May 28, 2013
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(my review of The Girl in the Steel Corset #1 & The Girl in the Clockwork Collar #2 in the series -review contains some spoilers for TGitCC)
In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken
The group of Griffin, Finley, Sam, and Emily thought they'd ended things with their enemy the Machinist when they literally brought a house down on his head. Only, his body was never found in the rubble and now things are happening that seem to have the Machinist mark on them.
When one of their own is kidnapped, they can't ignore things any longer. Their archenemy must have somehow survived.
The rest of the group -- along with Jasper and perhaps even Jack -- will have to work together to come to the rescue and to end things with the Machinist once and for all.
The Girl with the Iron Touch is definitely a continuation of the series; it draws heavily on the relationships and story already established to begin the novel, without much recap. Anyone just picking up the series will miss out on a lot of who the characters are to each other -- a real strong point of the series -- as well as the backstory, plot wise.
All that means, however, is that if you haven't read the fist two novels yet, you definitely need to now.
The characters are more settled into their group - that became four in The Girl in the Steel Corset - and back in London after The Girl in the Clockwork Collar's expedition. So, they (and we readers) are able to have some great character and relationship developments while things are a touch more settled. In the calm before the storm.
Those just secondary characters from the first books, Jasper and Jack, that it's about impossible not to love at least a little, are both back this time. The balance achieved between really giving seven (yes, seven -- the last one's a splendid secret) characters each their own great part in the 'character'y part of the story while having a thought through plot that's been unfolding over more than just this one novel, is fantastic.
We aren't given just characters dealing with their feelings and where that will take them while the action stays stagnant nor does the plot run full steam ahead while the characters live in a state of flux.
While the Steampunk Chronicles should please lovers of character-centric and plot-cenric books, both. We're given a bit more insight into two characters in this novel. Two characters who you likely wouldn't think of having an overlapping story line, and yet they do. One that's pretty brilliant and hopefully continued as it brings out sides to each of them we didn't see prior.
This is an incredibly enjoyable, fast reading novel that will pull you in right from the start. Cross doesn't use a lot of flowery language or imagery to tell her story, instead relying on the characters and the action, which works. Aside from a few places where characters 'romancey' thoughts or statements feel almost, almost out of place, the entire story flows from start to finish.
(nb: There's quite a bit more of the plot in the publisher synopsis. I didn't include as much because it's not all 'right away' happenings and it's fun to find out as you read. If you like knowing more going in, however, check out Goodreads or the publisher's site.)
prior books/ebooks in the series:
and #2.5 The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy out July 1
thank you to Harlequin & NetGalley for my egalley of the title for review