The Vital Importance of the Superficial by Ellen Kushner & Caroline Stevermer

Image result for queen victoria's book of spells ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Vital Importance of the Superficial
Author: Ellen Kushner & Caroline Stevermer
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: GaslampScience fiction
Dates read: 24th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: I play the pianoforte, but only very indifferently.

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A series of letters tell the story of an experiment gone awry, and the power of magic that ties everyone together. Will there be a happy ending to the letters that they share with one another?


This was such an interesting way to write a story – it was all written in letters between the characters. Rather than a proper prose, each moment of the future, past and present was outlined in people’s words and communications to one another. It made a completely unique and enjoyable experience. One that I really wasn’t expecting. And definitely a newer format to me… it’s always fun to find a unique way in which a story is told!

The Vital Importance of the Superficial is kind of nuts, but it was still a great tale. One that I look forward to reading again in the future. Every letter, every moment reveals more about the characters and the past. More about the story that is unfolding in a way that I was quite enthralled to experience. After all, it was a very different way to tell a story that was unique and not quite what was to be expected. All based in a great Victorian era.

The writing and style of this story was very reminiscent of Jane Austen and other similar writers. Not just in the way it was written, but the proper language shared between the characters. That, and the fact that everyone seemed to find love and completion in the end. A partner that was in front of their eyes the whole time…

 <- We Without Us Were Shadows ReviewThe Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown Review ->
Image source: Amazon

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