Author: Kady Cross
Genre: YA, steampunk, urban fantasy, alternate history, romance
Publication Date: May 22, 2012 (expected)
Summary: In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling – or dangerous.
Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her “straynge band of mysfits” have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him…for the life of the girl Jasper loves.
One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei’s neck tightens. And tightens.
☆: 4.5/5 stars – another jolly good ride with Finley, Griffin, and company in an alternate world!
Review: Just as the first book was a wonderful jaunt in an alternate-history steampunk London, now we journey with Griffin, Finley, and the rest of the crew to America to find their comrade Jasper. This book was so much fun – Cross continues her story with just as much mad-scientist playfulness as she did in the first, and loses nothing in the process. No middle book syndrome here, folks. If you liked the first book, you simply must read “The Girl in the Clockwork Collar”!
Though there is a bit of a residual amount of semi-love triangle left over from the first book’s storyline with Jack Dandy, I’m happy to say that it doesn’t really continue past the first two or three chapters when more pressing matters come into play. Because of the urgency of having to find Jasper before he gets thrown into jail (or worse), it really polarizes all of the characters’ actions (and their relationships with each other), and where in the first book there might have been too much pause in one scene or another, there’s none of that here. This book is really fast paced, but excellently wrought where even I was getting anxious concerning Jasper, Mei, and her clockwork collar and with Finley and Griffin in terms of finding him.
But what really is at the heart of this story is Finley’s continued struggle with her Jekyll and Hyde light and dark sides. They may have been united into one solid personality with help from Griffin at the end of book one, but the struggle to behave continues and really eats away at Finley the entire time. The way Cross handles this is great, gives Finley an out that isn’t too easy, but at the same time, isn’t too hard on her, either. It even extends to Griffin – can he rely on Finley not to give into her dark side? Can he trust her to pick him and the good fight over a glamorous life of crime? The reader worries along with him, yet at the same time has a blast kicking ass alongside Finley as she works with Jasper to get him away from the past that’s caught up with him.
The characters feel even fuller this time around, with more complexities added to them, and the more minor characters that make up Griffin’s band of misfits (Sam, Emily, and Jasper) get more face time with the audience. We know more about their pasts, and they all got a good rounding out in general. The world expanded to America, and we got to see more of what this moment in time in this alternate history might look like (Nicola Tesla still running his tests, but Five Points still existing in New York – thanks to Cross’ notes at the end of the book).
The ending, though, is something I really didn’t see coming (though it had crossed my mind very faintly). I love what Cross did – it’s something straight out of a western, and yet with the sci-fi/fantasy angle, it totally worked. By the time I reached the last page, all I could think about was book three, and wondering when it would be out. That’s how much I love this world’s she created, and the characters she’s let loose upon the literary scene. I definitely want more misadventures with everyone in this series (okay, maybe not Mei, but you get the idea) and soon.
“The Girl in the Clockwork Collar” is out May 22, 2012 in North America from HarlequinTeen. It’s made my best of 2012 so far list, so definitely check it out when it hits bookstores then. It’s full of adventure, mischief, and magic – what more could you want? You definitely cannot miss this sequel if you’re a fan of the first book!