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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review: A Clockwork Christmas - Various Authors



With Christmas nearing as we come near the end of October , I bring you a christmas steampunk anthology . From Carina Press and a Variety of authors - Stacey Gail, PG Forte , Jenny Schwartz and JK Coi. I wish you a Merry "Clockwork Christmas".
Review: A Clockwork Christmas - Stacey Gail, PG Forte , Jenny Schwartz and JK Coi- December 2011
With the current phase of Steampunk genre mixed with the fact that Christmas is nearing quickly, a collection of authors have paired up with Carina Press to bring forth to us a Steampunkery Clockwork Christmas Anthology featuring four short stories from four fabulous authors.
The first story is Crime Wave in a Corset by Stacey Gail , it takes us into the heart of Victorian London where we meet thief Cornelia Peabody - she has made her way and living up from working on the streets as an urchin to stealing valuable resources and items, all is well for her until one night - the week before Christmas, she arrives home to find her safeguard "a flag" has been tripped , somebody has broken into her home. As she enters , she is attacked by a Professor Coddington - according to him , she stole a valuable piece from the Cambridge University - a piece that took her only 10minutes to obtain and now it's come back to bite her on the bum. Coddington catches Peabody with a device "enter the steampunkery feel" that will go off in Seven Days and she will find herself dead if she does not do what she is told. Can Cornelia pull off the crime of a century-retrieve a Faberge Egg and live or will her current situation distract her from the prize and on Christmas Day she finds herself six feet under?
The next story is This Winter Heart by PG Forte , set in the year 1870 we read as Ophelia is chucked out of her house and left for poor , left to raise her son Arthur on her home. After the death of Ophelia's father , she has nowhere to turn and can't bear the thought of her and her son being turned onto the streets in the middle of a cold christmas - herself she can handle, but her eight year old Son Arthur - he had no choice . Being her pride and joy and needing somewhere that can care for him, she swallows her pride and hurt and returns on a ship to Dario with her son Arthur in tow. Sensing a call of duty, Dario feels obliged to let them stay, but due to Ophelia's past he is wary when she claims that Arthur is in fact his son. Desperate to keep them safe but also at a distance, Dario allows the pair to stay at his house till they can get on their feet . However, as we all can realise when a father gets with a boy that may be his son , their hearts together start to beat as one and as we turn the pages we can see the Love poured out between Arthur and Dario. But is the love and bond they develop strong enough to include Ophelia in the mix and will the tension that surfaces between Ophelia and Dario be able to be repaired?
The third story is Wanted: One Scoundrel by Jenny Schwartz - In this short story this time set in the 1800's in good ol' across the ditch Australia , we meet Esme Smith - a suffragette and one for Women's Rights . She is in the market for a man who can weasel himself into the gentlemen's clubs and into the male world to put across her thoughts etc and of course as we discover with Esme -money is no option. Esme enlists her Uncle Henry's help to find the perfect man - Enter Jedidiah Reeves , a man that not only shares Esme's POV but one that also finds her a beaut - as the aussies would say. However , as we are well aware with novels and plans like this one where you fake marry -love always happens and the plan never turns out exactly how you wanted it to go as Jed and Esme are chucked headfirst into a world of politics, blackmailing, kidnapping and dangerous times. Now it's up to Jed to save the day and prove once and for all that under his American exterior he is not a scoundrel and of course that he really is the man for Esme.
Last but not least , is Far From Broken by JK Coi - this tale is set in the world of War, Dancing and Love. It tells the tale of Colonel Jasper who had a plan and was set in his ways until he met Callie - the girl of his dreams , she literally swept him off his feet and turned his life upside down. As a prima Ballerina , Callie lives to dance but tragedy will strike her in an unfortunate way which makes this story feel like Saw/ Inspector Gadget feel to it. When Callie is kidnapped by the enemies and villians that Jasper has been hunting down , she is tortured which as I was reading it - I felt for Callie as she had her whole life ripped apart - I don't know what I would do if I wouldnt be able to write or use my hands, For Callie , they tortured her - destroying her limbs and replacing them with mechanical parts. Her legs, hands and even one of her eyeballs. It seems as when she is rescued she has turned into the Tin Girl or the story of The Patchwork Girl except in this case The Clockwork Girl. Has her heart been hardened and disappeared as she is consumed with anger and raw hatred for Jasper for not saving her in time , for letting her go through this agony and pain and heartbreak. Can Jasper prove to her that he loves her no matter what and that Beauty isnt nessecary what you look like on the outside but what's on the inside that counts ?
As Christmas nears ,we read as Jasper again comes face to face with the villians who destroyed his wife and her nature. By confronting them and dealing with them can he also find it in his heart to save what little life is wife still has and prove to her that no matter what he will always and forever love her .
A Clockwork Christmas was an amazing anthology and trying to come up with a favourite one was difficult as they each brought something different to the writing deck. We had Crime Wave in A Corset which I loved the chemistry between Coddington and Peabody and of course I could imagine the costumery. We had This Winter Heart which shared the love and bonds of Father and Son , Wanted: One Scoundrel which I loved due to the Australian setting as to me it was close to home type story and finally Far From Broken, had that strong theme of Never giving up and Love Never Dies - the passion that was shared despite all odds between Callie and Jasper and as she came out I felt for her and imagined how hard it would have been - its beyond imaginable the pain, hurt and betrayal she felt.



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