Synopsis: (From Goodreads) 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 full-grown 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.
Review: I haven’t read steampunk before- and to be honest I am still not exactly sure what it is- but I must say I do love it! The Girl in the Steel Corset is a superhero tale with fiesty Finley Jane, calm and in control Griffin, burly Sam and timid and intelligent Emily.
The tale starts off by introducing us to sixteen year old Finley Jayne who has darkness inside her that she cannot control. When her employer’s son, young Lord Felix August-Raynes makes unwanted sexual advances towards her, this darkness comes to the surface and fights back. Now, homeless and jobless she comes under the spotlight of Griffin King, the Duke of Greythorne and his close friends Sam and Emily. It is not long before they realise that they all have something very unique in common- special abilities.
Finley Jayne is much like the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of the times and she needs the help of Griffin and co to merge her two personas to become a balanced whole. Only, trust is not something Finley is very comfortable with especially when her new friends are suspicious of her motives for working with Griffin. The four of them must put aside their differences to help save the queen from the nasty works of The Machinist. The Girl in the Steel Corset has plenty of action- punch ups, automaton attacks and plenty of superpower fun to keep you turning the pages.
I must admit, despite the first action scene between Finley and Felix the first third of the novel is a little slow to start, but once it got going I was hooked! I particularly enjoyed the developing romance between Finley and Griffin. Jack Dandy, the town criminal who has a soft side- put a nice spanner in the works too. Finley’s dark side is drawn to Jack while her calmer self is attracted to Griffin and her struggle to merge her two selves and figure out what she wants is definitely entertaining. The author tied off a lot of loose ends by the end of the novel but left enough undone to have me itching to read the sequel.
Overall, if you love superhero stories and characters with enough depth to match the action packed plot then The Girl in The Steel Corset definitely needs to be on your TBR shelf!