Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances

Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances - Trisha Telep, Maria V. Snyder, Tiffany Trent, Kiersten White, Jaclyn Dolamore, Tessa Gratton, Caitlin Kittredge, Adrienne Kress, Lesley Livingston, Dru Pagliassotti, Dia Reeves, Michael Scott, Ann Aguirre, Allan Frewin Jones Overall there were only four stories out of the thirteen that I really loved in this anthology, I like to see happy endings and many of these shorts did not have this. They were also pretty dark and depressing to me. But those four stories were amazing which is why I give this anthology a three instead of a two. You can see my thoughts on each story below.


Rude Mechanicals by Lesley Livingston:
A story about a young man who grew up in the theatre and now directs. The theatre business is failing until a stranger approaches them with a wonderful creation that may save The Aurora but could also cost Quint his life.
Good short story, but extremely short – 24 pages. I liked the MC Quint, I do wish the end was more detailed though with Sapphy.
Rating – 3 (Good)

The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe by Frewin Jones:
A dark tale of a girl who was born of both land and sea, but knew nothing of either. Her father held her mother captive until she died during childbirth and then kept Selka a prisoner as well until he mistook her one-day for her dead mother and she ate him. She then goes in search of London and her true love but finds men with evil intentions and an unlikely friend along the way. This is a somewhat disturbing short story (43 pages) of rape, cannibalism and abuse.
Rating - 1 (Not for me)

Wild Magic by Ann Aguirre:
An enchanting tale of magic and the prejudice between the Wild court and the great houses all centered around one extraordinary girl. The Ferisher are like the Fae, possessing magic and glamour. They came to this land and the four princes and princesses from the great houses had to intermarry to save themselves. Now, they disparage their mix heritage of magic and have turned to technology, leaving those who possess a great ability outcast. Pearl can resurrect the magics of their past, but will the Wild let her survive to see her dreams to fruition?
I really enjoyed this story, the main characters and the world built around them. Though I would of liked to read more about the history this world was built on I understand details have to be limited in short stories. 39 Pages.
Rating – 4 (Loved it)

Deadwood by Michael Scott
An action-packed airship adventure set around a young girl searching for her brothers and the young man she meets who is a shootist and a gambler. When none other then the Captain himself takes down their air ship they must work together to save the passengers and orphaned children from being held captive and forced to work in the minds.
This was a wonderful short story, 28 pages, full of action and adventure with characters that I would love to see more of.
Rating – 4 (Loved it)

Code of Blood by Dru Pagliassotti
A sweet story about a small republic gifted with elemental powers and steam engine technology. The French are invading their town, taking by surprise on their holy day. After Chiara’s grandfather falls to a bullet she must make her way to the Guild if they are to have any chance against the French.
The world building was a little confusing and too detailed for such a short story, 49 pages, but the dialogue between characters was enjoyable and Chiara and Pietro brought a smile to my face.
Rating – 3 (Good)

The Clockwork Corset by Adrienne Kress
A beautiful tale about a girl who grew up on a house filled with clocks, the boy she grew up with and the promises that they made to each other.
I really enjoyed Imogen (though not her name =P) and Rafe, the clockwork inventions he made and Imogen’s loyalty to him. It was a full story packed into a small space, 40 pages.
Rating – 4 (Loved it)

The Airship Gemini by Jaclyn Dolamore
This is a moving story about siamese twins, Faith and Patience, who’ve had a rather sad upbringing being paraded around as a freak show for their ‘Aunt’ to make money. They are performing on the airship Gemini; surrounded by mages, the fey, vampires and even werewolves when they are faced with a choice to remain together or be separated.
Good story, 28 pages, with an interesting array of characters.
Rating – 3 (Good)

Under Amber Skies by Maria V. Snyder
A young polish girl’s father has been locked in the basement making war inventions and she hasn’t seen him in months. When she is confronted in town my natzis posing as polish officials she must accept help from the boy who abandoned her and rescue her mother.
This short story (35 pages) was well written and had unexpected twists but it was dark and disturbing.
Rating – 2 (Okay)

King of the Greenlight City by Tessa Gratton
A fire prince learns he can fly. When he goes into the city to meet his betrothed he finds love and an ostracized king that can teach him how to use his powers. But the king soon asks for more then Ever is willing to give.
An interesting short story, 24 Pages, but a bit confusing and I couldn’t connect with the characters. I also did not like the sad ending, which this anthology has in abundance.
Rating – 2 (Okay)

The Emperor’s Man by Tiffany Trent
After a secret experiment went wrong a hole was ripped in time and space causing the whole of London to be transported to the land of Faery.
The plot is original and the concept interesting but the story just didn’t pull it off for me. It didn’t hold my attention and it was another dark tale with an abrupt ending. -30 pages
Rating - 1 (Not for me)

Chickie Hill’s Badass Ride by Dia Reeves
Chickie always had a way with inventing things but when the nine-lives attack his friends and kidnap young boys he intercedes on his girlfriends behalf and risks changing the world.
Set in the 60’s with segregation a main topic this young couple deals with social issues and scary creatures. -33 pages
Rating - 1 (Not for me)

The Vast Machinery of Dreams by Caitlin Kittredge
Matt longs to be a writer. He has been kicked out of school, fired from jobs and disciplined by his father for daydreaming but he can’t seem to help it. When he enters a movie theatre and meets Isabelle the stories come with intensity and he needs to be around her to set them free. But Isabelle is not human and needs him and his stories to feed her race.
Very short (17 pages ) and confusing story that kept re-starting at ‘This is what happened:’ so you never were quite sure what really happened.
Rating - 1 (Not for me)

Tick, Tick, Boom by Kiersten White
Catherine Ashbury is no ordinary empty-headed heiress; she secretly makes clockwork weapons to aid the rebellion against factory conditions and anything that will annoy her father. When she meets a mysterious buyer though, her life becomes even more exciting, and dangerous.
This short story, 25 pages, held my attention the entire time. The writing was captivating, the story entertaining and the characters interesting.
Rating – 5 (Perfect!)