Release Date: May 24, 2011
Genre: Paranormal, Steampunk, Historical (Victorian England)
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook
My Shelf: Want to Buy
In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. No normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special . . . that she's one of "them."
I have to say, this is one book in which I am sad the bad guy was not victorious. He had a pretty wicked plan, in my opinion. He was determined to take over England, and how was he going to do that? By creating a cyborg Queen. That’s right. He wanted to create a cyborg/machine Queen Victoria. That’s a brilliant evil master plan, no? Just think, if he had succeeded, this could have been the current face of deception:
That’s right. I know who (or what) you really are.
Of course, with me being me, I could not help but ponder over mundane things concerning this cyborg Queen. For instance, would she (it?) still be able to have her afternoon English teatime, or would her cyborg parts rust and combust? I think this is a very pressing question, and I am sad to see that it will not be answered. [sigh] Well, here’s to hoping the bad guy is successful in the next book. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get to the actual review and leave cyborg Queens behind, shall we?
Like many, the thing that drew me to this book initially was the cover. (It is a mighty fine cover!) To be honest, I am actually surprised at how much I liked this book. I am not a very big fan of sci-fi and books relating to machinery and/or technology, so I automatically assumed I would not care for the steampunk genre, either. However, between this book and The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, I am quickly becoming a fan.
This book is long (~500 pages), but it is definitely worth finishing. I was intrigued with Finley’s character from the start, and her Jekyll and Hyde type of personality really drew me in. Everyone has a darker nature to them, and I like how Cross actually draws out Finley’s and personifies it. It made for both an interesting storyline and character. Finley is no pushover, either. She can fight to protect herself, and she is also not hesitant to stand up to men, which are things I appreciated since they are unique characteristics in a Victorian woman. Griffin, being the rich noble he is, uses his wealth to advance his technology and way of life. He is devious without fault, and I found myself slowly warming up to him as the story progressed. There is also Jack, who is somewhat of an ambiguous character. Even at the end, I was unsure whether he is one of the ‘good guys’ or not. Both he and Griffin vie for Finley’s attention, and I have to say that I am leaning towards Jack. Nothing against Griffin, though; I just happen to like ambiguous boys. Emily, a friend of Griffin’s, is so ridiculously smart it is almost bizarre. She holds a wealth of knowledge in the field of medicine and technology, and I cannot help but wonder where she learned it all. The one character I did not care for was Tom. He annoyed me consistently. He has a deeply ingrained sense of what is right/wrong and good/evil, but it is very faulty. He came across as judgmental more than anything. His way of thinking was irksome and he does not contribute much to the story, which was probably why I dislike him. Overall, the characters were good, but I wish we could have learned more about them. Hopefully we will in the next book, and I will reserve my opinion until then.
My only critique for this book is I wish we could have gotten more of a feel for the times. The technology, medicine, and machinery were advanced and abundant in the novel, which detracted from really getting immersed in the Victorian era. Things such as the use of electricity and other modern conveniences were used frequently throughout the book and are not synonymous with that time. I often forgot that the setting was late 1800s in England and not the twenty first century. To be fair, I have not read many steampunk novels, so I am no expert, but I expected there to be a few more Victorian England details present.
I thought this was a very entertaining read and would definitely recommend it! The book was well written and detailed, there was an awesome villain (who should be victorious in the sequel!), and the plot was well crafted and piqued my interest. I cannot wait to see what happens next in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, due out May 22, 2012. (*crosses fingers* Please let there be a cyborg Queen, please let there be a cyborg Queen!)