Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.
Short story collections are often uneven affairs, whether there is one author or, as in this case, nine. Clockwork Fairy Tales is a group of fairy and folk tale retellings that succeed to varying degrees in both the retelling and the attempt to create a Steampunk world. While opinions on which are the most successful may vary depending on the reader, I found that there were four that far outstripped the rest.
The Hollow Hounds by Kat Richardson, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Tinderbox,” The Clockwork Suit by G.K. Hayes, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” The Steampiper, the Stovepiper, and the Pied Piper of New Hamelin, Texas by Gregory Nicoll, based on the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and The Mechanical Wings by Pip Ballantine, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Wild Swans.”
Two are set in Civil War era America and are gritty Steampunk westerns, one is set in an unnamed Empire, and the last in a sovereign floating city and the broiling earth beneath.
La Valse by K.W. Jeter, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Red Shoes,” nearly joins them as a fifth “best of.” It tops the brutality and ugliness of the original, but would be more interesting if extended into the aftermath of this story’s events.
The complete review, which evaluates each of the nine tales separately, is on my Wordpress blog: http://wp.me/p5Tcfi-Y