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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (The Steampunk Chronicles)

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar - Kady Cross This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: The cover is very eye-catching and I love the color of the dress and the intricacy of the clockwork collar. I am particularly glad that it was featured as it played such an important role in the novel. I also enjoy the ambiguity of the expression on the model's face. It is difficult to tell just what she is thinking and feeling.The Gist: Having defeated The Machinist, Finley Jayne and her newfound friends have barely a moment to celebrate before Jasper is handcuffed and whisked off back to America to face a murder charge. The team follows him and are thrown into midst of the New York criminal underbelly while Jasper attempts to save himself and the mysterious girl that he left behind. Review: This novel felt much more comfortable than it's predecessor. The characters seem to have worked out some of their issues and we are allowed to experience much more action and adventure rather than melancholy and introspection (though Griffin is still far too moody for my liking). In setting the novel in New York, Cross allowed for the development of Griffin and Finley's relationship without the interference of Griffin's station as Duke or Jack Dandy's advances. Finley also shows a great deal of growth in the acceptance of her abilities and, it is my hope, by the next novel she may have stopped whining about her attraction to the dark side all together. Having established much of the world building in the previous novel, the writing in this one flows much more easily. We are not bombarded by the introduction of machine after machine and those that are described are much more original and, usually, play an integral part in the plot. Cross still shows a weakness for describing clothing and often seems to invent excuses to get Finley and Emily into elaborate dresses. The major flaw in her writing is the repetitiveness. We are constantly reminded that Finley has a dark side, that she enjoys the danger and that they are all worried that the "Jekyll" part of her personality may be becoming dominant. She also has a tendency to repeat descriptive words and phrases (snap like a chicken bone, tear like tissue paper, etc). What made this novel receive 3 stars (as opposed to The Girl in the Steel Corset, which I gave 2 stars) is that the story is interesting enough and the plot fast-paced enough, to overlook this idiosyncrasies.Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: Age 12 and upGender: FemaleSex: NoneViolence: Fighting, Gun-fighting.Inappropriate Language: NoneSubstance Abuse: None