Main Characters: Finley, Griffin, Sam, Emily, Jasper from book 0.5 and 1. There are references to our villain from the last book, the Machina and to Jack Dandy although we don’t see either of them.
Dalton – the new “villain”. His men are the ones who grabbed Jasper at the end of Corset. He has Mei Xing hostage as he is using her as leverage to get Jasper to return some sort of machine that Jasper stole from him.
Mei Xing – Jasper’s ex-love. He still cares for her very much. He stole a machine from Dalton and dismantled it before he fled. Now, Mei is Dalton’s hostage and has a clockwork collar on her neck that will tighten and choke her if she doesn’t do what Dalton wants.
Whip Kirby – a Marshal from San Fran investigating a death/looking to bring Jasper to justice for a murder.
Tesla – genius inventor. He invented the machine that Jasper stole (Dalton originally stole it). He isn’t evil, just a scientist so caught up in obtaining knowledge and understanding his brilliant inventions and how they can be used in warfare that he doesn’t really understand the impact of the same inventions.
Wildcat/Cat – an old “friend” of Jaspers. She runs the Irish gangs out of the Five Points neighborhood.
Main Premise: Jasper was hauled away and our merry little band believe he was taken by the American authorities for murder. Turns out Jasper was taken by Dalton’s men because Dalton wants something from Jasper. Dalton uses Mei as leverage to get Jasper to get all the pieces of the machine again. Finley gets herself into Dalton’s gang through her fighting ability. But she has reservations about Mei. Our group wants to stop Dalton from what ever scheme he has and rescue Jasper.
Other Important Things to Remember for Later: Mei was in love with Dalton – she tricked Jasper. The machine Tesla invented let people walk through matter. Dalton was staging a massive theft. While Griffin and Em worked with Tesla to figure out how to stop the machine, Griffin received a warning from a malevolent ghost like creature in the either – telling Griffin that it was coming for him (and Tesla was attacked by the ghost thing in the aether). Griffin managed to stop the machine during the theft but Mei died and Dalton’s hand is ruined. Turns our Whip married Jasper’s sister and was trying to help clear his name since he, rightfully, though Mei was the one who committed the murder. The group is headed back to London. Finley and Griff look like they will be a couple. And Wildcat isn’t entirely human. Em seems to have a few neater toys and makes a comment about building wings.
Review: The second (well, second full) installment in the Steampunk chronicles was just as good as the first! Thank goodness! I just hope there is a third installment.
The author did a great job of taking the characters that she built in the first installment and let them continue to shine in the second. There is just enough action to keep things exciting too. A few fist fights, where the ladies are treated equally (go girl power!), enough to put Em’s mad first-aid skills to the test, some intrigue (is Mei on the side of Jasper and Co. or not? – even though it was a fairly obvious twist), some comedy (Finley’s “Mei Xing, as in A-mei-zing?” made me chuckle out loud), and topped off with just enough tension between Finley and Griffin to make it interesting… awesome!
One of my favorite things about this series so far is its ability to live up to the name of the sub-genre it’s part of. While I don’t focus on steampunk, I have read a decent amount of what is classified as such. But very little has the imagination and ingenuity that that this series has so far. Emily’s abilities and inventions are wonderful. The world created has a balance of victorian era ambience with technological genius and advancement. I want the next installment to see what great ideas Emily has as much as to see how Finley and Griffin progress.
While there is the promise of an overall story arc, since I assume/guess/hypothesize that the black ghostie-thingy is Machina from the first book (and that is purely my guess), I love that this has been the continuation and development of characters in really 3 stories (really, 2 and a half) which independent of one another. The world is interconnected, and there are things that it is helpful to know if you started with book 2, but you could start with book 2 and not be totally lost. I love that. I really would love to see a third book, another villain popping up sending our group some place else to prevent a crime (even if the crime ends up ultimately orchestrated by or impacted by our not-so-friendly ghost). It would be very Harry Potter-esque and those are my favorite types of stories. Only problem is, goodreads.com (my trusty resource for all things release date and series numbering related), doesn’t list installment #3. And a good scouring of Kady Cross’s website didn’t lead me to any either.
So, fingers crossed for more Finley Jayne!