Sunday, September 30, 2012

Corsets & Clockwork: Part 1

In the spirit of trying something a little different and due to the fact that my crazy life lately means less time to be reading novels, I've decided to have sort of mini-reviews from time to time as I make my way through short story collections.

I'm currently making my way through Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances (Running Press, 2011). I'm new to all of the authors featured in this collection as well as the world of steampunk, so this has been an interesting read so far.

Story: Rude Mechanicals
Author: Lesley Livingston
Summary: Quintillius Farthing loves the theatre and working for his uncle, but is frustrated by the dismal future he sees coming of his chosen profession. When a mysterious man builds an Actromatron to be the perfect actress and revive the theatre, he challenges Quint to direct her.
Thoughts: What a weird and fantastical concept! The story and situation is built up well, and I could empathize with Quint's desire for love and art. While I felt like the story's ending was a bit on the abrupt side, that's not uncommon with short stories. There was a twist I predicted, but it played out alright.

Story: The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe
Author: Frewin Jones
Summary: Silka, a half-mermaid half-human unaware of her aquatic heritage, makes her way from the small town where she's never been allowed to leave her house to London, searching for her true love and eating men who try to harm her along the way.
Thoughts: This is not a story for the squeamish, that's for sure. Readers learn all about Silka's twisted beginnings with a cruel father, and I actually came to sympathize with her a bit as the story went on. Not that I condone Silka's eating people, but it wasn't entirely her fault. The voice was gritty and the story provoking.

Story: Wild Magic
Author: Ann Aguirre
Summary: Pearl has been born into the aristocracy and with magical abilities her family would rather pretend didn't exist, but when a boy named Pick tells her she is the key to helping the lower (and magical) class, she learns to control her abilities, celebrate what makes her different, has adventure, and falls in love.
Thoughts: I was so disappointed when this story ended because I loved it! This was perhaps the most 'traditional' romance in the collection so far, and Aguirre did such a great job building Pearl, her world, and this incredible situation. This story was less steampunky than the others, but was still very Victorian and I wish I could know what happens next!

So that's it from me for this time. Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

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