This series gets me for several reasons:
1) It's Steampunk!!
2) The great characters
3) The great clothes (check that awesome cover *faints*)
4) The writing of an author who knows how to make the plot dangerous AND fun AND still have plenty of heart
5) The Jack Dandy
Kady Cross's The Girl in the Clockwork Collar was everything I hoped for. I've heard writing the second book is sometimes hard for writers, but Cross didn't seem to have any problems. The writing was better than Book 1--which was one of my gripes with The Girl in the Steel Corset. Clockwork is definitely less dense, giving it a quicker pace, and an overall better flow. Very well done there.
The characters I loved in Book 1 are back (excluding one of my faves) and fighting a new evil--who also just so happens to have snatched a beloved friend right out from under their noses.
At the end of the first book, Jasper, the cowboy/flirt/speed demon, gets taken from Griffin's mansion, supposedly to be transported back to the U.S. where he'll stand trial for murder. Unfortunately, the "lawmen" who took him turn out to be the hired hands of a very bad man who Jasper double-crossed a while back. Dalton Reno wants the machine Jasper stole from him, and he's taken Mei, Jasper's old flame, as a hostage to ensure his cooperation. The clockwork collar around her neck is actually a torture device. If Jasper doesn't do exactly as Dalton says, he risks both Mei's and his own life.
First thought when I read the plot: This Dalton dude has no idea what he's up against.
Naturally, this doesn't sit well with Griffin, who's loyal to a fault. Not to mention Finley, who packs a punch that'll knock a man on his arse. That girl, Finley Jayne, has a fantastic sense of recklessness that I love to see in a young heroine. She knows her own strength, and she's not afraid to use it.
What I liked about this book was that you get to know more about the characters--especially Jasper. The fact that he wouldn't leave Mei, not even to save himself, gave him depth. He wasn't just a flirt or cowboy, but an actual person w/feelings and, like with all the others in Griffin's gang, an unwavering sense of loyalty. That's what makes him so cool imo--oh yeah, and his super speed!
The action sequences are awesome--Finley kicks more butt than all of the boys combined. Just my kind of girl J. I love the romance aspect, totally get why Finley's into Griffin and vice versa. Cross writes both action and romance equally well; it'll get your heart pounding whether it's a soul-deep kiss or a kick to the face. That is talent.
My only beef with the book--and it's a biggie, for me at least: WHERE WAS JACK DANDY???
I'm not gonna lie. It was such a letdown not to see my favorite character from Steel Corset. Jack Dandy is the man. He's such a cool character with inherent layers upon layers of swoon-worthy deviousness. *Sigh* Please, bring Dandy back Miss Cross. He's one of your finest creations. Bring him back, and make girls across the world happy J
Hope everyone has a great week,