CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 34 . . . . May 4, 2012
In this exciting follow-up to the first installment of "The Steampunk Chronicles", The Girl in the Steel Corset, 16-year-old Finley Jayne finds herself aboard an airship on its way to the United States. Her friend and leader Griffin, Duke of Greythorne, is determined to help their American friend Jasper, who, at the end of book one, was arrested for the murder of a man back in the United States. Seeking to clear Jasper's name, these four young men and women with special powers and talents arrive in the United States and set straight to work on locating the man.
Griffin and his crew soon discover that Jasper is being held captive by a notorious crime boss, Reno Dalton, who is using him to locate a piece of technology with horribly destructive power. What Finley and her friends must discover is why Jasper is helping Dalton-is it because Jasper's gone back to a life of crime, or is Dalton blackmailing him? Who is Mei, the girl in the clockwork collar, and what power does she hold over Jasper? Complicating matters is Finley's strange fascination with Dalton. Although Finley has been working on uniting the darker and lighter sides of her personality, the chance to infiltrate Dalton's gang and gain his trust to save Jasper is too much to ignore. Finley can't help herself and ultimately ignores Griffin's commands to steer clear of the crime boss, putting herself and her friends in danger.
Picking up from where the first book left off, Kady Cross has written an excellent and just-as-exciting follow-up to her first novel in "The Steampunk Chronicles" series. The lush and detailed setting in steam punk Victorian England was what made the first novel so engrossing, and the United States setting of the second book is just as good. Cross' inclusion of intricate details-from wardrobe to decoration to technology-makes her steampunk world come alive, and readers' imaginations will soar in the hustle and bustle of New York City at the turn of the 20th century. From the lavish parties of the upper class to the gritty and grime-filled streets ruled by New York's seedy gangs, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar provides just as much action, intrigue, and romance to keep fans reading.
While reading the first book in the series would help readers understand the background context for Griffin and Finley's continuing relationship struggles and for Finley's struggles with her identity, Cross does an excellent job of setting up the plot lines. Reading the first book in the series is recommended but not completely necessary. Older teen readers and adults alike will be clamouring for the next instalment in the series. As with The Girl in the Steel Corset, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is also a solid teen/adult crossover and would be an excellent addition to public libraries whose teen collections are frequented by adult browsers. In general, this would be a solid series to add to young adult collections that need some fun and entertaining additions to the collection for older teen readers.
Amy Dawley is the teen librarian at the Prince George Public Library in Prince George, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.