Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Series in Review: The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross

Series are a tricky thing. I have series that I love as a whole, but an individual book within the series did not impress me.  So I am not always sure that reviewing the individual books is fair to the author's vision. However, I do not want to postpone all of my reviews of the books within a series until the end. With those thoughts in mind I decided to start Series In Review. In these postings, I will be looking at more than one book in the series or if possible the entire series at one time.
**This review may contain spoilers for some of the books in the series**

I was not sure if I should put this down as a Series in Review, but I read the prequel as well as the recently released book and I found that my opinion of both were affected by the fact that I had read the other.
The Strange Case of Finley JayneThe Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles)
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Science Fiction
Books Released in Series: The Strange Case of Finley Jayne and The Girl in the Steel Corset
Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 3 Stars
Downloaded The Strange Case of Finley Jayne from Amazon and The Girl in the Steel Corset picked up in Paperbackswap games.

In A Nutshell:
I read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde earlier this year, so I was excited when I learned about  The Strange Case of Finley Jayne and eagerly awaited the release of The Girl with the Steel Corset. I would love to say that the wait and the anticipation were worth it, but after finishing both books, I was underwhelmed and even a little frustrated.

My first frustration with the series is that the prequel, The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, seemed irrelevant. Finley Jayne was in the exact same position in the beginning of the prequel as she was in the beginning of The Girl with the Steel Corset--leaving a recent employment after one of the males in the household made unwanted advances to her. Did the people she worked with in the prequel do nothing to help her find employment after she successfully assisted them? And if we (the readers) were going to learn many of the same things about Finley, her situation, and the reasons she has so much trouble keeping employment in the first few chapters of The Girl with the Steel Corset, why have the prequel at all?

My second frustration with the story was that I found most of the characters flat and I did not think they developed much over the course of the story. Emily was the smart one who is physically weak. Sam was the strong one who is easily duped. Griffin is the rich one who everyone looks to for leadership. I saw those characteristics fairly strongly upon first meeting these characters--and very little about my impressions of them changed at the very end of the story.

As the story progressed I expected to see remarkable changes in Finley Jayne considering that she was supposedly integrating her two opposite personality halves into a cohesive whole. Shouldn’t a transformation like that have made a marked change in her personality and character development? But other than a few comments that Finley thought to herself that indicated she was gaining control over her darker half, I did not see that her personality, her conduct, or her character had changed that much after Griffin and she had worked on integrating her two separate halves.

I did love some of the steampunk elements of the story. I love imagining Victorian England with steam-powered vehicles and robots. I cannot even imagine what the world would be like today if they had really made those advances then?

I will probably read the next book in the series when it comes out, but I do not think I will rush out to get it immediately.  However, since my favorite parts of this series were the Steampunk elements, I would recommend another Steampunk series (note: these books are not young adult!):
Steam & SorceryPhotographs & Phantoms
And if you are looking for more books about split personality, I recommend the classic.  I loved it!
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


  1. This seems like a very fair review. Nicely done.

    PS Stop over at my blog and say hi.