Monday, December 26, 2011

A Clockwork Christmas, by Jenny Schwartz, J.K. Coi, PG Forte, and Stacy Gail

A repentant thief who fall in love with her victim.  A man in love with a very different
kind of woman.  An Australian suffragette in need of a man, merely for political purposes allegedly.  A woman who suffers from a tragic event.  These are the themes of the short stories in this book, each set in an alternate reality with heavy steampunk overtones.

I have very mixed feelings on this book.  Some of the stories were great, and some were quite weak.  Some of the stories lived up to the Clockwork Christmas title, and some did not.  As a collection of short stories dealing with the futuristic steampunk genre, I think the book certainly delivers.  Each story has steampunk elements, some are subtle and some are bold, but each delivers.  Where the book falls flat, in my opinion, is as a collection of holiday inspired or themed stories.  I thought the first story in the book did the best job of blending the holiday and steampunk elements, but it went downhill from there.

As with all short stories, there was little time in the tales for detailed character development.  Two of the stories did a great job developing both character and plot, but again the others fell flat.  I greatly disliked the story set in a revisionist South, where the South won the Civil War; I felt that point added nothing to the story, and it just bothered me.

The book was also a lot more sexual than I anticipated; while this was intended to be steampunk romance, the additional holiday aspect somehow made me think the romance would be sweet.  But there was quite a large dose of steam in these steampunk stories, and I am not sure the blend of clockworks, mechanical steam based inventions, Christmas, and sex was quite up my ally.  However, I think fans of steampunk and romances, and especially steampunk romances, will probably greatly enjoy.

I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.

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