Beyond the Cogs
Full disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy by one of the authors. All opinions are my own.
This collection features three novellas, so I’ll be discussing them individually.
The Soulless Ones by C. Vonzale Lewis
I had the opportunity to be a beta reader for this incredible adventure, and I was absolutely in awe of the changes Lewis was able to incorporate from the rougher draft I read before. She has an incredible knack for creating unique characters and spectacular worlds, and I absolutely love her creativity in this story. It has an Old West feel with a distinct steampunk style and deals with monsters reminiscent of vampires. Her unique style really shines in this story. It’s an absolutely fun read and I truly hope we’ll get more stories about Parasol because I could read a whole collection about her adventures!
The Rogue of Vangard by Nicholas J. Evans
This tale was more abstract and more visually focused so it took a bit for me to warm up to the story and characters. Once we get into a steampunk taxi ride with a law-straddling driver, a stuffy top politician, and our thieving protagonist, the entire story shifts with growing tension. We learn how corrupt the city is that our protagonist is stealing from, we learn how brainwashed the politician is, and how controlled the magic is in this world. The ending is the topping on the cake so I can’t spoil it here, however I was sad to see this unique world end. I grew to love so many characters in such a short few pages. I would love to read more in this world!
Gossamer and Thorns by Elle Beaumont
Now this story was reminiscent of the Vincent Price classics such as Fall of the House of Usher. Wealthy young Kris has fallen in love with Emilie who has a chronic disease. He lives in an abusive home with his father who is obsessed with transferring human souls into automatons. Kris’ father is an even more unbalanced Victor Frankenstein. Admittedly, I don’t usually read romance stories so since Kris and Emilie’s relationship filled the majority of the story, that was a struggle for me. Readers who love a budding romance will probably adore this story. It had some wonderful twists that I didn’t see coming and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.
Overall this is a strong anthology with only a few authors but with a wide variety of steampunk. As a fan of steampunk (and a dabbler in it myself), I had an absolute blast reading these. Definitely recommended for readers looking to dive into another world for a while. And I’ve found new authors to obsess over.
My rating: 5/5 stars