After being being fired from each of her previous jobs, sixteen- year old Finley Jane is determined to succeed at her current position as a maid for Lady Alyiss. But when Finley is cornered by her employer's vicious son, her dark side once again breaks free, leaving the young lord nearly dead. Frightened of the consequences she would face, Finley flees from the mansion, right into the path of a speeding carriage.
Luckily for Finley the carriage that hits her belongs to Griffin King, one of the few people who understands what it’s like to be different and who may actually be able to help her. Griffin and his friends each have unique abilities which are somehow linked to a special matter that was discovered by Griffin’s parents, in the center of the Earth.
Griffin feels an immediate connection to Finley and seeing her desperate situation, he invites her to his manor where he and his friends reside. But Griffin doesn’t realize the extent of the darkness that lurks within Finley and his friends are weary of this dangerous stranger suddenly among them.
Meanwhile a criminal mastermind is using automations to commit crimes and Griffin and his friends are determined to stop him, especially since he seems to know some of the secrets that Griffin’s group have been so careful to hide.
The Girl is the Steel Corset should have been a really good book. The story-line was interesting and there were a lot of intriguing possibilities, but after the strong beginning it pretty much loses momentum and just drags along. It’s hard for me to really pinpoint what went wrong here but I think I would say a lot of it had to do with the characters, who should have been really interesting but instead were underdeveloped and bland.
At the center of the story is Finley, a young woman who has begin to experience some frightening changes that she is unable to understand. There is a darkness building inside of her that at times completely takes over, leaving Finley helpless within her own body. This darker side of Finley is stronger and wilder then Finley herself and it tends to leave behind her a trail of carnage that Finley is unable to explain. The revelations made about Finley were probably my favorite parts of the story and I would have liked this story-line to have been explored in more depth, but unfortunately it got overshadowed by the romantic plotline.
Each of Griffin’s other friends also struggle with inner conflicts which I couldn’t bring myself to care about and at times just irritated me. And once again, the romantic entanglements seemed to get in the way of the story telling.
The only character in the book that I really enjoyed reading about was Jack Dandy the dangerous crime boss of Whitechapel, who Finley’s darker personality is drawn to. But even Jack was disappointing in how tame he was, not doing anything in the story to actually earn his fearful reputation.
If the characters been more alive and complex the whole story would have been a whole lot richer, but it still wouldn’t have fixed all it’s faults. There were some details of the story that never really made sense to me, like why Finley was desperate for a job when she had parents that were alive and well, and why they were not aware of the struggle she was going through. There was too much about her situation that seemed manufactured just to put Finley in the right place and time for other events to occur. There were also a lot of gadgets that kept popping up for no reason other than to make the book more “steampunk,” which wasn’t necessary considering that the plot revolved around killer automations.
While I did appreciate some of the creative ideas incorporated into The Girl in the Steel Corset, none of them were developed to my satisfaction and when I finished the book it was with some relief.