Sometimes I struggle to write a review. I sit on them far too long, as I did this one. It’s not that I didn’t like the book. But it is more that I really don’t know if I can put into proper words the many directions a book takes and not leave my readers feeling confused. Anthologies are difficult because you mix different styles of writers into one book and hope they flow well together. I read the complex and sometimes fantastic stories of Steampunk fantasy in the anthology Mechanized Masterpieces 2 – An American Anthology. There were moments I really enjoyed in the collection and other moments that I struggled to finish.
One of my favored authors, J. Aurel Guay, was featured with his piece A Princess of Jasoom. Guay is a very talented writer and this way with words creates vibrant visions as you read through his tale. His character, Elizabeth is both charming and intriguing. As a female lead, I felt like she held strength without needing to be a bully or brute force. The story unfolds quickly and is an easy read. I enjoyed the banter between Elizabeth and James as they worked together to create something fantastic. But the underlying story is that of human connections. Steampunk fans will enjoy Guay’s story along with the works of the other talented authors featured in the anthology. Steampunk books have a calling for a certain type of reader. The works is both fantastic and complicated, leaving you unsure of when and where you are at times. Each of the stories has a completely different feel and flow. Some stories I liked more than others. Some were serious and a bit drawn out, others were comedic and I enjoyed the ease of reading it.
I didn’t care too much for the Sleepy Hollow storyline in “The Van Tassel Legacy”. I felt like it lacked creativity and uniqueness and felt more like a steampunk fan fiction from the TV show. There are websites filled to the brim with works of fanfiction dedicated to their favorite shows. I don’t care to read them in my novels. Sorry. Not my thing.
Even though the spirit of the book is to recreate stories from historical authors like Poe, Dickenson, classic stories in the flavor of steampunk, some of the works here were delightful in making the stories feel new and original, while others struggled. This is a fine way to dip your toes into the steampunk genre and find out if this is your cup of tea or not. I would have loved to have seen some of the stories fleshed out a little more, but that is difficult work to do in a short story form. However, some of the authors did a fine job and I loved the effortless flow of steampunk and classic tales. Thanks for allowing me to read this fun anthology. I was permitted to exchange my thoughts on the book for my truthful review. And here you have it.