I kind of found it fitting that The Mammoth Book of Steampunk ended with a story called The Last Ballad. And that it talked about epic adventures by two best friends (who happen to be a dog and a spider) as they sail off into the sunset. An incredibly fitting ending to a very intense collection of stories.
It took me forever to read this book. And not because I didn’t absolutely adore it, but because my version was an ebook (I went online last night and rectified that mistake…).
I loved the idea of a Mary Ann in the Alice world. This idea that every young girl who enters the world of Wonderland is a Mary Ann or an Alice and that there are defining moments which classify them as one or the other. It gives a great alternate point of view to the world which is a little less rushed and insane, and a little calmer and more deeply thought out.
This short story really made me decide to pick up my book on The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper. It had this beautiful complexity and background to the storyline that I wasn’t expecting. There was also a lot of information and context in it that completely went over my head because I really don’t know all that much about Jack the Ripper.
I loved that this was a retelling of The Billy Goats Gruff, but through the lens of loss. Or, more specifically about a lost future and lost chances. It gave a fairy tale that already feels a little eerie a far more haunting appeal. There was something about a broken down village and an abandoned bridge that made you think of people who are broken and unable to fulfil their dreams and potential.
This was so much less creepy than many of the other short stories in the I Am Heathcliff collection. Where the rest are about weird, obsessive, unrequited love, this is something a little more different. The moors still play a major part in the story. As does the sense of love and loss.
Alright, so it’s incredibly easy to tell that there is going to be a romance from the very beginning. Like every other romance story that you have the privilege of reading. But, it was still kind of cute how it worked out. And I wasn’t fully expecting how the story unfolded. Yes, some parts where they fall in love was completely expected, but there were other aspects which just weren’t that predictable…
I’ve always been fascinated by Greek Mythology. Ever since I was a tiny child. But I wasn’t expecting to find such a story in a collection of tales about Tricksters. I don’t know why, since Hermes is the god of thieves (and in a way tricksters). And Zeus… well, the amount of insane shenanigans that man gets up to… well, there is seriously no reason that the Greek Mythos shouldn’t find it’s way into this collection. And Hoffman did this brilliantly.
I’ve been really enjoying short stories that jump around. There is something about the movement through time and quickly changing perceptions which I find enjoyable. The ability of the storyline to whisk you from one story to another completely draws you in. It also makes it a little confusing and difficult to keep track of what is really happening, but it is still incredibly fun.
I’ve been reading a lot of vampire stories lately, and I really wasn’t sure how over them I was feeling. So I’m not even sure why I picked up The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2. But I did, and I absolutely loved the opening story of this collection. It was everything I like in a short story, a bit of action, a bit of intrigue and a bit of romance. But, unlike a lot of vampire tales that I’ve been reading lately, this wasn’t as… well… annoyingly sappy as others. There was just too much of a cop / crime vibe to it.