an enjoyable enough read. I loved discovering all the technology, the weirdly cool inventions that were brought into this world were fascinating. The "Organites" in particular. The characters were interesting and the 1800's setting with technology that could be of the future, but powered in totally different means to what we'd do nowadays was all very intriguing. I'm interested to see where the sequel takes us next.