Author: Kady Cross
Publication: Harlequin; Original edition (May 24, 2011)
Description: In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this young adult steampunk debut novel. I thought Finley was an interesting character. I liked that she was strong and independent. But I also liked that she was a bit uncertain and looking for a place to belong. She was definitely conflicted between being the nice girl and the monster. She was afraid of her other self - the one who was strong and violent.
Griff King, Duke of Greythorne, has some unusual abilities of his own. He has gathered a group of friends who are also unusual and wants to add Finley to the group. Griff was a nice guy who combined arrogance and a sense of entitlement (he is a duke, after all!) with a sense of caring. He likes Finley for herself but she isn't really in his social class.
This book spent a lot of time introducing and establishing the cast of characters. We got a chance to learn a lot of their back stories and motivations. We learn about Sam Morgan - Griff's best friend who is very strong and part mechanical; Emily O'Brien - who is a mechanical genius; Jasper Renn - who is a cowboy with a gift for moving very quickly; Jack Dandy - who is a crime lord with a cockney accent and an aristocratic education.
We also learn about Finley and Griff's shared past. There parents where colleagues who were instrumental in the discovery of an ore that provides power to the technology of the day and also the "organites" that are responsible for many of the things that set Griff and his gang apart from others. The "organites" are causing them to evolve as per Charles Darwin's theories. Queen Victoria had asked Griff's father to keep them secret because she feared the knowledge would disrupt society. But somehow they aren't as secret as she had hoped.
The Machinist is committing crimes using automatons. Griff and his friends need to find out who he is and what his goal is. They also need to find a way to stop him. The book was filled with marvelous inventions and situations. It did move a bit slowly at first because of all the introductory material to establish character.
But once the action began it was very exiting. I also liked the romances that were happening in the story. There were actually two different love triangles in this one. Emily - Sam - Jasper was one. Finley - Griff - Jack Dandy was the other. In all cases there were jealousies and uncertainties.
I would recommend this book for lovers of steampunk. I know that I will be looking forward to the sequels. The ending of this one set up the next volume nicely.
Right now, the girl was his first priority. An aura of danger clung to her like an oil slick. Unfortunately, he couldn't tell if she was in danger, or if she was danger.I received the eARC of this book for review from NetGalley. You can buy it at Amazon in hardcover for for your Kindle.
That was what he intended to find out.