Tag Archives: Steampunk Chronicles

The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

Overview

The Girl with the Windup HeartTitle: The Girl with the Windup Heart
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #4
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: SteampunkStrong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Em likes to read, and she likes it when we can talk about a story.

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Synopsis

In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin.

London’s underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadverently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End’s most dazzling circus.

Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks, The Machinist will claim control of the Aether, and no one in either world will be safe.

To defeat The Machinist for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.

Thoughts

Although I loved this story, I did find it a little disappointing after all of the fantastic tales in this series. It almost felt like a rushed ending for the sake of writing the ending, with two very different storylines not quite intertwined. That’s not to say that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy and love this book, it was just quite a departure from the first three novels that I was a bit… confused.

Mila’s story is continued after her “birth” in The Girl with the Iron Touch. I really loved this character development, although she starts as an automaton, there is this beautiful, emotional creature that is created. The fact that she is the most innocent and vulnerable of the girls (yet, weirdly the most difficult to harm) just helps to further my love for this character. Her relationship with Jack (my favourite literary bad boy) also develops and the way that they are all forced to renegotiate their ties is quite enjoyable. Even Finley, who has chosen her man, has to figure out what Jack means to her and the best way to move forward with the new social dynamics.

The other storyline follows Griffin’s final battle with The Machinist – see what I mean about disjointed? Mila and Jack’s journey don’t really mesh overly well with Griffin’s battle. They just happen to be coinciding with each other. However, I liked the fact that this short series culminated in an epic battle between good and evil. It’s fairly typical and a reasonably common type of battle (dead parents and ancestors help, sacrifice everything in the name of love, etc.). But, the steampunk twist and the indication that all of the characters have their happily ever after, well, there is a reason why it is such a common theme…

 <- The Wild Adventure of Jasper Renn Review The Strange Case of Finley Jayne Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Wild Adventure of Jasper Renn by Kady Cross

Overview

The Wild Adventure of Jasper RennTitle: The Wild Adventure of Jasper Renn
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #3.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: SteampunkStrong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: “He surely would, but you wouldn’t deserve to hang for doing the world a favor.”

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Synopsis

In this companion novella to The Girl with the Iron Touch, American cowboy Jasper Renn finds himself in a situation his lightning-fast skills cannot rescue him from…

After surviving a triumph-turned-tragedy in New York City, Jasper is determined to secure a happier future with his gifted band of friends. So when the group’s mechanical genius Emily is abducted, he’ll plunge into England’s darkest places to rescue her…

But his old flame Wildcat is turning London twon upside down to find her missing sister, and Jasper finds the attraction between himself and the fierce beauty as tempting and dangerous as ever. Their trail leads deep into the city’s most unusual circus. Soon, Jasper will find his loyalties – and future – tested more than he could ever imagine…

Thoughts

I kind of love the idea of an American cowboy in steampunk England. It gives the storyline a little more flavour, but mostly I think that the idea of Jasper just sounds kind of cute. He’s sweet, a bit of a charmer, and I can imagine his swagger as he waltzes around with a cowboy hat on. It helps that Cross’ vivid descriptions create a world where it is easy to imagine Renn running around the streets of London (literally).

When Cat makes another appearance in The Girl with the Iron Touch, I was admittedly excited. I love when my favourite characters find themselves a perfect significant other. And Cat seemed kind of perfect for Jasper, plus a fairly enthralling character that I want to discover more about. Having a novella that actually investigates this woman (and her relationship with Jasper) further, just completely made my day.

 <- The Girl with the Iron Touch Review The Girl with the Windup Heart Review ->
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The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

Overview

The Girl with the Iron TouchTitle: The Girl with the Iron Touch
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: SteampunkStrong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Regardless, she most certainly cannot look after herself.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken.

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What’s left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons – or forfeit her friends’ lives.

