Kady Cross’ YA steampunk debut, The Girl in the Steel Corset, has already made fans out of skeptics of the genre. Of course, I already loved steampunk, and I enjoyed Cross’ novel. When I heard that there was a prequel out in the wide world, I made sure to acquire a copy. And you know what’s rather wonderful? You can download a free e-book copy of The Strange Case of Finley Jayne for yourself (Amazon + B&N)!
Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined…
This novella serves mainly as an introduction to Finley Jayne, the heroine of The Girl in the Steel Corset, but it functions quite well as a brief adventure also. As the summary states, Finley’s job is as a companion to Phoebe, but as she goes she learns about some truly astonishing and dangerous things. And I think that’s all you really need to know about the plot of a novella to start with, anyway. What remains? To say whether I thought it was any good, of course!
What this prequel did well: establish Finley Jayne’s likability factor and hook the reader with an exciting opening scene. What this prequel failed to do: set up a real sense of suspense or mystery, be unpredictable, or teach me anything new. Unfortunately, a promising premise came to slightly less than nothing. In good news: the novel is better (and if you have any doubts, you can always go read it for free yourself)!
As a consolation prize, check out this funny quote from page 47:
“She felt like a great eggplant atop the chestnut mare, despite Phoebe’s assurances that she looked ‘smashing.’ If that wasn’t bad enough, many of the young men she had danced with at the engagement party tipped their hats and said hello to her as they rode past in their modern vehicles, calling even more attention to her eggplantishness.”
AND…in other news…
The winners of my steampink giveaway have been selected. Please join me in congratulating:
Marlene Breakfield and Lauren G!
Each of these lucky ladies will win a YA steampunk book of their choice from my original list. If you didn’t win this time around, please check out my current giveaway for Julie Halpern’s latest release Don’t Stop Now. Have a lovely week!