The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
by Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #2
Published: 22 May 2012
Harlequin Teen, Paperback, 368 pages
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET.
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.
From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens with supernatural abilities is on Jasper’s elusive trail. And they’re about to discover how far they’ll go for friendship.
More than ever, Finley Jayne will rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley…and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Sam, more machine than man, finds his moody heart tested by Irish lass Emily–whose own special abilities are no match for the darkness she discovers on the streets.
Now, to help those she’s come to care for so deeply, Finley Jayne must infiltrate a criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much…
I have such mixed feelings about this book. At some parts, it was pretty good, at others, unsatisfying. One thing for sure is, I was completely blinded by my immediate shipping of Jasper and Mei. I guess I felt bad that while the rest of their little group was nicely paired up (Finley & Griffin, Emily & Sam), Jasper sort of had no one. So imagine my happiness when I found out about Mei! However, like I’ve mentioned, that clouded my critical thinking skills, hence, I was knocked completely off course by a particular incident. And not in a good way either.
Starting with the negative, although this was supposed to be a mystery book, I didn’t feel much suspense or the urge to unravel the truth. Colour me bored. The world building was still lacking, with limited development on the atmosphere of that time period. Furthermore, sometimes the characters’ relationships seem superficial and overly developed. I wonder if that’s possible… but the point is, so much effort was put into the characters’ relationships that they were over-the-top and painfully came off as trying too hard.
Now, on to the good. Among the misses concerning the characters’ relationships, there were a handful of hits too. For example, I enjoyed Griffin & Finley’s chemistry very much indeed. They were so different yet so right for each other as they balance one another’s personalities. Thankfully, there was no insta-love. The cause of the problems between them were real and relatable, hence, effectively bringing the both of them to life.
The ending of the book was wholly gruesome and gory. I was totally blown off my feet at the violence of it and had been close to upending whatever substance I had in my stomach. It was not bad, just unexpected. And extremely… bloody. Though it was not explicitly described, simply picturing that scene in your head would be quite unsettling.
Despite not really liking this book, I’ll give the next one a try as I fairly enjoyed the first installment, The Girl in the Steel Corset. Though, in favor of The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, it was considerably faster paced than its predecessor. However, if I were to compare this series to others of the steampunk genre, there would still be many aspects it could improve on – especially its world-building. Maybe my expectations are just a little high after reading The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, but maybe not.
All in all, I would recommend those who are interested in romance to read The Girl in the Clockwork Collar as it does pretty well in the department. However, if you want to read it for the mystery, you might be quite disappointed.