Tag Archives: Caroline Stevermer

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

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

Title: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Delia Sherman, Jeffrey Ford, Genevieve Valentine, Maureen McHugh, Kathe Koja, Elizabeth Wein, Elizabeth Bear, James P. Blaylock, Kaaron Warren, Leanna Renee Hieber, Dale Bailey, Veronica Schanoes, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Caroline Stevermer, Jane Yolen, Gregory Maguire, Tanith Lee & Theodora Goss
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, GaslampShort story collections
Dates read: 8th June – 6th November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: The sisters and I said nothing to one another, as I speak no German and they no English, but we watched the flames together until they seemed satisfied and departed, I know not where.

Synopsis

Gaslamp fantasy, or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. Many wonderful novels, such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, ower their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers, including Jane Austen, the Brontes, Charles Dickens, and Anthony Trollope. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature from and inspired by this period.

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves neo-Victorian fiction and modern fantasists using vintage settings, characters, and themes. Their approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen- and Trollope- inspired works known as fantasy of manners. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, main-stream, and young-adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century enhance (or cursed!) with magic.

Thoughts

This is an absolutely brilliant collection. One that I didn’t want to put down and introduced me to a whole new genre. It’s my first ever Gaslamp collection, and although I found some of the stories throughout a little weird and intense… I also loved the vast majority of them. Enough so that I plan to read this again and again in the future.

I was expecting a pretty simple and balanced collection. I really wasn’t expecting such a convoluted and twisted set of stories. But, as I’ve often found in life, it’s those unexpected surprises are the best and most exciting aspects of life. They’re the moments that you don’t want to forget because they were unplanned. And this anthology kind of felt like that.

I tend to read a lot of short stories late at night. Or when I’m just needing a quick little break from the many complexities of my PhD. This is not the collection that does that for me. It’s seriously intense, completely unexpected and very full on. The kind of short stories that you want to read when you have your concentrating brain working… not when it’s late at night and you just want some easy entertainment…

<- PoeQueen Victoria’s Book of Spells ->

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The Coyote Road edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: The Coyote Road
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Pat Murphy, Carolyn Dunn, Steve Berman, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Christopher Barzak, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Klages, Patricia A. McKillip, Theodora Goss, Charles de Lint, Katherine Vaz, Caroline Stevermer, Midori Snyder, Michael Cadnum, Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth E. Wein, Kim Antieau, Will Shetterly, Kelly Link, Holly Black, Carol Emshwiller, Jedediah Berry, Jeffrey Ford, Jane Yolen & Kij Johnson
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Short story collections, Tricksters
Dates read: 11th March – 24th October 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: She handed me a message, one that read I was to be married to a stranger.

Synopsis

Coyote. Anansi. Brer Rabbit. Trickster characters have long been a staple of folk literature – and are a natural choice for the subject of the acclaimed Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s third “mythic” anthology. Twenty-six authors, including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Charles de Lint (Little (Grrl) Lost), Ellen Klages (The Green Glass Sea), Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters), Patricia A. McKillip (Ombria in Shadow) and Jane Yolen, have crafted stories and poems drawing from cultures and traditions all over the world – each surprising, engrossing, and thought provoking. Terri Windling provides a comprehensive introduction to the trickster myths of the world, and the entire book is highlighted by the remarkable decorations of Charles Vess.

The Coyote Road, like its companions The Green Man (winner of the World Fantasy Award) and The Faery Reel (a World Fantasy Award Finalist), is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary fantastic fiction.

Thoughts

This collection took a long time to read. Yet, I absolutely adored it. Mostly it took a while to read because there were so many short stories filling the pages, and whenever I finished one, I often went searching for more stories by the authors I was discovering. My wishlist has grown by leaps and bounds since starting this collection.

Like many of the Ellen Datlow collections lining my shelves, the theme and collected authors in this are brilliant. Each and every story is perfectly curated to match into the theme of Tricksters. Often in surprising and confusing ways. After all, the prefect trickster never does what is expected, and many of the stories in this managed to take me by surprise.

I would suggest this collection to anybody who loves short stories, fantasy, mythology, tricksters… really I would just suggest it to almost anyone. There are sad stories and happy ones. Insanely complex tales and ones that are so beautifully simplistic. Definitely one of those collections that I’m going to read again and again.

<- The Cinderella Game AnthologyOne Odd Shoe ->

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

Overview
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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Synopsis

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?

