(note: I received this title via NetGalley)
I absolutely loved Kady Cross’ first book in this series, The Girl in the Steel Corset and was extremely excited to get a copy of the sequel. I read a lot of YA, I read some steampunk, but I really love it when they’re mashed up together (see: Dearly, Beloved, which also does this well). It’s been my experience that steampunk + YA can be hit and miss. But, much to my surprise when I read The Girl in the Steel Corset, it was a definite hit. I was hoping that The Girl in the Clockwork Collar would be just as good and I was thrilled to find out that it was. One of the things that I really like about Cross is that all her female characters have depth (even if they’re not that deep to begin with), but even better — all four of the “main” women in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar were strong characters. Not just psychically, but mentally as well. They all kicked ass in their own ways — which is something rare in novels of any kind. Sure, they might need rescuing, but then so do the guys in the novel — in fact, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is all about a rescue mission — of a guy.
The story starts where the previous novel left off, with Finley and company on their way to America to rescue their cowboy friend. Even though I hadn’t picked up the previous book since I read it back in April of last year, Cross’ writing was so memorable that it only took me a few pages to remember how much I liked her characters. The story follows Finley, Griffin, Emily and Sam as they try to find Jasper and save him. But what makes this book so good is that the mission to save Jasper is only part of the story. What we also get is some really great character development. A running theme throughout both novels is that Finley isn’t quite sure of who she is and where she stands — Cross does a good job of getting Finley to a point where she’s almost comfortable in her own skin. Almost, that is, but not quite. For that, we’ll need another book (or several, I hope!).
I also liked the romantic relationship between Finley and Griffin. I know, we still probably have Jack to deal with, but he wasn’t too present (except in spirit) in the second book, and I like that. Mostly because I’m rooting for Griffin and Finley to find a way to be together.
Once again, Cross manages to weave the steampunk elements seamlessly into her story. It doesn’t feel like it’s just thrown in there for the sake of it. Instead, the steampunk elements seem vital to the story and without them, it just wouldn’t work. I can’t wait for the next book.
Recommend? Definitely — teens and adults. Fans of steampunk for sure, especially for people who like Westerfeld’s Leviathan series and liked the romantic aspect. There’s also a dash of historical fiction, and that might appeal to people. Also, if you read The Girl in the Steel Corset you definitely want to check this.