Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 416 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Steampunk Chronicles series
Source: eARC from Netgalley.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
This is the second book in the Steampunk Chronicles series. As with the first book, this book reads more like a romance than a straight steampunk novel. This novel takes place in America and I missed the London setting. Still there were plenty of twists and turns here to keep the reader engaged.
Jasper’s been taken back to America by a bounty hunter and Finley Jayne and crew hop aboard Griffin’s airship to journey to America to rescue him. Jasper is in the hands of an evil man who wants Jasper to recover a powerful device. An old flame of Jasper’s named Mei is being held as well to keep Jasper in check; she wears a creepy clockwork collar that tightens when she misbehaves. Finley will have to journey into the underbelly of the city if she has any hope of rescuing Jasper.
I really didn’t like this book as much as the last one. First let me say what I liked about the book. I liked that Finley found some balance, she’s developed into a kick-butt strong female character. It was also to see Emily share some of the fun action scenes. The plot has some excellent twists and turns as well.
There is a lot about this book that wasn’t as well done as the first book. There really isn’t any more of that Jekyl and Hyde vibe with Finley; there is some talk about her being drawn more to her darker nature with her undercover work in the gang that has Jasper. But Finley very much has one personality in this book; that of someone who is spunky and full of trouble. It was nice to see her find harmony between her two halves…but at the same time it made the story a lot less interesting.
As for Finley and Griffin as a couple…I just wasn’t feeling it. They don’t respect each other enough and the scenes between them are awkward. The other characters were all okay, but I didn’t feel as much energy from them and they weren’t as engaging as in the first book. Maybe part of it was that the charm of the London setting was gone and they all seemed a bit displaced.
There were an absolute ton of POVs in this book; the story bounced all around between Griffin and Finley and Jasper and others. It was distracting and made it hard to get really engaged in the story. There are some books that do multiple POVs well (think epic fantasy like The Wheel of Time series), but in fluffy books like this one it really doesn’t do much for the story outside of fracture it.
This book reads more like a romance than a steampunk novel. In fact there isn’t much steampunk in here at all. There is mention of the clockwork collar and the steam carriages. Griffin does his thing with the aether…that’s pretty much it. The plot is much more driven by who loves who and who is trying to save who, not awesome steampunk things.
Lastly the book was wordy. There is a lot of unnecessary words in here that don’t do much except make parts of the book kind of boring. The book ends well enough with room for another future story.
Overall I was super excited to read this book because I thought the first book was a fun light read, but I ended up being disappointed. The characters fell flat for me, the numerous POVs made the story feel fractured, there isn’t much steampunk at all, the plot is mostly romance driven, and the book gets wordy and boring at points. I just was not feeling this book like I did the first one. If you want to read steampunk check out the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, The Iron Codex series by Caitlin Kittredge, or Cinder by Marissa Mayer…all of those are much better steampunk books than this one.