25 setembro 2011

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset (Kady Cross)

Publisher: Harlequin Teen (2011)
Format:  Hardcover | 473 pages
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Steampunk, Historical Fiction
Description (Goodreads): "In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch...

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits. Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help-and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on, even if it seems no one believes her.
WARNING: Contains minor SPOILERS!
The Girl in the Steel Corset. You look at the title and it makes you interested; if you're easily swayed by a cover (like I am) you'll be impressed with the beautiful red dress and the hint of the aforementioned steel corset. Then you read the synopsis... and you think "well, this definitely sounds good". I know that is what I thought. The neat packaging, the steampunk world and the fact that our main character is a strong female in Victorian times, a character that has a "Jekyll and Hyde" feel to her... all of it sounds intriguing.

Unfortunately the actual book isn't as good as it promises. The best word to describe it is... "average". Maybe even "dull". Or if you want to enter the realm of comparison, then it's "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". No, really.

Cardboard story, cardboard characters and cardboard world. Cardboard defines The Girl in the Steel Corset. The story is boring, reads like a badly written sci-fi/steampunk movie and/or like an (even worse) YA version of... "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". Everything correlates: The group of heroes with the special powers; the mysterious, technically savyy villain, the service to "Her Majesty, Queen Victoria"... everything. The plot was just so thin and predictable I was surprised the characters took so long to figure out the evil guy's plans. I mean I kind of knew from almost the beginning.

The characters aren't much better. The author managed to make them perfect YA stereotypes, even though this novel takes place in the 19th century. There's even twice the unrealistic love stories and twice the love triangles!!! As for Finley Jayne, the female protagonist, I'm not sure how Cross accomplished the feat of making her the most boring, dull and characterless girl to grace a YA book since Bella Swan. Even Finley's "dark side" is annoyingly... dull.
And don't even get me started on Griffin King! I mean, first of all he has the most ridiculous name! Griffin King? My mind zeroed on Spider Man and the Kingpin every time I read his name. Worst. Name. Ever. Really. And it's probably the most improbable (lol) name for a member of the 19th century British aristocracy too. Of course he is also a cliche.

Last but not least: the world. Steampunk is supposed to be interesting. Except it seemed like the author had a "list of things that exist in a Steampunk world" and ticked it off one by one as she was writing the book. So it's basically generic Steampunk, if that even exists. I didn't feel like there was any trace of originality in the world-building; it didn't feel like the author made an effort to develop her own ideas. It was just... automatons and steam powered machines.

So, overall, The Girl in the Steel Corset (and I'm wondering why it's even called that, the steel corset is, at best, a very minor character) was a pretty 'bland' read. The book didn't display any originality in terms of story, characters or world. I guess it was written in an interesting manner, but I thought the author could have done a lot more with it if only Finley had been more interesting or if the focus of the plot had been different or even if Cross decided not to include the "love story" (if unrealistic, insta-romance can be considered that). I was disappointed with this book, I expected more action and a more lively heroine.

3 comentários:

Laura disse...

Bah, que desilusão. O título é, efectivamente, muito atractivo mas pela tua review, esquece...

Patrícia Cálão disse...

Eu estava tentada a comprar o livro! Ainda bem que li a tua review. Achei o teu 1º parágrafo engraçado, porque estavas a descrever exactamente os meus pensamentos em relação ao livro. =D
O resto abriu-me os olhos.

jen7waters disse...

Okay...estereótipos YA & triângulos amorosos a dobrar (HOLY CR*P). Sem dúvida que vai sair JÁ, IMEDIATAMENTE, da minha wishlist. (Tenho feito isto várias vezes nos últimos tempos. o_o)

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