This book picks up shortly after the trip to America. Emily has a way with machines, if only she could get that lug Sam to behave as well as most of her creations. With Griffin distracted by Aether problems, which he refuses to share with Finley, Emily, and Sam. The crew go about their business, up until a visit from Finley's friend Jack Dandy.
At this point in the story it is a good idea to go and read the short novella,the Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy. Told from Dandy's point of view, we learn about his early life, what he thinks and feels, and you come to really like his rakish character. Jack also talks about delivering an automaton to the train station that is as much human as machine. I recommend reading this before finishing The Girl with the Iron Touch.
When Jack tells the crew about the automaton, Emily and Finley investigate. They find nothing, but have the feeling they are being watched in the train station. Shortly after their visit, Emily is captured and meets Jack's automaton along with other automatons who are developing different levels of humanity. Among the automatons is the Victoria one that the Machinist designed. The Machinist who is not completely dead and he has great plans for Emily. Will Emily's friends find her in time and what will she sacrifice to save her friends and the world?
I love the characters in this series and it was great to have some insight into Emily's character and Sam's. Even though Emily has a little more point of view in this one than the other characters, you still get to know more of Finley and Griffin's romance. I also like learning more about Jack Dandy from the novella and he is even more complex than the first book makes out. I liked that this one seemed to be a return to the original plot, although I did like book two, this one seemed more exciting and leaves you wanting to know what will happen next.
Favorite Character: I love both Finley and Emily. They are two strong heroines that will do whatever it takes to protect those they love. Emily's not physically strong, but emotionally strong and very intelligent. Finley is the physically strong one and she embraces both sides of her personality.
Favorite Quote: "A little suspense is good for the digestion." "Happiness is an individual pursuit."
"I don't want him to stand in front of me and shield me. I want him to stand beside me. With me."
I love Cross's writing style and the characters she creates. These books are full of powerful female heroines who are strong in every possible way. Definitely 5 cups of cocoa and I can't wait for the next one!