Thoughts

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 ->
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Uncle Bob Visits by Caroline Stevermer

Overview
Image result for coyote road book cover

Title: Uncle Bob Visits
Author: Caroline Stevermer
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Tricksters
Dates read: 5th May 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: “Now is the winter of our discontent,” said Miss Lillegren stiffly.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

A classroom is always full of mischief. But when Uncle Bob decides to visit, the mischief and mayhem crank up a notch.

Thoughts

It fits that a trickster story would take place in a children’s classroom. After all, children are really good vessels of chaos. So having a bunch of the little darlings all crowded into one classroom would surely attract some kind of poltergeist to wreak a little havoc on our daily lives. Although I enjoyed this story, I did feel incredibly sympathetic towards the teacher. Not only does she have to try and corral a bunch of children who just aren’t interested in grammar. But she also has to contend with a poltergeist who is definitely not interested in grammar.

I really like the idea of a grumpy, old man as the poltergeist. Or at least, that’s how I’m picturing him as the story unfolds. Somebody who loves to be around the school and the children but is a bit fussy about what he wants to learn. And not all that great at understanding discipline of any kind…

 <- The Chamber Music of Animals ReviewUncle Tompa Review ->
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Snow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for snow white, blood red book cover

Title: Snow White, Blood Red
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Susan Wade, Charles de Lint, Gahan Wilson, Nancy Kress, Tanith Lee, Wendy Wheeler, Kathe Koja, Gregory Frost, Elizabeth A. Lynn, Harvey Jacobs, Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanie Tem, Caroline Stevermer, Ryan Edmonds, Neil Gaiman, Leonard Rysdyk, Esther M. Friesner, Jack Dann, Jane Yolen, Patricia A. McKillip & Lisa Goldstein
Series: Adult Fairy Tales #1
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Retellings,Short story collections
Dates read: 17th December 2018 – 12th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: It’ll still mean that I’m willing to let someone die, just so I can have my own way.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Snow White, Blood Red is a brand new collection of fairy tales. But be warned. It is not a collection for the faint-hearted. Or even one to lull the innocent towards the sleeping realms of dreams. For Snow White, Blood Red is a modern book of wonders: a boundless expanse of nightmares, lusts and fables for the grown-up child in us all.

Through richly imaginative retellings of existing fairy tales, twenty-one of the world’s top fantasy authors recreate the full mythical, magical, mind-bending power of humankind’s oldest fables. Prepare to be seduced by stories that bite – stories that are frightening, erotic, dark and compelling. Because as Terri Windling reminds us in the introduction: ‘Something still stirs inside us when we hear those old, evocative words: Once upon a time.’ Only this time, in this world, there is no happy ending…

Thoughts

I’ve had this book on my wish list for a very, very long time. So, when I finally managed to find a second hand copy and get it delivered to my door, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. After all, I love fairy tales, I like stories with a dark twist, and I’m fascinated by retellings and the ways in which people are able to twist and turn classic themes to fit a more contemporary or recognisable setting. Which makes this kind of the perfect short story collection to sit on my shelves.

Some of the stories in this collection are kind of dark and twisted. Some are incredibly sexual. And some are just a great, contemporary retelling that makes childish fairy tales far more relatable. I got goosebumps reading some of these stories. While others left a smile on my face. You know it’s a fantastic collection when it takes you through the rollercoaster of emotions and leaves you feeling incredibly happy at the close of the last page.

Anybody who loves fantasy, horror or fairy tales, this is a great collection to add to your shelves. It is one that I won’t be getting out of my head anytime soon, that’s for sure…

<- Taking LoupLike a Red, Red Rose ->

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The Springfield Swans by Caroline Stevermer and Ryan Edmonds

Overview
Image result for snow white, blood red book cover

Title: The Springfield Swans
Author: Caroline Stevermer & Ryan Edmonds
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Easy reading, Fairy tales
Dates read: 5th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: Well, spite of that, things went pretty well there in Springfield for some years.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

An obsession with baseball and an angry stepmother turns seven brothers into swans before they can play on the team and win the season.

Thoughts

This is the first comfortable story that I’ve read in Snow White, Blood Red for a little while. Most of the stories in this collection highlight the sexual component of some very well known fairy tales and make it far more twisted than is necessary. This one on the other hand, gives a modern day retelling to an old classic (I’ve not read the original, but I have read another story based on this fairy tale).

Now, I’m Australian, so I have no idea about baseball. At all. I don’t think I ever even played it in high school PE. Yet, I always love mentions of the sport in stories. Maybe I should add some baseball biographies to my wishlist… which made this retelling of a story tale using this past time kind of fun. And so much more relatable and innocent. After all, there is nothing more fun than playing sport with your family and they do all get a happily ever after…

 <- The Changelings ReviewTroll Bridge Review ->
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