Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances by Trisha Telep

jadesface's review

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Although this book is all short stories; some of them seem lacking in detail. They also seem juvenially writen. I am enjoying the novel tough. It gives a twist to new and old aged romance. Incorporating technilogy into ages where you would never have seen it, and giving characters who in other books may have been 'evil' good qualities, and personalities. All in all, I'd suggest this book to people who enjoy a quick read.

chloesumner1317's review

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Ah, now these short stories are just my speed. I've read collections edited by Telep before and these delivered about the same level of satisfaction. Each story was probably somewhere around 40 pages, and they pack quite a punch.

Overall the stories were all quite good, though I definitely had a clear favorite, you'll be able to tell.

Rude Mechanicals-One of my favorites, though not the top. I really, really liked Quint, and I thought it was funny that his uncle was Agamemnon only because I find that name one of the most difficult for me to pronounce in my head. The only thing I did not like was that I wish that there would have been a death at the end, rather than what happened.

The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe-Halflings don't tend to show up often, and being of mixed race myself, I really appreciate them. I loved Silka's take no prisoner's attitude, and how it covered the life of her father as well as herself. I also liked the slightly open ending, it was nicely different.

Wild Magie-Also one of my favorites but still not there. Kind of predictable, yes, but still enjoyable. I really liked the idea of a portrait as a doorway, and Pick was quite dashing.

Deadwood-This was slightly meh. I thought the switching perspectives worked well, and the foreshadowing was decent. However the fight scene just read a little bit odd, and the captain was slightly ridiculous. The ending made me laugh a little bit (Also, it's really hard for me to take someone named Michael Scott seriously, being a die hard The Office fan).

Code of Blood-This one grew on me as I was reading. It was a bit confusing to try and figure out, but it was super action packed and really kept me guessing! Pietro was very charming and quick witted, which is honestly how Italian boys get painted a lot, but fine by me! Really liked this one.

The Clockwork Corset-Guessed the plot, but it did come nicely full circle with a detail you wouldn't really think of. Average.

The Airship Gemini-Conjoined twins are a rarity everywhere, especially in YA fiction, so it was a cool topic to be reading about. I thought the author did a good job of exploring the conjoined vs. separated mindsets and the pros and cons to both of them. I actually wanted there to be death at the end of this one too...all of this steampunk is making me slightly morbid apparently. And I kind of didn't like the paranormal twist.

Under Amber Skies-This was brilliant! But still not quite to my favorite. ALMOST there though. The idea of bringing steampunk forward and into Poland was really well done. I thought it was also a really good choice of the author to show the extreme nationalism on a side other than the Nazi's in WWII. The inventions seemed really awesome, and there was some great wordplay. Also, the romance was nicely interweaved.

King of the Greenlight City-OHMYGOSH guys, I wish this was a full length novel. I'm serious. It is such an amazing story. If it was flushed out into a novel I'm telling you, it would be one of my favorite books. This was a really well set up world, everything made perfect sense without going overboard. Alys and Ever made a really passionate couple, and I actually felt myself tearing up a little bit at the end. Opposite sentiment as I had felt for stories previous. I think it's really interesting that the elements and magic are often brought into steampunk, it's a good contrast.

The Emperor's Man-This had quite an interesting plot twist, but other than that it was kind of boring. Oh, the interesting one was not where at the end the narrator is magically a werewolf. You don't need to combine paranormal and steampunk, really. They're quite happy separate.

Chickie Hill's Badass Ride-Honestly, I didn't understand how this was steampunk. It was paranormal for sure and a POC, but I really didn't get steampunk from it. I liked the music references and the lingo, but the plot was kind of boring to me.

The Vast Machinery of Dreams-It was kind of confusing, but I liked following the backtracking of this story. It would paint a picture and then throw paint thinner on it and make you reevaluate. However, the ending was slightly unclear, which is the only thing I would have changed.

Tick Tick Boom-This one was solidly in the middle. After Wild Magic and The Clockwork Corset the affluent female character that rebels was a little bit tired, but she was funny. And it shows you people can often surprise you. This one was by Kiersten White and I really got that from the word choice and sentence structures.

