Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: The Girl With The Windup Heart by Kady Cross

The Girl With The Windup Heart by Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #4
Genre: Steampunk
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London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End's most dazzling circus

Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks, The Machinist will claim control of the Aether, and no one in either world will be safe.

This is actually the third series that I've finished recently that was a major letdown. (At least it wasn't as bad as the other two, but it's still a disappointment.)

The plot seems very threadbare and, really, comes off more as a vehicle to neatly wrap everything up than an actual plot. There's actually two unconnected 'plots' in this story.

The first is the romance between Mila and Jack. I actually found it more…annoying than I wanted to because these are two of my favorites from the series. I've liked Jack since way back when he was first introduced in The Girl in the Steel Corset and had been so looking forward to finally getting his story. I would have been happier without because he's turned into a typical TA 'bad boy'. Mila has a story arc that I always like the idea of and this is no exception. It could have been interesting, but it wasn't. Really, their romantic trials would have been over in ten pages if they'd just communicated with each other - after all, it's not like they were doing anything else. Say, anything plot relevant.

In the other story we have their old nemesis Garibaldi showing back up and, dastardly enough, kidnapping Griffin.

Oh, and Finley's attempts at rescuing him.

For over two hundred pages of this four hundred page book, Fin is attempting solo mission after solo mission to save her boyfriend. Yes, there's a reason for it, but it just highlights how much this series that used to be about a ragtag bunch of misfits - they only family they have - saving each other (and the day) becoming a one woman mission.

It's frustrating because I know this series can make the people work together. Like they did last book.

However, I shouldn't compare anything in The Girl with the Windup Heart to anything in The Girl with the Iron Touch, because this book fails on many, many levels.

Besides all this, we have little to no action in this book. Basically, the plot has handily tied Fin's hands, which is a shame, considering that when we first meet her she is kicking a lecher. The action seemed to only exist in the realm of 'let's tie up all plotlines with a pretty bow.' And I do mean all plotlines. Some that I didn't even know needed to be tied up got the ribbon treatment.

The characters were…difficult in this book. I've never kept it a secret that Griffin and Finley were not my favorites in the series, and, curiously enough, besides the Mila/Jack story, this book focuses almost exclusively on them.

However, I can't shake the feeling that even they got worse in this book. Finley spends much of the book…well, to use her own word, pissy. She's looking for a fight the entire time and arguing with anyone that she can find. (Even before Griff was kidnapped, she was acting that way.) What's really heartbreaking though, is how the only person that argues with her, is Emily. Her closest 'friend.' I used to love the unlikely friendship these two girls formed, but in this book it was constant sniping at each other.

Without a doubt, in this series, one of my favorite things (that and the 'superpowers' the characters have) was the group dynamics. Well, in this book the group is seldom together and there's no playing to their strengths. Also, the abilities that these people have, seem to be not quite as unique as we originally thought.

All in all, a lackluster finale to an awesome series.
Seriously, if you like this series, just imagine the ending. (You'd be better off.)