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Book Review: The Girl With the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

Another steampunk book coming atcha – The Girl With the Iron Touch! Another foray into the mysterious world of London where automatons and organities creep in the night.

Book Review: The Girl with the Iron Touch

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the girl with the iron touch kady cross

Title & Author: The Girl with the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles) by Kady Cross

Genre: YA –

Release Date: May 28, 2013

Series: Steampunk Chronicles #3

Publisher: Harlequin TEEN

How I Got the Book: ARC via NetGalley


“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….”

Get Your Daily Dose of Steampunk

I have been a fan of Kady Cross’ Steampunk Chronicles from book 1 (The Girl with the Steel Corset), so I’ve come to love the awesome steampunk-ness of this series and the motley crew of characters.

Even though The Girl in the Clockwork Collar didn’t suffer from the second-book syndrome, there was a little something missing from The Girl With the Iron Touch.

Let’s start with good stuff: In The Girl With the Iron Touch, the action and adventure has a strong center on Emily, our beloved Irish automaton-maker with the fine, ropey hair. Sam is being just as dense as ever about his feelings for Emily, and when she’s kidnapped from Griffin’s home, shizz gets real for this will-they, won’t-they couple.

I love Emily and Sam. They are super cute and taking it slow. There’s not a whole lot of spicy moments between them, but I think that’s ok. They’re romance is different from Finley and Griffin’s, and I like the change-up.

Plus, there’s ton of steampunk to go around. The book starts off with an evil octopus strangling the life out of a submarine the crew is trying to escape from. YES! And, there’s always the new automaton invention from Emily and the speeding velocycle from Griffin.

I also really liked the addition of a new character that I can already tell we’re going to see more of in future books. I assummed this was the last book in the series, as most YA books cap out at three, but I just read on Goodreads that there will be five books total of the Steampunk Chronicles, not including the prequel novella.

Lost Some Steam

The main trouble with The Girl With the Iron Touch is that it lost some of it’s steam (pun intended) about halfway through. I found myself pushing through the story and struggling to find the spark that started it all.

I think part of the problem is that two books into the story, there starts to be some overlap in themes and tropes. For example, Griffin has consistently been the protector of the group and the leader. He and Finley have been going back and forth in several books about how she can take care of herself, and Griffin says how he knows that but still wants to prevent her from harm.

So in this book, when this whole pattern is repeated in a different way, I just got bored. It’s a trope that Harry Potter almost killed to death (although J.K. can do no wrong in my book), and this series is repeating the same types of things.

There are a few other instances where the lack of surprise and newness is a disappointing.


I enjoyed “seeing” these awesome characters again. They’re so interesting and fun, and I liked how this book focused on the machine-speaker Emily. The Girl with the Iron Touch still has all the steampunkness a reader could want and ask for but seemed to lose some momentum in its storytelling.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.