Friday, March 8, 2013

The Writer's View - The Strange Case of Finley Jane by Kady Cross

From Goodreads: Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined...

The Writer's View

This was super-fun novella that introduces readers to the steampunk world of Finley Jane. The characters are fun and there are some great action scenes. This story was perfect for the 3-hour commute I had to make! Some of the science was a bit absurd and there wasn't enough time to really delve into the characters, but there's so much action and adventure and the other stuff didn't bother me. I'm hoping there will be more characterization and worldbuilding will be in the next novel, The Girl in the Steel Corset. 
Steampunk Technology

One of the things that always gets me about steampunk books is the technology. I just have a hard time buying a lot of it. In a fantasy world, I know going in that I'm being transported to a new world with new rules. So when some dude shows up and shoots lightning out of his fingers tips, I'm good with it. Steampunk technology is supposed to based on an alternative history of our world. Our rules of science roughly apply to the steampunk world, if in a divergent manner. But I often run into "steampunk science" that is completely absurd and in no way feasible. There were a few cases in this book that set off my "no-way-in-hell-would-that-work" alarm, and I don't consider myself scientifically saavy. I won't go into details because they'll spoil the story. But I have found absurd science to be a theme in a lot of steampunk books.

What do you guys think. Am I over-thinking this, or do you guys also see bizarro science in steampunk books?


  1. I really liked this series! I think I liked this novella more than the first book, but I really loved the second book!

    I am usually okay with things being a tad bit over the top in steampunk, but I do get what you're saying. I think it actually works best when it's a fantasy steampunk, where there are paranormal elements and maybe some magic and stuff. That way things can be a bit more over the top.

  2. I actually don't think I've read a steampunk that works within the confines of science at all. I kind of expect it. Look forward to it even. Like the Darwinist ships in Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. No way is an airship made from the body of a whale possibly scientific. But it's such a cool fantasy add on that I'll forgive it. I think the key is to make the science and fantasy elements seamless. I haven't read this novella but I read the first book in this series and it didn't hit the mark for me the way other books have. Especially with the convenient ending. I think the multiple POVs took a lot of the tension out of it.

  3. I've seen some bizarro science in steampunk books, but they were books that very clearly overlapped with the paranormal world, so I was cool with it :-)

  4. I've been looking at this for a while now, as it pulls up every time I look at something steampunk on Amazon. To be honest most of the steampunk stuff I have read has also been in worlds that allow magic and the two sciences are often blended together to achieve more fantastic results.

    I think that it would be totally possible for me to be thrown off by something happening in a purely technology based world that didn't seem feasible to me, especially if it came as a just in the nick of time saving moment.

  5. I've heard that this series is a bit confusing but I still have the first book. One day I'll read it.