Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plot Summary:
In this anthology is a collection of steampunk tales that involve time travel, romance, flying machines, tragedy, technological weapons, heartache, robots, horror, wars, and growing up. Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have enlisted the help of fourteen amazing YA authors and steampunk experts. All of these stories paint a picture of a mechanized world wrought with mystery, suspense, love, death, and redemption. In Cassandra Claire's Some Fortunate Future Day, a young girl is tending to her home while her father is fighting in the world. Although her interactive dolls keep her company, while the home bots take over the chores and the cooking, she is left alone with her books and her father's inventions that keep her hidden from the real world. However, when she saves a handsome soldier, she believes that he will fall in love with her and whisk her away to his kingdom in the Capital. What she doesn't realize is that matters of the heart are rarely like those found in fairy tales; when she learns that he loves another she decides to measures into her own hands. In Cory Doctor's, Clockwork Fagin, is a gritty story of a bunch of children whom society has deemed unfit and are thrown into the factories where danger lurks in every corner and most of them are injured in the process. At St. Agatha's Home for Crippled Children, Sian reminisces about the time when Monty Goldfarb bested their headmaster known as the Grinder. Known for his cruelty and abuse, Monty does everything in his power and spirit to defy and humiliate the Grinder. When he murders Grinder, not only is Monty St. Agatha's hero, he is children's new headmaster and gives the order to make an automated version of Grinder; in order to keep their home, they must trick the nuns who stop by once a week to give them their alms. For the first time, the children are coming together as team and family, which will not only secure their futures, but keep them away from the cruel world that put them there. The ending is awesome and readers will be cheering them on through the entire stories.

Critical Evaluation:
This anthology is just plain brilliant. Although steampunk is a relatively new YA genre, it is a genre that very few authors can actually master. Every one of these stories is beyond creative where every twist and turn or surprises will leave the reader wanting more. For me, I am used to short stories that have a beginning, middle, and end; however, all of these stories don't provide readers with this structure. In fact, all of these stories don't provide an ending, which not only conveys that there is more adventure to be had, but that in this realm, nothing is certain. I absolutely loved Libba Bray's Last Ride of the Glory Girls because of the time period: the Wild West. Not only does Adelade have a thick country accent, it's the use of the language that draws the reader in. The Wild West was a time for new beginnings, revival, and danger  so intertwining steampunk into this rich history is ingenious. Despite what the movies show about homesteading and cattle driving, the Wild West was called the Wild West because the weather was unpredictable, disease was rampant, and violence plagued the new land. For Addie, in order to survive the new world of sin and tragedy, she must giver herself to the one and only God, but when she loses the boy she loves, reality sets in and she loses everything. With the help of the Glory Girls, Addie is able to find her strength again by repairing and re-building a gadget that will allow her to have control over time. Time travel and God are prominent themes in steampunk where science and religion are constantly debated. For Addie, she knows that God is the only way to salvation, but, after losing John during his baptism, her faith in God is stifled. When she is finally able to fix the time travel gadget, she is able to defy God by bending time at will. However, rather than abusing this new power, she uses it for good by saving her posse from the Pinkertons, which goes to show extraordinary gifts must be treated with respect. In the end, we don't know what becomes of the Addie and the Glory Girls, but we do know they will find each other once again somewhere in time. This story, amongst the other thirteen, unravel serious issues through goggle lenses where time, machines, and human nature collide. Amazing collection!

Information about the Editors:
According to their website:
Kelly Link is the author of three collections of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have won three Nebulas, a Hugo, and a World Fantasy Award. She was born in Miami, Florida, and once won a free trip around the world by answering the question “Why do you want to go around the world?” (”Because you can’t go through it.”) Link and her family live in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she and her husband, Gavin J. Grant, run Small Beer Press, and play ping-pong. In 1996 they started the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.
Gavin J. Grant is a firm believer in the do-it-yourself ethos that powers the steampunk movement. He started a zine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, in 1996, cofounded Small Beer Press, an independent publishing house with his wife, Kelly Link, and in 2010 launched, an ebooksite for independent presses. He has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Bookslut, Xerography Debt, Scifiction, The Journal of Pulse Pounding Narratives, and Strange Horizons. He co-edited The Best of LCRW (Del Rey) and for five years co-edited the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror (St. Martin’s Press). He lives with his wife and daughter in Massachusetts.

Teen Steampunk

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Steampunk!
Awards & Recognition:
  • 2012 Indie Choice Awards Finalist
  • Starred Review Publishers Weekly 08/08/2011 
  • Starred Review Kirkus Reviews 08/15/2011
  • Starred Review School Library Journal 09/01/2011
  • Starred Review Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks 10/01/2011
  • Starred Review Booklist 11/01/2011

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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