Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (The Steampunk Chronicles, #2) 

by Kady Cross 

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Steampunk
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Source: NetGalley eARC
Age Rating: 14+

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. 

My Review

After reading The Girl in the Steel Corset, I wasn't all that thrilled about reading the sequel, but before I read the first book, I had already obtained an advanced reader's copy of The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. I had to read it and hope it impressed me more than its predecessor.

  • Plot: This story begins with the strange band of misfits flying across the Atlantic on an airship—steampunk style, of course—and spending the rest of it in 1897 New York City. They're there to find Jasper, the American cowboy, after he had been arrested for murder and extradited back to the U.S. A new villain is introduced, Reno Dalton, and he's a pretty ruthless killer. He has captured a Chinese girl, Mei, that Jasper is in love with and fitted her with a clockwork collar that he can tighten any time he wants if Jasper does anything he doesn't like. And, he wants Jasper to gather all the pieces of a machine he disassembled and hid all over New York City.
  • Characters: There are only a few newcomers to this book, and they are fairly uninteresting, but play their parts just fine. What changes is that the main characters from Book 1 finally become more multidimensional and interesting. In my review of Book 1, I mentioned how boring all of them were. But, in this book, they get the development they much needed before. Finley shows off her darker side better when she does cheeky things during dangerous missions. Griffin is genuinely torn over her: he's in love with her, but fears she will pick a life of crime because her dark side enjoys it so much. He can't resolve it in his heart or mind. Sam is still highly dull and Emily is no different. But, Jasper manages to finally matter to the story and has actual character growth, as life hands his own backside over to him on a silver platter.
  • Writing: Same as Book 1—fine, except for a pet-peeve of mine, head-hopping 3rd-person POV. It even seemed to happen more in this book compared to the first one.
  • Story: Here's where there is much improvement, or I just liked it better than the first book's. I genuinely liked this story and how all of it came together, including the exciting fight scenes. They weren't long and drawn out, but short and explosive, like how Finley is when she gets hopped up on her own adrenaline before a confrontation. She's not battling with her dark side anymore, meaning she stays conscious now and just draws on its power, but it still thrills her to fight anybody who can give her a challenge. Finally, she's a really fun character, unlike in Book 1 when she just bored me. Also, the romance gets moved up a small notch for all the characters. I like that it didn't jump into the stratosphere just because it's the second book in the series. It's refreshing when historical romance plays out slowly, as it should.
  • Overall Quality: All these improvements make me see it in a higher quality light. It's still far from perfect, but this installment, although less engaging, is still more satisfying to read.
  • Favorite Moment: Finley had nearly been assassinated in her hotel room, but she got away. Then, she had to go rescue Jasper from another assassin in his hotel room right after. Griffin and the others woke up and ran into Jasper's room after his assassin was taken out, Griffin only wearing PJ bottoms. Because he was so afraid for Finley, he pulled her into a sexy hug and looked into her eyes and... didn't kiss her because there were all these other people in the room. I love that she knew he would have done it had the others not been in there with them.
  • My Score: 3.5 stars out of 5.

*I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I should think that Jasper is important to this one considering it's his GF whose wearing the clockwork collar! I don't know if I can muster up the enthusiasm for this one after reading the first book. I really despise Sam so any scenes with him make me cringe. I'm glad that there is both more character development and plot development in this one. Your review has at least made me curious!

    1. @Lan: Yeah, Jasper's girlfriend is what makes him make all the choices he does in this book. I'd say you could like this one better, but if you never read it, you probably won't miss it.

  2. interesting review! I couldn't get into the first book--I think I read the first three chapters and wasn't impressed. however, I LOVE this cover and feel like I'm missing out on something. Like Lan, your review has left me curious. :) definitely thinking of just reading this one, instead of the first.

    Ashelynn @ gypsy book reviews.

    1. @Ash: You could skip the first one, but it might be confusing as to who the characters are, since they are established in the first one. But, that's your call.

  3. I own the first one so I guess I should probably read it. I'm sad to hear you didn't like it or this one that much. It does sound like it got a little better, though. That's something.

    1. @Jenny: Yeah, this book was a big improvement on the second one. But, still it had its flaws.

  4. I'm happy to hear the second book in the series was pretty good! You are so good about sticking with a series, even when you aren't thrilled with the first. I often don't finish series, even when I DO like the books!

    1. @Camille: Thanks! I guess I do that sometimes, but I won't always read every book in a series if I lose interest. I've dropped many books after book 1 or book 2 because they weren't very good.


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