Wednesday, July 27, 2011


A Jekyll and Hyde Steampunk YA set in Victorian England, featuring a sixteen-year-old girl, who not only has one kick-ass persona, but two?  Yes, please!

Kady Cross is firing on all cylinders in The Girl in the Steel Corset (and not just b/c the cover's gorgeous, and the title rocks).  It's the story that stood out for me.  The unique twist she put on the Jekyll and Hyde concept just blew my mind.  In the acknowledgements section, Cross said she wanted to write "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets teen X-Men," and she more than succeeded.  I've loved X-Men since I was a kid (FYI: Rogue is the ultimate! She was always my favorite J), and part of the reason was that the back stories for each character were so well thought out and completely developed.  The characters in Cross's book were wonderful: Finley the girl with two faces, one wild and wicked, the other a little too good; Griffin the leader of the pack with a vendetta to repay; Sam the strong man whose strength failed him at a critical moment and left him (in his eyes) less than human; Emily the sweet genius who couldn't let her one true love die, no matter how much he'd hate her afterward.  As I said, for me, it's all about making the characters real, giving them a past and seeing how it affects the here and now.

And speaking of characters with a past, can we talk about Jack Dandy for a sec??

I'm not going to lie.  After the first chapter (which featured Finley, who I loved and worried about throughout), I had a hard time sticking with it.  The prose was a little much for me, a bit too wordy.  But then Jack stepped onto the scene, and I couldn't read fast enough. J  You know how sometimes there's that one character that you just cannot wait to see again?  The one that has you searching for the next time he/she appears, the one that drives the story simply by being in the room?

Well, that's what Jack was for me.  He was just so deliciously bad (in the best way possible).  His in-and-out cockney, his seedy digs, his horrible reputation.  Dandy was the baddest of the bad, the one man you never wanted to cross--and Finley goes out looking for him.  I really love characters who are threatening yet appealing in some indefinable way.  Don't get me wrong, Dandy was a bad, bad man, and I knew it all along.  I never once doubted that.  But he was always there for Finley, and Cross left the door open for one heck of a love triangle.

Even if I didn't love Finley so much, I'd read the next book just to get a little more Jack.

The plot was good: Bad guy (aka The Machinist) is somehow making automatons commit crimes.  It's up to Griffin and his crew to solve the mystery of how and who's doing it before more people get hurt/killed.  And like I said, I thought the concept of a sixteen-year-old female Jekyll and Hyde character was very unique.

But that description--"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets teen X-Men"--would've gotten me to read it no matter what.  Jack Dandy, though, was what (or should I say who?) kept me turning the pages.  I'd recommend it to any X-Men fan and any reader who loves themselves a little wickedness in their heroes and heroines J

Happy reading all,

Ninja Girl


  1. wow - as a die hard Xmen fan, Im defn going to read this one. I'd seen it reviewed somewhere else but the reviewer didnt quite say it like you have! Nicely written, Im convinced i need to read this.

    Random question - what did you think of the latest Xmen movie? I didnt like it myself. But then, any Xmen movie WITHOUT Wolverine in it leaves me unsatisfied anyway.

  2. I just bought this one. Your review makes me want to move it up my to read list. It's good to know that I'll Jack to look forward :).

  3. @Lani Yay another X fan!!! And I actually really enjoyed the latest X-Men--but James McAvoy and that guy who played Magneto have a lot to do with that ;) That said, my favorite movie is still X2, and my favorite X-Men anything is my beloved cartoon series from the 90s!

    @Jessica I'm glad it made you want to move it up. Dandy is worth it, believe me :D

  4. As soon as you compared this to X-Men I thought "I've got to get this". <3 X-men...and James McAvoy ;-)

  5. X-MEN! I'm tempted to read this again after you made that comparison.

  6. @Jennifer Yes, I love that comparison! And also McAvoy is an awesome actor. Him and that Michael Fassbender...WOW!

    @Sabrina I think it should've been on the jacket or something, not in the acknowledgements. It seems like a lot of people love the X ;)

  7. You had me at X-Men. Thanks so much for this review. I'm normally not big on YA. I'd seen the cover and it intrigued me but, never enough to pick up the book. Looks like the next time I'm in the store I'm picking up a copy.

    On a side note. I love Rogue but, Storm's my favorite. ;-)

  8. Ahhh I have this and cannot WAIT to read it. I peeked into it some and was having League of Extradinary Gentleman flashbacks! :D :D

    Blog: Once Upon a Prologue
    Twitter: @ courageousgrace
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  9. I am dying to read this book, but as usual it doesn't seem to have come out in Australia yet. Loved the review and your blog. Am now a new follower. I really liked the recent X-Men movie. Not sure about their take on how Beast got to be blue and hairy but Mr McAvoy could sell me anything. I'm a bit of a Rogue fan too but not keen on Anna Paquin's portrayal. Not Badass enough for me!

    Would love it if you could come by and check out my blog at and follow back :)

  10. I'd never heard of this..but I think I now want to read this...