I love a good steampunk novel. I love the mix of Victorian England and fantastic machinery. The first book in this steampunk series aimed at YA readers promised to be "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets teen X-Men". I don't really know much about either, so I can't judge. This book, however, left something to be desired.
Seventeen-year-old Finely Jayne is not your usual lady's maid. For once, she has superhuman strength; and this comes with a dark side that sometimes gets control of her whole body. When her boss tries to impose himself on her, she leaves him unconscious. Then she flees, and stumbles right in front of Griffin King's motorcycle. He is the Duke of Greythorne, and brings her home with him so she can recover.
There, Finley learns that he is the leader of a band of misfits composed by Sam (part robot), Emily (doctor-engineer with a talent for designing and repairing mechanical beings), and Jasper (cowboy from America). Griffin himself has special abilities of his own. The group is on the trail of The Machinist, a criminal who is bent on disrupting peace in England and might be the murderer of Griffin's parents. Finely must decide if she wants in - if she wants to learn to control her dark side with Griffin's help, or rather let it control her.
I enjoyed this novel, I really did. Still, I think the concept could have been developed a bit better. Much space is devoted to love triangles: Finley-Griffin-Jack, and Emily-Sam-Jasper. Jack Dandy serves very little purpose other than Finley's second love interest. I'm still wondering why he would talk with such a blatant Cockney accent if he was so evidently well-educated. Mysteries of steampunk. Griffin, on the other hand, is swoon-worthy and quite admirable. I'm team Griffin all the way. It is true, though, that Finley is a bit too quick to trust him.
As far as accents go, Emily's adding "lass" or similar every two words was more than slightly annoying. Other than that, she was a very good character. Too bad that she appears to be paired off with the village idiot. And yeah, Sam is totally too stupid to live. I wanted to bang my head in frustration against the wall as he met a mysterious stranger in a pub and began divulging secrets. What part of "do not reveal important information to total strangers" did he not understand? I get he needs to be the strong and dim-witted one, but that's a bit too much. No wonder he almost get himself killed at every drop of a hat, superhuman strength notwithstanding.
All in all, an okay book. I'd recommend it to fans of steampunk adventures. I hope the series gets better. The second book is coming out in the next few weeks. The gang is going to America, and this should make this at least a bit interesting.Cover attraction:
another variation on the "girl in a beautiful dress" theme, but so pretty. The red dress is stunning. And I love the steel corset making an appearance!