Steampunk Chronicles, book 2
Reviewed by Tehani Wessely
I discovered this series by chance, attracted by the gorgeous cover of the first book, The Girl in the Steel Corset, on the shelves of my local variety store. I picked it up on a whim, and absolutely loved it, so was delighted to be able to get a review copy of this, the second book, from NetGalley.
Finley Jayne has experienced a lot of life in her sixteen years. She’s not what you would call “normal”, but is working towards living her life as a whole person – rather than a conflicted creature not even she trusts – with the help of her “straynge band of mysfit” friends, including noble Griffin, super smart and sweet Emily, and strong and surly Sam. When the misadventures of their new friend Jasper take them to America, Finley and her troupe take on a new adversary, all the while still learning about their own abilities, figuring out how their friendships work, and discovering who can truly be trusted.
Cross has written a solid follow up to The Girl in the Steel Corset, managing to sustain character growth alongside a new setting and fresh mystery to solve. I do enjoy reading characters such as Emily and Finley, who both have realistic concerns about their own abilities and place in the world, while still being clever and strong in their own ways. The titular character of Mei, new to the series, adds another dimension of kick-butt females, as does “Wildcat”, who I really hope continues to have a role in later books!
The Steampunk Chronicles are a lot of fun to read. If you like Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, you should take a look at this series too. While it is aimed at a young adult audience, it has the same elements which make Carriger’s books so enjoyable – charismatic characters, engaging plot, and unusual supernatural elements, all contained within the gaslamp fantasy world.