Main Characters: Finley, Griffin, Emily, Jasper, Mei (her ghost anyway), the Master (aka Girabaldi), Victoria the automaton, Jack Dandy and even Wildcat are all back.
NEW CHARACTERS: Endeavor 312 (aka Mila)
Main Premise: The master has escaped, even though he is not in good shape. He really is just a consciousness being kept alive by his machines, including Victoria. He is being kept alive, minimally, in a tank with organites. He intends to have his brain transplanted – initially into Endeavor 312 – but Endeavor 312 is evolving with the help of the organites and she is developing a conscious of her own. Our gang is home from America, with something taking its toll on Griffin (the Master and his ability to manipulate and maneuver in the aether, with some help from Mei’s ghost). Emily is kidnapped because of her ability to perform the transplant the Master wants performed. The gang goes after her. M first – and it turns out Sam gets captured and Mila escaped. And since Mila escaped, the Master wants Emily to perform the transplant using Sam’s body. Mila helps our friendly gang. Wildcat is there too to help. They do battle and win, killing Girabaldi finally, although Griffin didn’t want him to die, knowing that he would then be more powerful in the aether. Sam and Emily are together, Griffin and Finley are finally together too. Mila is staying with Jack. And we don’t know the extent of Mila’s abilities since she was a combination of each of Finley, Emily, Griffin, Jasper and Sam.
Other Important Things to Remember for Later: Good reads notes this about the Jack Dandy story: “The story will conclude in The Girl with the Iron Touch.” So, I don’t know if that is the end of the entire series – or just the Dandy short story (because the Dandy story is ordered before this installment, but won’t be out until after it – another reason I hate these “.5” installments…). But in case this series isn’t over… Griffin was supposed to help Mei move on. Victoria seems to finally be destroyed. Girabaldi is dead, which is actually bad news since he will have more abilities with the aether now. Sam and Emily have professed their love. Finely and Griffin are together, officially. Wildcat and Jasper had run off to do something early on in this book, but we don’t know what – so who knows if that will come up. Mila has become essentially human. And Jack and Griffin have a sort of truce.
Review: Despite the similarities between this and the Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, I was thrilled with this book – see, that’s where the similarities end! There is just enough romance to keep me interested and rooting for the various couples. And there is enough action, without the silliness of a giant worm, to keep things interesting. It’s also a hoot to read Dandy and the way he speaks. This is a short review, because I am going to use this book and various aspects to be fairly critical of this genre and sub-genre and YA authors. And I don’t want to sway those thoughts. But, it should be enough to say, that this is another great installment. While it was pretty obvious Sam and Emily would both survive, it was still a pleasure to read. And having Mila decide to go off with Jack was a pleasant surprise at the end – hopefully we will see more of those two, and our fearsome steampunk gang!