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Corsets & Clockwork: Thirteen Steampunk Romances

July 24, 2011

Corsets and Clockwork is a brand new collection of thirteen steampunk romance stories brought together by editor Trisha Telep. This is the first steampunk fiction I’ve ever read and it really has left me wanting more. There are some fantastic stories in this collection, many of which are written by some of the biggest names in fantasy today. Here is an overview of the stories and my rating for each one:

Rude Mechanicals by Lesley Livingston

There are many references to Romeo and Juliet in this one. Quintillius Farthing works at his uncle’s theatre and finally meets his Juliet in the form of a beautiful clockwork girl, but everything goes a little wrong when she takes her role of Juliet a little too seriously. Very well told & I really enjoyed it. 4/5

Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe by Frewin Jones

A very dark tale about a man who captures a mermaid from the sea and keeps her for himself, only to die in childbirth. The man raises Silka himself, keeping her in a cage and feeding her stories of how he will one day find his true love in the big city. When Silka gets older, she eats her father and heads for the city herself, where she meets a thief named Toby. Could he be her one true love? Or maybe her true love isn’t a person at all… This was definitely my favourite story of the collection. 5/5

Wild Magic by Ann Aguirre

An upper-class young girl namedPearlfinds a hidden door into the world of Faery where she meets a handsome fae named Pick, and finds her true purpose in life. I found this one pretty good but it didn’t grab me in the way some of the others did. 3.5/5

Deadwood by Michael Scott

Martha Burke’s brothers have disappeared so she takes it upon herself to scour the country looking for them. During her journey she meets JW who has his own secrets to hide. The airship is brought down in the town of Deadwood, a place where there are no laws, and only the most dangerous people live. Together, JW and Martha must rescue everyone and get them out of this hellhole of a town. If you like the TV series Deadwood you will love this, especially when a certain revelation of who these characters actually are comes to light! Brilliantly told and very gripping, Martha was a fantastic independent female character who everyone will like. 5/5

Code of Blood by Dru Pagliasotti

Veniceis being invaded by the French and the only person who can help save this city is the doge’s granddaughter who can control the air elementals. I found this one very slow and it was probably my least favourite. 2/5

Clockwork Corset by Adrienne Kress

Sixteen-year-old Imogen realises her growing affections for her childhood friend. But when he is called away to war she risks her own life by taking on the disguise of a boy and joins up to fight as well, so as she can protect the man she loves. But when things go awry it is up to the boy, a young clock-maker, to use his own talents to save Imogen’s life. 4/5

Airship Gemini by Jaclyn Dolamore

A pair of Siamese twins and freak-show performers are aboard a ship across theAtlantic, where a renowned mage who is hungry for more fame and power, tries to convince them into letting him separate them. When they refuse, the mage involves the fate of one of their dearest and oldest friends. Very sad in places, but ultimately very entertaining and well written. 4/5

Under Amber Skies by Maria V. Snyder

Set in war-timePoland, a young girl, daughter of a local inventor hasn’t seen her father in a very long time. Her mother tells her that he is working towards something important in the depths of their old barn, but when she discovers that her father isn’t even there and hasn’t been for a long time, she realises the purpose for these clockwork creations and how she can no longer trust her mother. This was a very unique story and thoroughly enjoyable. 4/5

King of the Greenlight City by Tessa Gratton

In theGreenlightCity, one person may only have one magical elemental, but Ever has two, leading him to enlist the help of Titan. I couldn’t really get into this one unfortunately. 2/5

Emperor’s Man by Tiffany Trent

Corporal Reed’s job is to look out for Princess Athena and keep her safe at all times, but when doing so he discovers the truth about Athena, the world he lives in and ultimately what he is. Full of magic and intrigue, a powerful story. 4/5

Chickie Hill’s Badass Ride by Dia Reeves

It’s 1961, a world where black people must live separately to the white people. Chickie Hill almost cares more for his car than his new love interest Sue Jean. But when the mysterious nine-lived start stealing children, it’s up to this young couple to save the whole town, and bridge the gap between the two races. Fairly well done and original but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the other stories. 3/5

Vast Machinery of Dreams by Caitlin Kittredge

Aspiring writer, Matt, meets Isabelle one day in a movie theatre who somehow becomes his muse, fuelling his imagination to write. But Isabella is anything but human and relies on Matt’s stories to feed her and those of her kind. Very confusing and it kept switching about a lot. This was the weakest story of them all, I thought. 1/5

Tick, Tick, Boom by Kiersten White

The daughter of Lord Ashworth has very different ideas to her father, and spends her time building bombs that will ultimately sabotage her father’s factories. Through doing so, she meets a mysterious masked man who she falls head over heels for. But when he reveals his identity she realises she’s not the only one with secrets. 4/5

This really was a brilliant collection of steampunk stories, and a great introduction to the genre for those, like me, who haven’t read anything like it before. I will certainly be looking into reading more work by the authors of the stories I enjoyed the most such as Michael Scott and Frewin Jones. I bought this title on my Kindle for 99p and I have to say, you certainly get a lot for your money! Sometimes, short stories lack a good plot and end up becoming a sort of monologue of someone’s feelings, but this collection was really enjoyable with unique plots and characters in each story. I can remember each one of them very well and it was about a week ago that I read this now! I did worry when I bought this, that with the word ‘romance’ being in the subtitle of this collection, that it would be a slushy sickening badly written collection of romantic stories. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the romance didn’t take over any of the stories and it didn’t become cheesy at all. I’d highly recommend this to anyone looking for something a little different.

Corsets & Clockwork is out now, published by Robinson, and is still currently 99p on Kindle so if you do have a Kindle you can’t not get it at this price!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2011 02:10

    While I haven’t read a whole lot of steampunk I’ve read some and enjoyed what I have read. The best steampunk story I’ve read is the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. Leviathan is the first book, Behemoth is the second, and the final book Goliath is scheduled to come out this fall. They’re a lot of fun and very interesting because there are illustrations for every chapter in the books and it’s really interesting to see some of the drawings of the creatures and machines that Westerfeld describes in the books.

    • July 25, 2011 11:15

      I’ve heard lots of great things about that series so I must check it out now! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂 I was surprised at how much I enjoyed these stories. They were so obscure and lots of fun, so I definitely want to make an effort to read more steampunk! Thanks for your comment 🙂


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