I wasn't sure I would like this book. But if you recall, I did read The Strange Case of Finley Jayne recently and thoroughly enjoyed it, so of course I HAD to read The Girl in the Steel Corset.
And I was not disappointed.
This books was rollicking- yes, rollicking, and bloody good fun. I loved the setting, not only because I'm a former Londoner but because Kady Cross' mix of history and fantasy was done so bloody well (they say 'bloody' a lot in this book).
This is a Steampunk novel, which means it's in a sort of Jules Verne-esque Victorian world with a few scientific adjustments. You know, they have flying machines based on steam technology and robots which use some sort of ore from the center of the Earth.
Yes, there are characters (most of whom are now dead) who went to the center of the Earth. I know. That's too awesome for words.
Oh, and the characters! I love them! Of course, Finley Jayne is still a kick ass girl, Victorian Wonder Woman Extraordinaire, so it's impossible not to like her. You might think, "but, if she's SO kick ass, wouldn't that make her a one dimensional character?" but you would be WRONG. Horribly wrong. Finley actually has two selves, one who is a nice but strong young woman, the other which can rip off the arm of an automaton and beat it to death with it.
We are introduced to a whole new set of characters as well. There is the Duke, Griffin, who is very busy carrying out fascinating experiments; his friends- Emily the Mechanical Genius, Sam the Freakishly Strong, Jasper the Super Fast Cowboy, and his telepathic aunt. Griffin also has interesting abilities as well.
There are also nefarious characters. We've got the notorious Machinist who is running around making robot attacks, Felix the Jerkwad who tries to seduce Finley only to get punched in the face, and Jack Dandy, the cockney crimelord with sex appeal.
The cast of characters even includes Queen Victoria!
In some ways this book reminded me of the TV show Heroes. All these people have special mutant abilities and are trying to make a difference in the world. Since I loved the ever-loving crap out of that show, it was really no wonder that I loved this book.
If you aren't yet convinced that you must read this book pronto, I would also like to add that there are fantastic fight scenes, really fascinating Victorian science (they use the Aether! I think Einstein disproved that, but since this is pre-Einstein, it works), love triangles, spectacular conspiracies, and croissants. You just can't go wrong there.
So try it out. See how much you like it.