Book Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

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The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is the second installment of The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross. Set in 1897, it continues the story of Finley Jayne, a girl gifted with unusual strength and healing abilities. Her friends have unusual talents as well. Griffin can access the energy of the Aether (the spirit world), and Emily has the ability to communicate with machines. Sam is the steampunk version of a cyborg, and Jasper can move with incredible speed.

At the end of book one (The Girl in the Steel Corset), bounty hunters arrived in London and took Jasper to America to stand trial for murder. As book two opens, Finley and her friends are crossing the Atlantic to help Jasper clear his name. When they arrive in New York, they discover that Jasper was never arrested. The men who came to London posing as bounty hunters work for a criminal named Dalton.

Jasper is the only one who knows where to find the pieces of the device Dalton wants—a “Matter Transmutation” device invented by Nicola Tesla. Dalton has also taken Mei—the girl Jasper loves—and fitted her with a clockwork collar that will tighten around her throat if Jasper doesn’t cooperate.

Confident in her abilities, Finley infiltrates Dalton’s gang, but her move doesn’t sit well with Griffin who’s used to leading the group. Denying their feelings for each other only complicates the issue. Finley and Griffin have to reach some sort of compromise because it’s the only way their “straynge band of mysfits” will be able rescue Mei and stop Dalton from getting Tesla’s device.

The characters and dialogue of The Girl in the Clockwork Collar feel a bit cliché, but I didn’t mind because the premise is clever and the book is just plain fun to read. Cross does a great job of incorporating New York’s history into the story, and she also scores big points from me for working in Nicola Tesla and turn-of-the-century physics. (I’m a science nerd. I admit it.)

The Steampunk Chronicles continue in 2013 with book three—The Girl with the Iron Touch.

©2012 Kim Vandel

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