I finished my October Random Read...in November. October seemed to be a really busy month, but I am glad that I stuck with Girl in the Clockwork Collar, because it was a very exciting read.
There will be spoilers in this review for the Girl in the Steel Corset, because Clockwork Collar picks up where book one left off.
Griffin and his friends know they need to help Jasper and decide to travel to America to find out just exactly what crime Jasper has committed and to see if they can help him out of it. Griffin, Finley, and Emily believe he is probably innocent, but they would help him anyway. Jasper in the meantime is back in the clutches of Reno Dalton, the gang leader, he double crossed and left behind when he went to England. Dalton was not the only person Jasper left behind and he is reunited with this person, the love of his life, Mei Xing. Dalton has trapped Mei and placed a clockwork collar around her neck, a device that will squeeze the life out of her if Jasper attempts to double cross him again. To save Mei's life, Jasper is willing to retrieve a device or rather pieces of a device he stole for and from Dalton. When Griffin and company arrive in America, they realize quickly that Jasper is not in jail, but in trouble of a different nature. Together with a lawman from the West, Whip Kirby, they try to prove Jasper's innocence in a murder case and Finley inflitrates Dalton's gang by proving her strength in the fighting ring without Griffin's approval. Can Jasper save himself, Finley, and Mei or will he have to make a desperate choice?
The second book was just as exciting and humorous as the first in the series. I love the mix of steampunk and fantasy and it is nice to read a book in which both the heroes and the heroines are strong. Finley and Emily may not really need Griffin and Sam to physically protect them, but it is also nice to see that the boys are not just weaklings, which can be the case when you have a really strong heroine. I also like that Cross plays up each characters' flaws. Finley is trapped wondering if her dark side will take over, which compensates for her inability to really be injured. Griffin's power over the Aether is matched by his lack of superhuman strength, which makes him feel weak next to Finley and Sam. Jasper has his quickness, but he is also vulnerable due to his loyalty and willingness to trust. I also like that the books could be read separately, but still have very strong plots and they have true endings. The first one did have the cliffhanger of Jasper being taken to America, but it also had a clear ending with their problems with the Machinist.
Favorite Character: I love tough Finley and her constant battle with her darker side. She is loyal and caring while also daring and strong. She can physically take care of herself, but emotionally she is very vulnerable. I also like Emily and her mechanical abilities. It is nice to see a female character with the ability to fix a machine! You also can't help but like the guys in this series and hopefully Jack Dandy will make a reappearance in the next book.
Favorite Quote: "He glanced at Jasper. 'Your window's seen a lot of traffic tonight.' The cowboy chuckled-a hoarse sound. 'Maybe I should put in a toll.'" I like that even during tense moments, Cross provides a bit of humor.
5 cups of cocoa! This was an entertaining read and I love reading a book in which I actually laugh out loud!