First book review of the New Year. Seems I made too many goals that I needed to jumpstart asap and let reading fall a little behind. Or, it’s that I got too excited about all my new books and tried reading them all at once. My most recently devoured book was an anthology from Mocha Memoirs Press, Avast, Ye Airships!,, which included tales of airship robbery, mechanical dancers, pirates, and countless creatures. While I didn’t enjoy all of the stories in this anthology, the majority of them were fantastical, action-packed and wove great story lines amidst steam-powered ships. My favourite three stories are below.
- Maiden Voyage by Jeffrey Cook & Katherine Perkins
This story features Emily and Lucca, strong female characters who use their intellect, cunning, and epic fighting skills to defend a cruise ship from pirates. I loved this story not only for its intricate descriptions of machinery, but also for its LGBT partnership between Lucca & Emily, and also for the way the authors portrayed Emily’s leg braces as her strength and talent, rather than something that held her back from dancing.
2. A Wind Will Rise by Andrew Knighton
These opening lines. Just yes. ” Dirk Dynamo pedaled frantically, legs going hell for leather to keep the pedalo-thopter’s wings flapping. A fierce wind lashed at him, stray cloud brushing his face like Death’s own icy fingers” This story focused on a goofy, yet resourceful pair, who are thwarted as they try to take over a pirate ship. Our hero, Dirk Dynamo, outwits the pirate and slaver Colonel Storm, using a flag to wrestle Storm’s lighting-gun during a final fight scene miles above the ground on an airship.
3. Lost Sky by Amy Braun
Another great opener that makes your eyes race to the next line, needing to know what unfolds, ” The sky used to hold hope for me. Now it held only terror”. For anyone familiar with Braun’s work, which, if you are not, head over to her blog yesterday and get acquainted – you won’t be disappointed, this story delivers. (Amy Braun Blog) Braun packs a punch, introducing Hell creatures from another reality, pirates with a heart, and the unconditional love of a sister who braves Hellions and the skies to rescue her sibling. The descriptions of the creatures and of the airship alike draw you in, making you feel like you are the one trying to outrun the ‘onyx claws’ of the Hellions.
These are just three of the stories that stood out. Others included squirrel-invaders, pirates who are only plundering aprons, and ghosts that take over an airship. All in all a great collection of stories and one I would highly recommend if you have even the slightest interest in steampunk.