Genre: YA, Steampunk
Publisher: HarperTeen on May 28th, 2013
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken…
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.
The third installment in Kady Cross’s Steampunk Chronicles is, in my opinion, the best one yet. You can really see the character development in the main crew, but also with the more secondary characters.
Finley has become more sure of herself as she begins to understand that fusing her dual natures wasn’t necessarily a mistake. She still possesses the best aspects of her former selves: she is compassionate and strong, ruthless and nurturing.
Finley’s BFF Emily has also made some serious strides since book one, made even more evident by her narrative voice. Emily’s scientific curiosity is a wonderful addition to the series because unlike some steampunk offerings, we can see the all-important steam technology and automatons being built and fine-tuned. It’s nice to know where all those gadgets come from. Even Emily’s kind-of boyfriend Sam was less annoying in this book than the previous ones. I can actually understand why she likes him so much now.
As for the series’ other main romantic relationship, it was nice to see Finley make a very clear choice between the two young men vying for her attention. I’m a fan of Griffin, because he challenges Finley to think more rationally and morally about some of her actions. That said, I was a little taken aback by what occurred between them at the end of the novel. Was I the only one who thought it was more than a little rushed? I get that Finley is her own woman and marches to the beat of her own drum, but the series is set during the Victorian era.
I also really enjoyed the exploration of the aether – what it is and the consequences of Griffin’s continued use of it. Before this book, we had been told of how dangerous the aether was, how many people had warned Griffin away from it, etc. etc. But, I never felt like we had actually been shown what was so bad about it. Seeing Griffin’s suffering, as awful as it was, really helped support the idea that the aether is dangerous. There was actually a pretty strong sense of danger and urgency throughout the entire book, particularly with the return of the Mechanist. That guy is creepy as hell. I’m looking forward to the next confrontation between him and our gang.
With more developed characters and a strong plot, this novel was a win for the steampunk genre. Somewhat abrupt romantic developments aside, “The Girl With the Iron Touch” was a compelling read and I look forward to the next book in the series.
Thank you to Harper Teen and Kady Cross for sending me a finished copy of this novel. No compensation was provided for this review, and my opinions are my own.