am 3. April 2014
Spoiler Warning for the events of the first two books in the series! The books do cover each a finished story, but follow and contribute to an overall story arc. So especially the "Villain"- and relationship-themes will be spoiled if you read the books out of order. Since "The girl in the steel corsett" for me is the best of the books anyway, I recommend to start there.
In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken
When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives.
With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.
To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has…
I tried to find an alterantive synopsis-text, but gave up after searching the internet for nearly an hour. But then, the one and only given summary tells the content fairly well.
As always, parts of the story are told by Finley, the steel-corsett girl, in 3rd person POV. But for a large part, this is Emily's story as well, so she shares the POV - and there is another, rather peculiar, POV which I won't spoil.
As is said in the summary above, the mad Machinist is not dead, but using the automatons and machines to abduct Emily and try to make her give his brain a new body - very Frankenstein. Although I never really had a sense of immense danger [but then, it is rather YA] and was wondering more, how than if Emily would manage to escape or her friends rescue her, I was immersed in the story. The characters are all interesting enough to make me go on and on and on... reading. Actually, last night I got too little sleep because of the last few chapters, since I just had to know how it ended. And let me tell you, the end is very satisfyingly wrapped up. I was totally content with it - the good and the bleak, since some developments make for pretty cool premises for future installments.
Although I like the complete cast of characters, I do like Finley the most: a true kick-a**-heroine with a very outspoken dark and dangerous side, living in steampunkish Victorian Age London and being even less what is considered a typical woman as she would be today. When in the beginning of the series there was a question, if Jack Dandy wouldn't be a better man for her than the young Duke Griffin King, since he knew and understood her dark side and wasn't all that far away from Fin society-wise, I could live with that. In fact, it was one of the very few love-triangles, I understood and liked. But then, I liked the resolution of it even more.
And different than the inside of the book cover made me think, there is no canoodling between Fin and Jack - actually, there isn't the slightest hint at Fin doubting her feelings for Griffin or her beeing undecided. Since I prefer relationships to be strong and relatable, I appreciated that very much.
Overall the relationships develop a lot in this installment, although Jasper, having come back from NY with the group, never really felt a real part of the group. He is more absent than anything [even when being in the same room with the others] and the visit he gets from a New Yorker aquaintance did not at all contribute to the story. I could only imagine it to be a preparation for the next book.
The world-building still is amazing: the explanation of Griffins abilities by using AEther as a spiritual-chemical agent that can be manipulated by him, Fin's heritage and last not least the "Beasties", a steampunkish form of nanoagents that work in the blood and the organs. And all that embedded in a 19th century London that just rings true. World-Building and characters are, what I like most in this series. If you do as well, this is your book.