Series: The Steampunk Chronicles #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 22, 2012
Genres: historical fiction, science fiction, steampunk, young adult
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In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.
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.
This book disappointed me and it’s all Mei’s fault. Surprisingly, this book has a higher GR rating than the first book – which I just don’t get. The story here felt lackluster and forced – it was missing a lot of the high energy and constant entertainment I enjoyed in The Girl in the Steel Corset. A lot of people have criticized this series as “not real steampunk” and never has that been more apparent than in book 2.
We get to see Finley, Griffin, Sam, Emily, and Jasper outside their “comfort zone” in this book since the majority of it takes place in America (USA) as opposed to England. After reading the book, I wondered if this was part of the problem but I really don’t think it is. I think the problem is Mei.
Jasper is taken (rather mysteriously) back to the US to face punishment for the crime he supposedly committed there before fleeing to England. We find out that that crime was murder – and that SPOILER ALERT Jasper didn’t do it. But he’s ready and willing to take the fall to protect his ex(?)-lover, Mei Xing. Griffin and Co. follow Jasper to the US to find out the truth and hopefully bring Jasper back. While there, they discover that Jasper isn’t being held by official authorities, but rather by a villainous blackcard (and Jasper’s ex-best friend) named Reno Dalton. Also being held by Dalton is Mei, who he’s using to control Jasper for the purpose of reassembling a mysterious device that Jasper stole and disassembled before running. Mei wears a clockwork collar that tightens if/when Jasper touches her or Dalton is displeased.
Skip to near the end of the book: Mei’s been nothing but a complete bitch to Finley AND Jasper, but Jasper’s still holding on to love…..that is until Mei reveals that the whole thing has been a farce and she’s actually romantically involved with Dalton and cares nothing about Jasper. ARGH, WHY?! I saw it coming but I really didn’t want to believe that Cross was going to take the road most often traveled. MEI. ANNOYED. THE HELL. OUT OF ME. I so hoped that Finley would get the chance to break her stupid ass but it didn’t really happen. Between her bitchiness and Sam’s moroseness I had a really hard time finding any pleasure in this book. We got to learn a bit more about Jasper, but it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. His weakness for Mei was a definite turn-off. And where was my Jack Dandy? He’s probably the most fascinating character in this series and we saw almost nothing of him in book 2.
The most enjoyable thing about the story was definitely the fact that Finley got to unleash her “other” side and just be a badass. The Tesla incorporation was cool as well, even if not very well expounded on. There was definitely some sophomore slump going on in this book in my opinion…but thankfully Cross returns in book 3 and blows everything up, so if you can manage to trudge through this, it’s well worth it.