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist’s ultimate creation – an automaton more human than machine. And if she’s to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn’t know she has…

Thoughts

The more I read of this series, the more I love it, and the harder I find to put it down. Emily, Finley and the rest of the gang journey onwards in their battle to find their place in the world and seek justice. Yet, The Machinist’s legacy still haunts them, and it forces Emily to face up to her inner terrors and strengths. Some of Emily’s past has been alluded to in the preceding books, but it’s not until The Girl with the Iron Touch that it truly comes to light. Along with her immense capacity for love and strength.

Not only is there a lot of personal growth in the characters throughout this series, but there’s also great relationship developments. Emily and Sam have a great connection, but the depth of their love for one another isn’t really explored until this novel – it divulges far more of their thoughts and dedication. Finley and Griffin too find a way to progress in their relationship, even though there are still secrets and many layers of confusion between the two of them. There are even hints of a future love interest for Jasper in the presence of the Wildcat. It’s a little bit of a cliché, but also kind of nice that it seems as though each of the main characters have paired up. Or are about to…

Mixing a vivid, beautiful world with the battle of good versus evil, the supernatural talents of the characters and the technology of steampunk all jumps off the page. It not only makes it impossible to put down this story, but it helps to make an already thoroughly enjoyable storyline all the better. After all, it’s not everyday that you find a story that has great fashion, great characters, great settings and a great storyline.

 <- The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy Review The Wild Adventure of Jasper Renn Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy by Kady Cross

Overview

The Dark Discovery of Jack DandyTitle: The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #2.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: SteampunkStrong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Jack tossed the packet of bills at him.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Before he makes his appearance in The Girl with the Iron Touch, Jack Dandy had an adventure of his own. Learn how his actions set the plot in motion in The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy, a short teaser story from author Kady Cross’s Steampunk Chronicles.

Jack Dandy didn’t become prince of the London underworld at barely twenty-one by being softhearted, even if a certain girl in a steel corset has wormed her way into his affections of late. He knows how to manipulate, charm and rob people blind. And if his criminal activities embarrass his aristocratic father, so much the better.

So, when a friend of Jack’s father hires him for an underhanded job, Jack is happy to oblige – for an outrageous fee, of course. Delivering a mysterious crate seems like an easy task – until Jack realizes just what is inside…

Thoughts

Jack Dandy fascinates me. He is the stereotypical ‘bad guy’, wearing black, acting charming, but running a cut throat (literally) business. Yet, there is obviously some kind of relationship with Finley throughout the rest of the Steampunk Chronicles books. Reading a novella that not only thinks about this relationship from Jack’s point of view, but also opens up the storyline for the next novel was incredibly enjoyable.

Jack’s heritage and history are finally brought to light in this great novella. Even the reasons for his almost courtship of Finley, and his work with the criminal underworld are shown. His petty attempt at revenge and strike back at the class system of 1800’s England help to further create a multi-dimensional image of this complex character.

I really enjoyed not only the short journey that Jack goes on throughout this story, but how Cross is able to build up on one of her secondary characters throughout it. Now I just can’t wait to delve into The Girl with the Iron Touch.

 <- The Girl in the Clockwork Collar Review The Girl with the Iron Touch Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

Overview

The Girl in the Clockwork CollarTitle: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: SteampunkStrong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: When they’d first stolen the thing, Daltonhad been as excited as a kid let loose in a sweetshop.

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Synopsis

In 1897, New York City, life has never been more thrilling or dangerous. What happens when someone you love becomes a weapon to use against you…

Thoughts

I loved the contrast between the setting of this and The Girl in the Steel Corset. New York and England, both set in the 1800s, and filled with the beautiful imagery of the steampunk world. Finley’s ability to navigate this world is put to the test as not only her relationship with Griffin changes and evolves, but she struggles to understand more of Jasper’s convoluted history.

