Published: April 2011
Rating: overall: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it!
In the Victorian era of possibility and discovery, the boundaries of love, passion, and power are unavoidably pushed to the brink. Feisty heroines and genius inventors, supernatural outcasts and idealistic heroes alike prowl through dangerous streets of soot-choked cities of industry, lured by a rhythmic tick…tick…tick. True love awaits those brave enough to seek it, piece by spring-loaded, electromagnetic super-charged piece.
In this seductive collection of steampunk tales, technomagical and natural desires collide with humanity on the line. Strap into the airship and hold tight as today’s hottest and most imaginative voices transport you to an epoch of old-world adventure and newfound love.
Rude Mechanicals by Lesley Livingston
Really liked this short story about a theatre company that employs an Actromaton (think: robot) to be their Juliet in a showing of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Only things don’t quite go as planned when the Actromaton’s programming takes the death scene too far as she believes the play is reality. Shows that you should always be careful what you wish for!
The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe by Frewin Jones
Mermaids! Sort of. One of the longer stories in the anthology, this one is all about a half-mermaid who wants nothing more than to get to London town to find her true love. If she happens to eat a few men along the way, well, she was never taught any better. The writing is wonderfully descriptive in this piece, and there is a great attention to detail.
Wild Magic by Ann Aguirre
While still being wonderfully steampunk, I found this story focused more on the magic side of the genre rather than the technical. Dealing with the world of faerie, our heroine Pearl realizes that true love can conquer all and that her station in life does not define who she is as a person. To her, love and magic are worth more than station and money any day.
Deadwood by Michael Scott
One of my favourites! It’s one of the shorter stories in the anthology, but features a kick-ass female character who knows how to take care of herself, airships, pirates and an old-west style town and shoot-out. Also, two characters from old-west history that made me grin and want so much more!
Code of Blood by Dru Pagliassotti
Taking place in an alternate Venice style city (I seem to be reading about Italy a lot lately) this short story involves alchemy, elemental magic, traditions and a French invasion. By Napoleon. Yupp, Napoleon. Chiara has to make her way through the city to find help from the Guild of Alchemists while staying away from the French who want to kidnap her to use as ransom against her grandfather. There’s a lot of great action sequences in this one.
The Clockwork Corset by Adrienne Kress
Very neat concept in this one. I really liked the main character Imogen, and the interactions between her and the characters. And of course the plot of girl-dresses-as-boy in order to go to war to look after her sweetheart is always a good one. Great pace and good imagery help make this one good short story.
The Airship Gemini by Jaclyn Dolamore
I really wanted to know more with this one. All the action takes place on an airship, and I would have loved to see what the world was like since it includes not just magic and technology, but creatures such as vampires as well. Great characterization and emotion in this one!
Under Amber Skies by Maria V. Snyder
I highly enjoyed this story. Zosia is living in Poland during the war with Germany, and her inventor father has disappeared. The tech elements were fantastic, and I was blown away by the twist at the end. Zosia is tough, smart and willing to do what it takes to protect herself and those she loves. Good imagery and writing had me breezing through the story, enthralled.
King of the Greenlight City by Tessa Gratton
Completely new cities in this one! Very nice mix of technology and magic, and really good characterization. Ever’s and Alys’ voices were loud and clear. I was shocked by the ending, and saddened. I mean, it fit and was perfect for the story but still. Sad. I would love to read more in this universe, and I am in love with Tessa Gratton’s writing style.
The Emperor’s Man by Tiffany Trent
Very interesting concept of traveling into another realm via science and alchemy. A little confusing in a few spots about the creatures and the action at the end, but overall a very well-told story that has some great world building.
Chickie Hill’s Badass Ride by Dia Reeves
This short story takes place in the same town as her two novels, but in the past. We get to see more of the monsters and magic that make up Portero, and the two main characters are wonderful. Their voices were loud and strong, and I was instantly drawn in to their story. The language of the time period was spot on and not forced at all. Great action and a nice mix of technology.
The Vast Machinery of Dreams by Caitlin Kittredge
This one’s in a bit of a different format than a straight narrative and I’m not sure what I thought of it. I enjoyed the concept and the writing, but I was a little confused by the story and how it flowed. Still, I think it was interesting and kind of makes you want to read it again and again to make sure you’ve caught all the little details.
Tick, Tick, Boom by Kiersten White
Great little story about a girl defying her father and station by creating technological marvels (read: bombs) that will help in the revolution against the way factories are run. Once again we have a girl dressing as a boy to protect herself, and a nice twist at the end for our heroine had me chuckling and smiling.
Copy received from Running Press in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!