The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Cross, Kady.  The Girl in the Steel Corset. Harlequin Teen.  2011. ISBN 0373210337

Reader’s Annotation: Finley is a 16-year-old girl living in 19th century England and just happens to be able to throw full-grown men across a room.  Griffin King sees something in her that makes him think she may be different just like he is and wants to convince her she’s not evil.

Plot Summary: When Finley hit puberty she began to show signs of greater than normal strength, healing abilities and of possessing a darker half to her personality that comes out when she is scared or angry.  She begins to wonder if she really is an evil person.  Griffin King is a duke who is all too familiar with strange powers and believes Finley may be like him and his friends.  Together they must work to find out who is using automatons to execute crimes and possibly be plotting against Queen Victoria.

Critical Evaluation

This being my first steampunk novel I can’t really compare it to other steampunk books but nevertheless I really enjoyed reading it.  The plot line of both the main story as well as the prequel that was included, The Strange Case of Finely Jayne, were predictable and you knew almost right off the bat what the villain was up to.  Still the journey to the climax was fun and the inclusions of automatons, some of the fears people have of machine gaining sentience and other mechanized methods of doing things that don’t exist even today made for a fascinating world.

The characters were an interesting mix.  Finley is a strong female heroine who can kick some butt and at least half of her isn’t afraid of doing so.  Emily was one of my favorites in that she’s a total geek fiddling around with machines, science labs, etc. but she is still self-confident and isn’t afraid of asserting her intelligence in the presence of mostly men.  The two men vying for Finley’s romantic attention were both appealing for different reasons but I am glad to say that the romantic aspect doesn’t completely rule the story.

About the author

Kady Cross is actually a pen name for the USA Today bestselling author Kathryn Smith.  Her second book in the Steampunk Chronicles, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, recently came out in June 2012.

Kathryn currently live in Connecticut with her husband and a number of cats.



Curriculum Ties


Book talking idea

Talk about actual historical automatons.

Talk about the different types of automatons available in this 19th century world.

Reading level

Ages 14 and up.

Challenge Issues


Why did I include this book?

Steampunk has definitely been picking up in popularity and this book as well as Gail Carriger’s series are often mentioned when I hear people talk about Steampunk.



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Filed under Fiction, Steampunk

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