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Philip José Farmer
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The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles, #0.5)

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles, #0.5) - Kady Cross Three words that have stuck in my head since reading this short story/ novella: lackluster, disappointing, and uncertain.I haven't read Kady Cross before, but I bought "The Girl in the Steel Corset" and thought, since this little prequel was free on Kindle, that I'd pick it up and read it as well. The three words I used previous to describe it, highlight each of the three issues I found with this story.First of all, steampunk is one of the most exciting genres to catch on in YA fiction thus far. It has the potential to be as big as dystopian fiction. Steampunk, for those who do NOT know, is most commonly set in the Victorian period of history and follows closely the society, culture, fashion, and social morays of the period. It also combines a sci-fi element of the authors and thinkers of the period: HG Welles, Jules Verne, etc. So, as an example, it might have robots in it, which are a futuristic element, but they would be more artistic in design and would be called automatons. The joy of steampunk, to me, is the wonder those authors, thinkers, and artists imagined of the future. The delicious cogs, brass decorations, and delightful machines serve as elements to draw us into the strange and wonderful universe that is steampunk. I say this story is lackluster, because even though Cross does include elements of the steampunk genre, she does nothing to highlight the wonder it has to offer. Instead, the machines and language of the period fall short of all they could convey.I say the story is disappointing because even though it was obvious the author did a lot of research on the time period, there were two things she failed at: slang and dialog. Words like icky, racy, pissed, and ruckus, not only do not hale from the time period, they are AMERICAN slang and have nothing to do with English high society. The dialog is also so modern as to be distracting. I also found it insulting, as a YA fiction reader, to read language that was so simplistic a jr. higher could read it. I know that Kathryn Smith (the writer using Kady Cross as alias) writes adult romances, but I have to ask, does she read YA fiction AT ALL??? How can anyone take her seriously when her characters think and talk much younger than they are purported to be?I say the story is uncertain, because in my opinion, it should never have been a short story, it should have been a novel. If it was a novel, perhaps Cross could have taken more time to flesh out her characters, build a proper world and really draw the reader into the story. Perhaps she does that in her other story featuring Finley Jayne -who has the potential to be a wonderful character, if given the proper attention. I hope so.