Corsets & Clockwork – Trisha Telep (Editor)

corsets-clockworkOn The Cover: 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!

Published: 2011

Why I Chose It: This collection grabbed my attention when I was searching for works by Maria V. Snyder. When I saw the description and list of authors I knew I had to give it a try!

 


 

The Review:

It is very rare in an anthology to like all of the stories it contains, and yet, somehow it has happened. Yes, there are stories in this collection that are very different from what I usually read, some that puzzled me and some that left me thinking, but all of them fascinated me. This collection could have easily been twice as long and I would have happily read it all. This is an extremely strong collection for anyone who likes fantasy or steampunk stories with a romantic element. It has a really great variety of writing and I can’t wait to check out more works by all of the authors.

Overall Rating: 5 / 5

 

My Favourites:

The Clockwork Corset – Adrienne Kress

I loved this story because it was both a solid romance and a solid steampunk. While this story started slow, it continued to get better and better until the ending, which had me totally head over heels. The ending was beautiful – both for the clockwork corset and the romance story. Kress’ story ended up being really sweet and definitely made me smile long after I was finished reading.

 

Tick, Tick, Boom – Kiersten White

This story could have easily been a full novel. I still kind of want this one to be a novel so that I can read it. I fell in love with Catherine within the first page, and her adventure had me tearing through the remainder of the story. I loved that Catherine built devices using pocket watches, and her involvement with the political world was fascinating. White does an amazing job of leaving you wanting more, and oh, do I want more.

 

King of the Greenlight City – Tessa Gratton

When I put down this book, this is the story I kept thinking about. I loved this story. In such a small writing space, Gratton creates an amazing world that has an incredible amount of detail. Not only was I totally swept away by the space in which the characters existed, the characters themselves were totally endearing. This was such a unique and powerful story, and the ending absolutely shocked me, and I simply cannot stop thinking about it. This was easily my favourite short story in the collection.

 


 

Quotations:

“That was the fascinating thing about iron. It could be crafted to look as delicate as a willow branch but still have all the strength of an oak. In this instance, the platform’s supports had been wrought to appear as twisting vines. The natural and the man-made creating a new kind of beauty.” (The Clockwork Corset, Adrienne Kress)

“From the window of the library in the Promethean Tower, Alys could see the crown of the Seventh. A giant model of the solar system turned there with an audible tick-tick-tick. The planets were gilded and silver-cast, glowing in the sunset all the colors of blood. A scattering of glass stars hung from the clockwork and caught the light too, dazzling her eyes. Each was the size of her skull, but from this distance seemed little more than pinpricks against the sky.” (King of the Greenlight City, Tessa Gratton)

 

The Collection:

Rude Mechanicals – Lesley Livingston
The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe – Frewin Jones
Wild Magic – Ann Aguirre
Deadwood – Michael Scott
Code of Blood – Dru Pagliassotti
The Clockwork Corset – Adrienne Kress
The Airship Gemini – Jaclyn Dolamore
Under Amber Skies – Maria V. Snyder
King of the Greenlight City – Tessa Gratton
The Emperor’s Man – Tiffany Trent
Chickie Hill’s Badass Ride – Dia Reeves
The Vast Machinery of Dreams – Caitlin Kittredge
Tick, Tick, Boom – Kiersten White

Lifemaker – Dean F. Wilson

LifemakerOn The Cover: The Regime is on the hunt, forcing the Resistance to take refuge aboard the Lifemaker, an advanced submarine that houses a special cargo: a handful of women who are can give birth to human children.

To evade the Regime’s own submersibles, all parties must work together, but tensions are high, and not everyone on board is looking out for the greater good.

As they descend into the deeps, they quickly learn that not all monsters work for the Regime.

Published: March 31, 2015

Why I Chose It: I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. I was excited to continue the story and read the next book in the series!

Reviews Of Other Books In This Series:

hopebreakerHopebreaker

 

The Review:

I was initially excited for the premise of this installment. While in the first book we’re on land and focusing on the fight with the Regime, Lifemaker takes us into a completely different realm, and allows us to explore a different setting in a submarine. It also allows the characters to have different interactions, as they’re now locked into a relatively small location for the duration of the book.

The setting of the Lifemaker was incredibly interesting to read about. Wilson really nails down the atmosphere of the submarine, my favourite aspect being the sounds that the Lifemaker makes, and the sounds of the ocean surrounding them. The characters also get edgy and claustrophobic from being in the submarine for months, and Jacob has several thoughts about how much ocean is between him and the surface.  My only complaint is that I felt taken away from the steampunk genre, as it is made very clear that the submarine runs on diesel. While I loved that the characters were surrounded by metal, and that the sounds and fight scenes directly involved these materials, I really missed having that unique technology integrated into the story.

I did appreciate this novel because it focused on the characters. I was particularly excited to see more of Jacob’s character as he evolved. He is being influenced by those around him, and his attitudes about situations are slowly changing. This is shown through Jacob’s inner reflections, but also through his actions and words, and I really enjoyed being able to see his character grow. It was also really great to read about the background of some of the other characters, and gain a better understanding of who they are as a whole.

This novel does have a few shortcomings. There is little introduction to the characters or the war, and has only minor plot development. The novel cannot be a stand alone in that regard. However, as a second title in a series it does extremely well. It furthers many of the characters, and even gives a better understanding of the enemy. It also gives a great segue into the next book, Skyshaker, and I find myself looking forward to reading about their adventures in an airship. I would recommend checking out the first novel, Hopebreaker, and continuing with Lifemaker if you enjoy.

Rating: 3 / 5

Character Development: 4 / 5
Setting & Atmosphere: 5 / 5
Genre: 1 / 5
Plot Development: 2 / 5

Quotations:

“I’d offer to steer this ship, but submersibles aren’t really my thing. Put this tin can on wheels and I’ll drive it across the ocean floor.” (Kindle 1st edition, 2015)

“[They] closed their eyes at that moment before the expected explosion. But it did not come yet; the threat jumped from mine to mine, mocking them. The further they advanced without issue, the more they grew to fear that the stakes were higher. In a sea of a thousand mines, the crew of the Lifemaker had to be lucky a thousand times, but in that same sea, the Regime only had to be lucky once.” (Kindle 1st edition, 2015)

“And it was to the bottom that the vessel now plunged, into the waters that were blacker than any black on land, into a gloom that was more consuming than the deepest night. Were the crew not focused on their frenzied work to stop the steep descent, they might have glanced out one of the many round windows, and they might have thought that they were looking into the black iris of an evil creature – and they might have been right.” (Kindle 1st edition, 2015)