The Girl with the Windup Heart
(Steampunk Chronicles #4)
by Kady Cross
Published: May 27, 2014
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In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin.
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 under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends.
Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.
This is a pretty thick book - 400 pages - yet I finished it in one sitting. When I read a book and then I have to wait for a long time for the sequel, I usually have to reread - or scan - the previous book if I start reading the sequel and have a hard time remembering what happened prior to it. Not the books in this series, though. I found each of them very easy to get into and get myself acquainted with the world and the characters. I guess it's because each book highlights the story of a different character from the same group while facing this one and major conflict in the story. So in a way, whenever each book ends, it has its own finality and not just a cliffhanger.
I loved the Steampunk Chronicles because it has character. I never thought, when I started this series, that I'd get this attached. It has action, plenty of humor, mystery, romance, and it's steampunk! More so, each character is not one you'll easily forget. This "band of misfits" found a family in each other and learned to accept themselves for who they are and not change it no matter how different they are from the rest of society. And I think that's just amazing. Their friendship is bound to last a lifetime even if they go their separate ways at times or head into trouble and save lives using their abilities.
The Girl with the Windup Heart is mostly Jack and Mila's story. We still have plenty of Finley, Griffin, Sam, Emily, Jasper and Wildcat, of course (I don't think it would be complete without one of them). But Mila is a new character who first appeared on The Girl with the Iron Touch and the most recent addition to the group. I loved the Jack Dandy introduced here. Much more than the Jack Dandy in The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy. He may be a dark and dangerous criminal but I know deep inside that he really is a good man. It was only because of his upbringing that he is that way but a lot of his genuine self showed in this final installment of the series. I was really happy to witness that change because it felt big to me! His decision to be true to himself and not do something bad for the sake of his past made me want to cry.
It was pretty easy to wrap up the whole series. As I have said, most of the characters got their chance in the previous books. The main thing to end here is how they are going to defeat The Machinist once and for all. I was a tad bit sad to finally say my goodbyes but it wasn't that hard like I found most endings. I guess I had plenty of time to prepare myself - since book 1! In any case, The Girl with the Windup Heart is a very satisfying conclusion to the series. But it doesn't mean I wouldn't miss this terribly because I will. I already do.