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Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin TEEN
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1 in the Steampunk Chronicles
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Chaste

Official Blurb:

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 fullgrown 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.

First things first, is that not an absolutely gorgeous cover?! I love it. I know, I know, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s get real, a lovely cover does tend to draw a reader’s attention at the start.

I think I came to two very different realizations in reading this book. First, I forgot how little patience I have for the rampant silliness of YA novels. Second, and probably most importantly, I’d forgotten just how much fun a good YA could be.

What worked for me:

  • I really enjoyed the overall premise. While at first I thought the origins (and presence) of the Organites was rather ridiculous, but when I willfully suspended my disbelief, I found these factors to be quite enjoyable.
  • I loved that Finley had a Jekyll/Hyde thing going on.
  • I adored Jack, and really wish his character had been fleshed out a bit more.
  • There were quite a few “inventions” that I had not seen before in Steampunk, which I found very enjoyable.  A machine that allowed the characters to text each other (for lack of a better description), motorcycles (steam powered, of course), and of course the Organites themselves, all added a lot of flavor to the story.
  • At the very beginning, I was a bit put off by the fact Griffin was an 18-year old Duke, possessing all of the money and power that any older Duke would have at his disposal.  As I continued to read, however, I greatly warmed up to the idea, especially when Griffin would have to actually remind himself that he was a powerful Duke despite his age.
  • I adored the clothing descriptions. While most Steampunk includes things like corsets and goggles and leather knickers, not many went to the same lengths as TGitSC did to make sure that you could accurately imagine the costuming.  This really added to the story for me because I loved the imagery, and found myself coveting the wardrobe.

What didn’t work for me:

  • There were several TSTL moments in this book, two of which that were actually perpetrated by males for a change. Gender bias aside, I literally wanted to smack some of the main characters on far too many occasions to go without mention.
  • Why oh why must so many YA novels have a pointless love triangle? Is it really necessary? TGitSC had not one but two love triangles, which to me was supremely annoying.
  • I felt like the world-building didn’t really live up to its potential. Steampunk is such an incredibly rich genre that allows for so many incredible descriptions and inventions and supernatural elements, and yet TGitSC rather haphazardly tossed in inventions and the supernatural almost at random whenever it seemed to advance the plot, rather than establishing some of these things up front.  Sudden “powers” by various characters and previously unmentioned technology kept pulling me out of the story, and it was difficult to get back “into” the writing when that happened.
  • While I did like the resolution with the main antagonist, I didn’t care for the very end. It was painfully obvious that it was a setup for the next novel, and lacked any sense of subtlety. I greatly dislike cliff-hangers, and feel that when setting up a story for a sequel, you should pique the reader’s interest in what comes next, and yet still leave the novel feeling finished. Dramatic developments in the last few pages are a huge turn-off to me.

I did love the main premise, and of course, I was completely enamored with both the “bad boy” love interest and the incredibly awesome attire (where can I get a steel corset?!).  While much of the story was more fanciful than I typically read, even in Steampunk and PNR, it was a very fast, fun read.

In the end though, while I certainly enjoyed it, but I wasn’t blown away.  The presence of the love triangles, the disorganized presentation of various powers and inventions, and immaturity of the main characters definitely detracted from what could’ve been an absolutely brilliant novel.

To be fair, the main characters were in their teens, and as such I can be a little more forgiving for immaturity and horrible decision making, but even so, I found it rather distracting.

3.5/5 Stars

As a bonus, don’t forget to check out the FREE prequel novella, The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, available May 1, 2011 from Harlequin TEEN.