corsets & clockwork review (part one)

How can you tell that a genre has ‘arrived?’ Specifically, how do you know that steampunk has arrived? I got a clue when I heard that a young adult steampunk anthology was on its way, and that several bestselling authors contributed stories to it. Way to go, steampunk! You’re all grown up and fabulous.

The anthology I’m talking about is Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances, edited by Trisha Telep and published by Running Press in April of this year. I’ll be breaking up my review into two parts over two days for steampink (and because there were THIRTEEN stories, and my blog posts, while long, usually aren’t quite that long). Without further ado: Corsets & Clockwork!

Dark, urban fantasies come to life in the newest collection of Steampunk stories, Corsets & Clockwork. Young heroes and heroines battle evils with the help of supernatural or super-technological powers, each individual story perfectly balancing historical and fantastical elements. Throw in epic romances that transcend time, and this trendy, engrossing anthology is sure to become another hit for the fast-growing Steampunk genre!

This collection features some of the hottest writers in the teen genre, including: Ann Aguirre, Jaclyn Dolamore, Tessa Gratton, Frewin Jones, Caitlin Kittredge, Adrienne Kress, Lesley Livingston, Dru Pagliassotti, Dia Reeves, Michael Scott, Maria V. Snyder, Tiffany Trent, and Kiersten White.

“Rude Mechanicals” by Lesley Livingston

This first in the collection is a little tale with many references to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, much like Livingston’s other Bard-influenced fairy adventures. However, it suffers from too-flowery prose and too little charm. It is either saccharine sweet or I am a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic (or all of the above).

“The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe” by Frewin Jones

A disturbing and darkling thing, this yarn…and yet full of allure and mischief as well. Contains both fairy tale and steampunk elements to good effect. Entertaining and elusive, just as a short story ought to be. Probably my favorite of the collection.

“Wild Magic” by Ann Aguirre

A classic forbidden romance between classes, which also pits magic against technology, and disenfranchised natives against privileged invaders, is the foundation of this entry. Predictable and sweet, it’s sure to please fans of YA paranormal romance.

“Deadwood” by Michael Scott

Old West, meet steampunk. This tale introduces two characters in an adventure too brief to do them justice. It feels a bit like the film Wild, Wild West, and skimps on personal development to describe a world that we might like better if we had more time in it.

“Code of Blood” by Dru Pagliassotti

A rousing adventurette set in Venice in the time of Napoleon, this story mixes steampunk with alchemical and magical elements. The third person narrative is a bit clunky, but the main characters are feisty and the result is fairly pleasing.

“The Clockwork Corset” by Adrienne Kress

A funny little story, in more than one sense. It’s slightly comical, and also a bit strange. Not sure what to think, but I do know that the privileged girl falling for lower class boy trope is getting a solid workout in this anthology!

Takeaways from this adventure in review writing: 1) READ “The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe” if you don’t read anything else in this anthology. Totally awesome. 2) If you haven’t already, enter for a chance to win this book! 3) Check out steampink, and come back tomorrow for my mini-reviews of the rest of Corsets & Clockwork!

I received Corsets & Clockwork for review from Running Press. I have not been compensated, except that I got to read a fun story collection. Hurrah!


Tales of Whimsy said...

I NEEED this book. Great review(s).

Andrea said...

I'm not a fan of short story anthologies for some reason. I was when I was a teenager though. But I might have to give this a go anyway.

Jamie Kline (Bookerella) said...

This has been on my radar for awhile, so thanks for your great review!! Usually I don't like to read short story anthologies, but this actually sounds pretty good (and I'm a huge fan of steampunk anything!)

Jamie @ Bookerella

Anonymous said...

This looks awesome I need to get or I might cry.

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