Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Review: The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives. 
With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him...and for Griffin. 

Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine. 
To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has...

This series and I really have a love hate relationship. Each time I look at the pretty covers and convince myself that it’s steampunk and that the last one wasn’t that bad really and I should really give it another go, and then I end up wanting to throw the book across the room within thirty pages.
The problem for me is that the series has so much potential that just isn’t realised, although there has been some progress as the series has progressed. The characters are underdeveloped, the plot was rushed in places and too slow in others, and so many parts of the book cried out for proper researching – all things that immediately catapult me from any enjoyment and engrossment in the story.

The character’s remained flat caricatures, with no development from the last book. There is no progress, no depth or detail, and as a result I found myself caring less and less about what happened to them. I also struggled to find likeable features in Finley, the heroine, and Sam in particular, as with the last two books. And a heroine that I cannot warm to means the book is pretty much doomed from the start.
The romance didn’t feel like a natural progression, particularly towards the end where it felt like there was an awful lot of loose end tying going on, and no real resolution just a desperate pairing up of characters.

The writing swung from one extreme to the next, on the whole it’s relatively ok, but then there would be turns of phrase that were so glaringly modern that it again jarred me straight from the story.

Whilst it is a story billed as Victorian Steampunk, a lot of the flaws come from the technology just being pilfered from modern day gadgets, with no explanation as to how they might be possible in the day and age depicted. I don’t want a major science lesson and intricate break downs of each machine, but I want to feel like these gadgets could be possible, like the details of the plot that hinge on electronic devices are feasible instead of just cop out substitutes of modern day technology.

On the whole, whilst I am desperate to see more Steampunk fiction, particularly on the young adult shelves, ‘The Steampunk Chronicles’ really don’t fulfil the ideas I have of what Steampunk should be. No doubt there are readers who will find these are exactly the type of Steampunk they are after, but for me personally, I think I’ll stick with Gail Carriger…