So anyway, my goals to start with:
to write for at least an hour 4 days a week
read 1 new book a week and write a review for it
visit and comment on 5 ROWers' blogs a week
This should be easy enough to get me warmed up and back into the swing of it. I've already taken care of goal 2 with this post, and I spent at least an hour yesterday on writing, so that's a good start on goal 1 as well. Cheers to whatever goals you are working on yourselves, whether writing related or otherwise. Now on to the review.
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling--or dangerous.
Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her 'straynge band of mysfits' have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade--the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.
One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.
From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens with supernatural abilities is on Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship.
More than ever, Finley Jayne will rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley...and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Sam, more machine than man, finds his moody heart tested by Irish lass Emily--whose own special abilities are no match for the darkness she discovers on the streets.
Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley Jayne must infiltrate a criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much...
I didn't realize until after I'd started reading that there was a book before this one. The strong references to something that had recently happened, especially the residual effects from facing off with some villain, tipped me off. However, it didn't affect the plot of this book other than how the characters felt about each other because of it. The previous book is essentially treated like backstory, and very well done. Though I plan to go back and read The Girl in the Steel Corset anyway, just to satisfy my curiosity.
Jayne is rather feisty, and she was a lot of fun to follow. Trying to figure out how to balance different aspects of your persona can be tricky enough, but for Jayne, her sides were drastically contrasted. From what I understand, they were actually separate enough that it was like she was two people. Now she's fused into one persona but she still can choose which side she prefers. Not so easy when she likes fighting and flirting with danger, despite her good qualities. However, I can respect a girl who has such loyalty to her friends and works to see justice done.
Jasper and Griffin also get some POV time, and their parts help round out what all is going on in the story. I could really feel for Griffin's desperation in dealing with one particularly determined young heiress after his title, as well as his growing affection for Jayne, and Jasper's desire to get himself and Mei free from Dalton's control. Though Sam and Emily didn't have their own POV parts, their connections with each other and the others were filled in just fine through Jayne and Griffin.
In some ways this book reminds me of Soulless by Gail Carriger mixed with The Society of Steam: The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer. Shouldn't be terribly surprising considering the genre and the time period they are all set. The Falling Machine is set in 1880 and Soulless is Victorian England. But I enjoyed all three, and if you like any of the other ones, you will probably dig into this one, too. I can't wait to read more by Cross now, and her author bio reminds me of a couple of my friends. She's now on my list of authors I want to meet.