Tag Archives: Veronica Schanoes

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 ->

Image source: Amazon

Phosphorus by Veronica Schanoes

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

Title: Phosphorus
Author: Veronica Schanoes
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Gaslamp, Historical fiction
Dates read: 11th October 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: You’d like to know that Annie won’t starve, at least.

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Synopsis

Annie has always been told by her gifted grandmother that she has a bright future ahead of her. What she doesn’t know is that the brightness comes from phosphorus and will lead to a dark end…

Thoughts

I’ve recently read The Radium Girls, which gave me a whole new appreciation for what some women went through in the work force in the twenties. And, this story is about phosphorus, not radium. It takes place a long, long time before the occurrences in Radium Girls, but much of the storyline and themes echo. Which is probably why I loved it so much from the very beginning.

This is a very bittersweet and tragic tale. Annie seems to have so much promise and a beautiful life before her. Yet, it is cut short by the greed of others. Although she tries to stay around to watch their comeuppance, but she still meets a kind of horrible end. One that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Historical fictions and tales which are based on the truths of history have seriously begun to become a bit of an obsession with me. Particularly ones which are based on the battles of women and the working class. This short story perfectly fits that niche and makes me wonder what else Schanoes has written that I can get my hands on…

 <- Mr. Splitfoot ReviewWe Without Us Were Shadows Review ->
Image source: Amazon