(you can read my mental casting of the movie version of book 1 in the series, The Girl in the Steel Corset, here or my review of the prequel, The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, here )
Here is the summary from Amazon (click the link to order):
Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade—the dangerous device Jasper stole from him…for the life of the girl Jasper loves.
One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.
From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens with supernatural abilities is on Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship.
More than ever, Finley Jayne will rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley…and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Sam, more machine than man, finds his moody heart tested by Irish lass Emily—whose own special abilities are no match for the darkness she discovers on the streets.
Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley Jayne must infiltrate a criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much….
I love strong female characters, the ones that will go out kick some tail and come home looking sweet. And Finley doesn't disappoint. After she fights her way into a gang for intel (the gang holding Jasper hostage), she does her Finley thing and fights...but she learns more about herself (and about control) in the process. She starts to trust Griffin more, which ushers in a new phase of their relationship.
Finley also seems older and more mature than 16. I kept putting her age at around 18. I think its because she isn't flighty like most 16 year old girls.
As much as I love Finley though, I think I love Emily more. She proves that you don't have to be physically strong to be a strong person. She uses her wits. But she also cares deeply. Which, to me, gives her more depth.
I really like the steampunk genre as a whole, and this series especially. I think because its a mix of historical fiction and fantasy---that "what if"---that is so enjoyable. What if we had that technology? What if people had those abilities?
Overall, I really enjoyed the book, but there were some little things that I wasn't so fond of---I totally guessed from the start what Mei's role in the story was, and because of that, guessed what the ending was going to be. Now, I like proving myself right same as the next person, so for me, it didn't take away from the story, I just thought I would point out that it was a little predictable. There were times when I was a little lost with names/relationships and with scientific explanations of ether, etc. There were times when I felt the need to go back to previous chapters and reread because I thought that I had missed the description of someone (that came into play later), etc.
I feel the need to point out my duhhhh-ness and say that the cover threw me for a bit before I started reading. I thought the cover artist had decided to depict Finley as a Chinese girl. I thought to myself, "Am I the only one who notices this?" Then, about 2 chapters in, you realize that the girl in the clockwork collar is Mei, a Chinese girl.
All in all, it was a great book and I really enjoyed it. I can't wait for more adventures of Finley and crew!
Please note: I downloaded this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.