"The Strange Case of Finley Jayne" (Steampunk Chronicles, #0.5)
by Kady Cross
Genre: Steampunk, Paranormal
Reading Grade: YA
Publishing Type: traditional
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
Source: Kindle Store (freebie)
Rated: Teen (13+)
Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined…
I'll just say, I wasn't expecting this short story to be quite as engaging and exciting as it turned out to be. This is a prequel to the Steampunk Chronicles series, which starts with, technically this book, and then on to The Girl in the Steel Corset, which is Book 1. The reason a 'steampunk' novella ended up getting a review on this blog is because it nicely weaves in some “paranormalcy” into its main character, Finley Jayne.
Finley Jayne doesn't know what she is and why she's so dang strong, stronger than any human ought to be. She's very durable and can leap over walls like they were short hedges. She can take out grown men like whacking weeds, for cryin' out loud. Freaking awesome! All the while, she has a great head on her shoulders, being of the working class in late 19th century London. She even gets to attend a fancy ball, and wear luscious Victorian gowns. We readers get to see all the steampunk technology, like mechanical horses and metal automatons, all invented by an unscrupulous scientist. It has so many elements I want in a story (I have a major weakness for mad scientists!).
Finley gets treated very horribly by her employer at the beginning, then it all turns around after that when her strange and terrifying gifts are actually sought after and appreciated by others, rather than scorned. I enjoyed her as a very likable heroine. I found myself wanting to be like her, have her incredible physical abilities. I only wish the main villain character had been a bit more interesting, but he did suffice. (I always want my villains to be more interesting!)
The events in this story apparently have no bearing on the future plot of the novels that come afterward, so the fact that all the ties Finley has to the other characters get lopped off in the end was appropriate. Read this if you want a very inexpensive taste of what the author has to offer in this series. Even if the plot doesn't continue beyond this little e-book, you'll know whether or not you'll want to invest in this novel series. I know definitely I do ….
My score: 5 out of 5 stars