A fast-paced steampunk adventure features a band of paranormal teammates who search Victorian streets to find their abducted friend.
Set in 1897 London, this story gets off to a suspenseful start with mechanically gifted Emily escaping a squidlike Kraken that’s attacking her submersible in the Thames; friends Griffin, Sam and Finley come to her aid. Readers of Cross’ series (The Girl in the Steel Corset, 2011, etc.) will recognize her signature blend of kickass-yet-tenderhearted heroines (Emily’s and Finley’s superhuman abilities don’t keep butterflies from their stomachs when around certain males), mechanical contraptions (like automatons and velocycles) and intriguing side characters (meet Mila, a rapidly evolving, more-than-machine creation enriched with the team members’ own genes). When Emily is kidnapped by automatons, her friends must plot her rescue while warding off their own demons, whether in the form of wraiths populating the power-giving Aether or more complex psychological challenges posed by their pasts. Emily, meanwhile, discovers a surprising ally in Mila; their relationship raises provocative questions about where the soul resides and where humanity begins and machinery leaves off. Frequent references to Sam’s broad shoulders and Griffin’s swoon-y properties may irritate some readers, but all will appreciate the gritty, original surrealism of Cross’ steampunk world.
A well-calculated blend of paranormal romance and genuinely innovative story. (Steampunk. 13 & up)