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.
My thoughts on the book:
The Girl with the Windup Heart is a fantastic end to a terrific series. As many of you know, I absolutely adore steampunk, and Kady Cross is the author who got me into this genre. I was incredibly pleased that Jack Dandy finally got a book of his own, and his story did not disappoint. The character development in this novel is top-notch, and Cross' world-building when discussing the Aether is perfect. The pacing is spot-on, and the switching points-of-view flowed nicely. This book (and series) is a must for steampunk fans.
I'll be honest with you guys... while I am firmly on Team Griffin, when it comes to Finley, I always adored Jack Dandy. I just didn't think he was the right match for Finley. Therefore, I was super excited to read a book about Jack and a new love interest. Mila is a wonderful and unique character. She's more human than many of the human characters out there today, but she's actually part automaton. I was hesitant about the fact that Mila was part robot, more or less, when I started the book because I generally can't connect to those characters as well, but I fell in love with Mila right away. Her way of learning and storing social information is endearing, and her analysis of Jack's ignorance when it came to dealing with women cracked me up. I really enjoyed getting to know her, and I was rooting for her and Jack the entire time.
Cross does an amazing job of painting the settings in this novel. I could clearly picture Piccadilly Circus. It was clear that the author did her research. Victorian Era circuses are always interesting topics in novels, and this one was no exception. The characters working in the circus were intriguing and well-developed; no one felt like a filler character. When we weren't at Piccadilly Circus or Jack's house with Mila, we were in the Aether with Griffin and Finley. Finley really steps up in this novel, and her relationship with Griffin grows immensely. The Aether is a strange place, and Cross did an excellent job of explaining it. I could picture this foreign concept without a problem, which is a testament to the author's world-building skills.
Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys steampunk. The conclusion is satisfying, and I am happy with how everything worked out. I read this entire book in one sitting. I just could not put it down. Be prepared to lose some sleep with this one.
Buy The Girl with the Windup Heart