The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

“’I like a little fight in my girls.’
She grinned at him,causing blood to dribble down her chin.
‘Then you’re going to love me.'”

The Girl in the Steel Corset is about a girl named Finley in 19th century England who has a dark side that gives her the ability to knock out a grown man with a single punch. When she loses her job because of this very thing, she meets Griffin King, a young duke who has some abilities of his own. He sees her powers as special, and invites her to join his group of friends who all have some sort of ability. She decides to join them and help Griffin find The Machinist, a man who has been using automatons to do crime. What she finds, however, is a place where she finally belongs.

This was my first steampunk book! It was recommended to me by my friend Lisa and I am so happy that I finally picked it up. Finley is such a great character–she is brave and strong and does not feel that she needs to depend on a man to protect her. In fact, she can beat most men in a fight, however she is frightened by the power her dark side gives her and seeks Griffin’s help to learn to control it. She is a bit headstrong at times but she is loyal to Griffin and his friends even though they are unsure if they can trust her at first.

The best part of this book was all of the characters. I absolutely loved each and every one of them because they are so wonderfully written. The story is told from many points of view and it gives the reader an insight into many of the other characters, which I really enjoyed. They are all extremely well developed and they all work together so perfectly that it really makes the story what it is. I also loved the romance in the book and the fact that it wasn’t the sole focus of the story made it even better.

Overall, The Girl in the Steel Corset is a fantastic book full of so many different elements:  history, romance, paranormal, and of course–steampunk! Kady Cross herself has described this book as X-men meets A League of Extraordinary Gentleman. I would highly recommend this one, especially if, like me, you haven’t read many steampunk books.

The Girl in the Steel Corset was released May 24, 2011 and is the first book in the Steampunk Chronicles. The second book, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar was released May 22, 2012 and the third book, The Girl with the Iron Touch, is set to be released May 21, 2013.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

“My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispered, “and I will not be afraid.”

Throne of Glass is a debut novel for Sarah J. Maas and what an incredible debut it is! It is a fantasy YA novel about a young assassin, Celaena, who has been serving a prison sentence at a salt mine for the past year. She is called before the Crown Prince who offers her a chance at freedom. The catch? She has to participate as his champion in a contest to find the king’s new royal assassin. 18 year old Celaena must fight against other assassins and criminals (all men) and eliminate them all in order to win the competition and her eventual freedom. Once Celaena is living in the castle the prince begins paying extra attention to her, a girl different from any other he has ever met. But she is also drawn to Captain Westfall, who is the captain of the guard and her trainer in the competition. Soon after the competition begins however, a fellow competitor ends up brutally murdered. As more competitors fall victim to the unknown killer, Celaena must search for the killer before she becomes a victim herself.

This book had everything: sword fighting, political turmoil, romance, and a kick ass heroine. Celaena had a fantastic humor and spunk that made me like her immediately. She is strong and independent and able to defeat men twice her size. However, under her tough exterior she has a softer side that is still suffering from the wounds of her past. She lost her parents at a young age, trained as an assassin most of her life, and was forced to work as a slave in a salt mine as punishment for a year. But what I love about Celaena is that she doesn’t let any of that wear her down because she is determined to achieve her freedom in order to live her life the way she wants.

I loved the fantasy elements and the romance in this book. It’s rare to find a book that has magic, a ruthless competition, a murder plot, and romance all in one (other than Harry Potter of course), but Throne of Glass delivers all of that and more. I can honestly say that this is one of the best books that I have read this year, and is definitely the best fantasy book I’ve read in awhile.

Throne of Glass was released August 7, 2012 and is the first of a series. The author also has four published novellas available on the Kindle for those of us who are already craving more!