I've recently discovered that the Steampunk genre is downright awesome. If you're not familiar with the genre, it's essentially a combination of artistic steam-powered mechanisms predominant in the British Victorian era. Just imagine girls in glamorous ballgowns and possibly robotic body parts. Intense, I know.
Summary: The story begins with Finley Jayne, the maid of a wealthy Lord, displaying her sheer physical strength. How's that for a punch? Automatically I loved the high-gear action and rapid pace! After being injured, she stumbles into Griffin, the wealthiest Duke in London who kindly allows her to take refuge in his home (more like a mansion.)However, the Duke and his acquaintances possess skills somewhat other-worldly. Griffin is able to communicate with the dead and grasp the delicate strings of the spirit world. Emily, a red-haired Irish teenager, is a brilliant mechanist who later acquires abilities to speak to with automatons and understand their mechanical needs. Sam is Griffin's best friend and is nothing shy of masculinity, despite hating himself for being half machine. Together, relationship dynamics simmer and bloom into a close-knit circle of friendship and mistrust. A conspirator dubbed The Machinist threatens to overthrow the British monarchy with the manipulation of "organites," a natural substance discovered by Griffin's grandfather to create flesh-wielding automatons.
Review: For a 477 page book, I wish that the author elaborated on the plot slightly more. I felt that the depth of the mystery was on a very basic and non-suspenseful level. Additionally, the story and characters didn't quite flow perfectly. The relationships and dialogue were somewhat choppy, and the personality of every character was very one-dimensional. Nonetheless, I loved the character of Finley Jayne. She was the epitome of strong and capable heroine who also wasn't afraid to embrace the Victorian culture mapped for women. The story was strong and colorfully detailed with intricate Steampunk styling, and glamorized the luxurious side of the Victorian Era. This was a book I flipped through quite quickly, and I wish it had left more of an impact on me! All in all, The Girl in the Steel Corset embodied a concept I thoroughly enjoyed. Kady Cross's steampunk world was colorful, vivid, and adventurous!