Overall, I would totally recommend this anthology if you're looking for anything steampunked out!

tr_reading's review against another edition

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challenging dark funny mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


j3mm4's review

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I originally got this because I was obsessed with Dia Reeves and in 2011 she had two books out, both of which I had already read. Hers is the eleventh of thirteen short stories in this anthology, but all the stories preceding it are fun reads in their own right, and so are the two that follow. It's been long enough since steampunk was "cool" that I don't remember how much elements of the supernatural were expected as part of the genre but most of these stories contain some element of it, and it's usually well-integrated into the narrative and world building, despite the limited space each story gets - I think the longest one is around fifty pages? The romances subtitle is a little misleading, but in a pleasant way; the stories have space for romancing, and what romancing happens usually fits into the story, but the stories around the romantic elements were enjoyable in their own right. Dia Reeves' story is still a favorite, but I also loved Deadwood, The Clockwork Corset (very on the nose name but also a fun concept), The Airship Gemini, Under Amber Skies, The Emperor's Man, and Wild Magic. Rude Mechanicals, the first story in the anthology, was pretty blah by comparison, but it's a good primer for the applications of the steampunk aesthetic to the romance genre; King of the Greenlit City was the least steampunk-seeming and was pretty much just straight fantasy save for one animatronic servant with a mythological namesake, and The Vast Machinery of Dreams is tied for "why is it here?"ness because as fun as it was, it was Lovecraftian homage, not steampunk. While there's definitely a precedent for steampunk Lovecraft lovechildren, this was not one of those; this was like the child of romance's prior marriage to Lovecraftian homage showing up at the steampunk-romance family reunion. Still a fun read, mostly because Caitlin Kittredge has a great sense of style, but it's here on the thinnest of ice. Tick, Tick, Boom, the final story in the set, had a fun concept but the romance plot's twist ending was pretty meh, largely because the one instance of foreshadowing for it was really lackluster. It has a lot of narrative similarities to an earlier story, The Emperor's Man, which manages to pull off the same general plot of
Spoilerdictator who seized power through genre-specific means has a daughter who sabotages his power because she disagrees with his unethical practices and falls in love with a man who seems to be part of her father's agenda
but the choice in POV character versus love interest works better in The Emperor's Man because its romantic pair manage to be interesting even with the
Spoileridentity shenanigans
at play, while Tick, Tick, Boom does too good a job of making its red herring boring, so the reveal spoils any fun generated beforehand. Code of Blood was a fun read but ended up being neither as enjoyable nor as memorable as its fellow contributions. Despite a few less than perfect landings, this still gets a five because I like to have a good time.

swirlnswing's review

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3.8 stars, if you actually average the ratings I gave each of the separate stories. I enjoyed this quite a bit. Among these stories, there were a good number of hits, for me, and only one I felt was rather poorly executed. All in all, an enjoyable collection.

breecreative's review

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I'm not really sure WHAT to think about this. First, this is my first time reading steampunk. Second, this is my first time reading short stories. I (mistakenly) thought that the best way to dive into steampunk would be to read it bits at a time. But, I'm not really sure that ALL of these stories would be classified as steampunk.

I'm finding it hard to rate this as a whole, though, since I did enjoy about half of the stories, so I guess I'll rate them that way:

1 - Rude Mechanicals by [a:Lesley Livingston|1312879|Lesley Livingston|] (5 stars) - I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It's what I'd think of when considering steampunk romance. It started off slow for me, but once I caught on, I loved it, and it ended too soon for me.

2 - The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe by [a:Frewin Jones|5824383|Frewin Jones|] (3 stars) - I was a bit confused by this one...a bit far-fetched, but enjoyable nonetheless.

3 - Wild Magic by [a:Ann Aguirre|835348|Ann Aguirre|] (5 stars) - Another one that I really enjoyed...obviously with a bit of magic in it (which I don't usually like), but I liked the characters and the idea of the story, I was sad when it ended.