The past is something that we can never run from. Not only does it shape us, but it also haunts us in the worst possible moments. Jasper is forced to face up to this as the gang of misfits struggle to free him and clear his name. Yet, it is the woman who he loves that holds the key to his past (and possible future) more than anyone else. The girl who wears the clockwork collar is beguiling and somehow slightly off throughout this entire tale – most of the story, I thought that it was just because I prefer Finley and Emily, but, towards the end, I discovered that it was something more. There isn’t just Jasper’s continuous feeling of guilt, but that lingering feeling that things aren’t quite right definitely held true. You’ll just have to find out how by reading this amazing story yourself!

The stakes are slowly raised for Griffin as well. Not just in admitting what his feelings for Finley are, but also in understanding his own strengths, and weaknesses. In a time where men are supposed to be the protectors, his physical in capabilities constantly haunt him. But, it’s his ability to control the raw power of the aether which makes him such a potent enemy. Something that comes in handy towards the finale. And something that might be incredibly important in future stories, as it seems the Machinist isn’t quite finished with them…

 <- The Girl in the Steel Corset Review The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Overview

The Girl in the Steel CorsetTitle: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: SteampunkStrong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: He smiled ever so slightly.

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Synopsis

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.

Thoughts

This was my first ever steampunk novel. I decided to find one for the Popsugar reading challenge, and I’m so glad that I did. My life (and my personal library) have been changed forever. I’ve always had an interest and love for the steampunk subculture, but it’s always just been a passing interest. Now that I’ve read this book, it’s more than a passing interest, it may grow into a full blown obsession to be quite frank. The mentions of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Journey to the Centre of the earth have also further increased my To Be Read pile.

Cross’ characterisation throughout The Girl in the Steel Corset was fantastic. The characters were real, multi-dimensional and fascinating. Each ‘misfit’ has some amazing powers. But these are tempered by their personal flaws, insecurities and problems. It isn’t about a series of characters that are perfect and we’d all aspire to be, they are young adults that are trying to find their way in life, and just happen to have some incredible powers instead. Which was then further supported by a great style and technique of writing. It was humourous, enjoyable and accessible. Yet, there was a sense of purpose and seriousness that helped to draw you into their battle. It made the book almost impossible to put down and an absolute pleasure to sink my literary teeth into.

Most stories have a good love interest. After all, it tends to raise the stakes and cause extra conflict for the characters – both internal and external. And creating a love triangle just helps to heighten this experience. The fact that Cross includes two fantastic triangles that both explore two sides of each woman certainly helps to build that suspense. The competition throughout is fierce, and although there seems to be a little equilibrium reached towards the end of the story, the incredible open-ended conclusion shows that there’s still a few battles to fight. Both inside and out.

 <- The Strange Case of Finley Jayne Review The Girl in the Clockwork Collar Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Overview

The Strange Case of Finley JayneTitle: The Strange Case of Finley Jayne
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: SteampunkStrong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Their destination was a small shop with a bright blue awning and sign that read Chocolatier.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

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.

Thoughts

This was a great way to start the Steampunk Chronicles series. It introduces Finley, her strange affliction and her strong sense of loyalty. It’s also how she got the job that started her journey into the band of misfits. It also highlights her sense of loss and confusion in the world. How she doesn’t quite fit, and that although she is loved, she doesn’t really belong anywhere. Even when she saves the day and creates strong relationships with her employers, she still leaves to start anew.

Another really fun aspect about Finley’s journey and her personality is the way in which she rubs up against the class system. Although it is not overt, throughout she is cynical and mocking towards those of a higher class. It is obvious that some of her mother’s mentality has rubbed off on her. And although Finley tries to be a “good” girl, she is unable to keep the feelings of rebellion out of her thoughts and actions.

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne may have been a great introduction to Finley, but it also had a great villain. A steampunk villain who married obsession with technology and had the skin crawling on my arms as he tried to unfold his nefarious plans.

<- The Girl with the Windup Heart Review The Girl in the Steel Corset Review ->
Image source: Goodreads