Steampunk Chronicles #2
by Kady Cross
Published on May 22, 2012 by Harlequin TEEN
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Steampunk, Young Adult
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In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal 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 follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship.
More than ever, Finley must 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.
Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much...
As today is about a year since this book’s publication date, I thought it would be a fitting time to post my review. As it was with the first book, this one left me with mixed feelings. While the characters I loved (and hated) were around once again, some of their choices or lack thereof made me want to throw the book across the room. At the same time, I loved the integration of a new setting and new science-y components into the steampunk world Cross created. The Girl in the Clockwork Collar was definitely a shorter read than The Girl in the Steel Corset but still just as entertaining.
What I liked about this book was that it was probably the first steampunk novel I’ve read NOT set in Europe. That’s right, folks, Finley and the gang are going to America. Granted, they don’t leave New York but it’s better than nothing. The new setting and introduction of new characters such as Mr. Tesla (yes, as in the scientist) and Mei and Dalton, both from Jasper’s past, allowed the series to continue without getting dried up. It was nice to learn more about Jasper’s past, as the whole point of the gang going to America was to get their friend back. But while the story itself was good, there was just something missing from it all….oh right, now I remember.
Where is Jack Dandy?! I love Finley’s character to death but I needed another dose of Jack. Griffin’s alright, and part of me likes him (he has the whole chill attitude while still coming off as several years older than he actually is) but his whole borderline-martyr deal just isn’t the same as the thief lord I came to love in The Girl in the Steel Corset (and Griffin whined…a lot, about not being able to protect everyone, etc. which did get annoying at times). I personally felt like he would have made this book better, but I may be a tad biased in what regard. Yes, Cross gave us Dalton as the main bad boy but he doesn’t call Finley “Treasure.” Just not the same.
The rest of the cast was as good as they were in the first book, but I would’ve loved to slap Sam and Griffin upside the head. I know it was more of the whole “boys are dense” thing going on but these two guys each have girls interested in them (blatantly obvious) and yet they do NOTHING. Like, at least Jasper was doing better than that and he was being held captive (although I hated Mei from the start–she just felt like she was bad and Finley didn’t like her either, and I trust her judgement). Jasper has the polite cowboy going for him, making him a really likeable character who just wanted to do the right thing, in his mind. I just wish that the story hadn’t been wrapped around the romances so much. It wasn’t the entire focus but it came up often enough and nothing happened, similar to the last book, yet they all paired off. Yet another frustrating read when it came to the romance.
Now, in this book I found the same set-up for the villains as I did the last book–I figured it out way too early, or at least made (proven correct) assumptions. I hated that I wasn’t really left in suspense during some of the plot twists of the book because they’d been all but said already. Perhaps that’s a sign of good writing but I wasn’t surprised like I hoped to be. Nevertheless, it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. Like the first in the series, it’s a great steampunk read with likeable characters (and Jack Dandy, can’t forget him). This book was a tad more violent but otherwise is fine for all ages. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.