4 - Deadwood by Michael Scott (4 stars) - This one screamed steampunk. I liked it, for the most part...I just found bits of it hard to believe (as if a 16-year-old girl could do what she did when nobody else in the history of Deadwood could). I was willing to give that a pass, though, and then the last 2 sentences of the story brought it back down to a 4 star.

5 - Code of Blood by [a:Dru Pagliassotti|1058653|Dru Pagliassotti|] (4 stars) - This one was probably one of the most entertaining and unique of the stories in the book. What brought it down to 4 stars for me was that many of the words were in Italian and I had a hard time figuring out what was going on for about half the story.

6 - The Clockwork Corset by [a:Adrienne Kress|777907|Adrienne Kress|] (5 stars) - LOVED this one. Everything about it is steampunk. EVERYTHING. I loved, loved, loved it. It ended too soon for me, it could have been a (short) novel...

7 - The Airship Gemini by [a:Jaclyn Dolamore|3009541|Jaclyn Dolamore|] (1 star) - This one was just could have been good, I actually was enjoying it until halfway through, when there was a BIG revelation that just made me mad. I'm OK with bizarre, but this was just...too far.

8 - Under Amber Skies by [a:Maria V. Snyder|445303|Maria V. Snyder|] (4 stars) - Again, another great story. This one had me very excited, but ended strangely. Honestly, if some of these authors had just fleshed their stories out a bit more and finished them properly, they'd have been very successful novels.

9 - King of the Greenlight City by [a:Tessa Gratton|3111338|Tessa Gratton|] (3 stars) - This one was just OK for had good stuff in it, but I didn't really relate it to steampunk so much, except for the clockwork carousel horse mentioned a couple times. I believed the story for the most part, but it ended weird.

10 - The Emperor's Man by [a:Tiffany Trent|345572|Tiffany Trent|] (2 stars) - Interesting premise, but flawed in the execution. Not really very steampunk, in my opinion, except for this mysterious heart that got them to the strange land.

11 - Chuckie Hill's Badass Ride by [a:Dia Reeves|2885316|Dia Reeves|] (1 star) - Terrible, terrible, terrible. Again, not really steampunk in my opinion. White aliens that get mistaken for the KKK, poorly written fight scenes, silly ending. Just all around bad.

12 - The Vast Machinery of Dreams by [a:Caitlin Kittredge|823146|Caitlin Kittredge|] (1 stars) - This is what happened: I had no idea what this story was about. Seriously. I was confused for the entirety.

13 - Tick, Tick Boom by [a:Kiersten White|3027554|Kiersten White|] (2 stars) - This one had potential, but I guessed at the ending about halfway through.

So, I guess all those averaged out, the collection itself gets 3 stars...

fishsauce's review

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Of the thirteen stories in this book, I only really enjoyed three (Frewin Jones' mermaid story, Adrienne Kress' piece, and Caitlin Kittredge's piece -- although the latter would have worked better as a straight-ahead Lovecraft homage without all the extra bits, which felt tacked-on). Several of the other stories had potential, most notably Dru Pagliossotti's and Kiersten White's, but they felt too slow to start and too quick to finish, a problem that plagued most of this collection. It's a bit shocking that pacing should be such a problem for so many veteran authors, but there it is. I also had a few conceptual difficulties with some of the stories; I felt like the rules of the various worlds hadn't always been worked out to any real degree, so I was expecting rabbits to come out of hats to resolve things rather than Chekov's gun, so to speak. In the end I sometimes felt like I was just reading a collection of 'cool little ideas' that were interesting in themselves, but hadn't yet been properly integrated into a narrative.

angelasunshine's review

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Meh. I've just decided that short stories are not my forte.

cem_214's review

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Admittedly I've only read a few of these stories, and I did like them ok. But try as I might I've not been able to get excited about the genre in general. Occasionally I get on with steampunk well...but not often. I'll probably give more of the stories a chance at somepoint, but for now, it's being left half read.

soelo's review

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I just finished Wild Magic by Ann Aguirre this morning and I loved it!