________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 34 . . . . May 4, 2012


The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. (The Steampunk Chronicles).

Kady Cross.
Don Mills, ON: Harlequin Teen, 2012.
408 pp., trade pbk., $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-373-21053-4.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Amy Dawley.

***½ /4

Reviewed from Advance Review Copy.



Finley stared at him, eyes wide, mouth wide. "Griffin-"

He cut her off. "I had to sit there-helpless-and watch as you took beating after beating tonight, and I couldn't show any emotion. I couldn't cheer when you won or show any fear when you got hurt. I couldn't do anything."

Bloody hell, he was not used to feeling helpless.

"You didn't need to do anything!" She threw her hands in the air. "The rest of us are capable people, Griffin. You're not the only one who can take charge of a situation."

She was right, but it was his crew and he felt responsible for them. He set the little brass owl-warm from his hands-on the polished top of the dresser. "Reno Dalton is not Jack Dandy, Finley. He'll kill you if he suspects you're playing him. Is that a risk you're willing to take?"

Finley nodded curtly. "If it will help Jasper."

"All right, then." He kept his opinions tucked inside. "If it's not too much trouble, I would like to hear the rest of your plan tomorrow morning when we're all together. That way, there will be no more surprises, and we'll all know our parts."

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.

Highly Recommended.

Amy Dawley is the teen librarian at the Prince George Public Library in Prince George, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.