The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, Book 1)
Harlequin Teen (US: 24th May 2011; AU: 1st June 2011; UK: 17th June 2011)
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Cherie Priest and Scott Westerfeld revived steampunk a few years ago, and since then the subgenre has grown – particularly within the ranks of romance novelists. Kathryn Smith is known for her adult paranormal romances, but is rebranded as Kady Cross for her young adult debut: The Girl in the Steel Corset. The first in a series with continuing characters, romance begins here but is rather chaste.
I’m a bit sceptical of steampunk, as some of it just seems to be historical paranormal with fashion ripe for costume ideas. The title and cover of this book suggest the same, but the steel corset does indeed feature, though not with a red dress.
Finley Jayne may be the centrepiece of the story’s summary, but Emily O’Brien is far and beyond the most engaging character: She’s a mechanic, engineer, medic, and altogether awesome. Oh, and she makes that titular contraption. And she’s Irish. You can’t NOT like her – and I want that mechanised cat, damn it!
Sam Morgan originally struck my fancy, though, for his description in the summary as “part robot”. Kady Cross writes automatons so well that I dip my dirigible captain’s hat to her. And automatons play a major part in the external plot, thanks to The Machinist. Gotta love mad science!
Predictable but vastly enjoyable, this clockwork treasure should go down a treat.
P.S. The Organites totally remind me of the worms Futurama‘s Fry had in a particular episode 😉
P.P.S. My favourite quote: If the city of London was a body, Whitechapel would be the groin; a great unwashed area that only showed itself under the cover of darkness, and only for the most salacious of entertainments. No one of “proper” birth ever admitted to going there, but they all did at one time or another – or at least they wanted to. Slumming was very popular these days. Ha!