SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1608
In an Iron Cage, The Magic of Steampunk, edited by Danielle Ackely-McPhail Book Review | SFReader.com
In an Iron Cage, The Magic of Steampunk, edited by Danielle AckelyMcPhail Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Daek Quest Published: 2011 Review Posted: 10/13/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
In an Iron Cage, The Magic of Steampunk, edited by Danielle AckelyMcPhail
Book Review by Michael D. Griffiths
Have you read this book?
In an Iron Cage, The Magic of Steampunk is a fourteen story anthology edited by
Danielle Ackey-McPhail, Electra Hammond, and Neal Levin. Steampunk seems to be
getting more popular each year. Whether it is new Hollywood blockbusters, full
length novels, or numerous anthologies, Steampunk is being exposed and enjoyed
by more people than ever before. This anthology, however, takes a different
twist on the genre and incorporates a world where Magic is real and works
alongside and often fights with the various forms of Steampunk technology.
The anthology begins with The Winter Court by Bernie Mojzes. When royalty wants
there to be an island where none exists, this proves to be a problem for even
the most inventive minds in London. However, they might end up causing more
trouble than such a whim is worth, when they manage to yank and island off a
different world, which comes complete with its own military.
Second, we have James Chambers' House of Automatons. This is a fun and
inventive tale where a gentleman and his lady-witch ally must face task after
deadly task. The robotic automatons are programed to play by a set of rules;
unfortunately these rules are far from fair and could, with the smallest
mistake, claim their lives.
Drinking Down Death was next. This story by Jeff Young finds the
unlikely alliance between a constable and a spiritual medium. When the other
mediums in London start to go missing, one can only begin to guess what their
magic infused bodes are being used for.
Brenda Cooper's Speaker for the Mayans, finally removes us from foggy
London and takes us into the middle of the harsh jungle. Yet how can Londoners
hope to survive not only the wilds, but also learn more about the marriage of
Magic and Science, which has started to take root there?
To Love and Hope by C.J. Henderson is a tale where men construct a ship,
called the Verne, and hope to use this vessel to pass into a new and unexplored
dimension. However, they might not have wished to travel there if they knew
that their very existence challenged this other world's reality.
Stuart Jaffe comes at us with, Little Girl with Pink Ribbons. When a
boxing promoter is asked to watch a young girl during his big Magic versus
Machine fight, he thought this would be his biggest problem. But when thugs ask
you to do something, there are times you have to say yes. Yet, he ends up
becoming a hero more for himself and the girl over any obligation he has to
Scoundrel's Magic was written by James Daniel Ross. Adam Venture is a
slick character who is making himself rich selling mythological creatures to
royalty. The problem is the way he is summoning them is creating a rift, which
might let something worse into our world. This story started like many of the
others with more dialog and tricks, but then became quite a dark and
adventurous tale. Venture's foppish nature does not prevent true terror
striking out against him and his. This story excelled and was certainly one of
the best within the collection.
One of the editors, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, presents her story, On the Wings
of an Angel. This is a shorter story. It also takes place in Montana which was
a nice change from the majority of the stories which take place in London. Mr.
Clayton makes a lot of strange machines, but could he make an angel?
A.C. Wise writes The Trans-Siberian. Not only is there Magic and Steampunk in
this tale, there is also a race of Were-fox that adds a new twist, especially
when the father of the woman our hero is guarding was responsible for being
brutal to that race. Ren needs to hope that being half-fox himself will be
enough when revenge comes calling. This was another inventive story that stood
out from the pack. It was concise, yet filled with a level of action that
should have most readers hurrying to turn the page.
The First Flight of the Valhalla, by Darren W. Pearce is another story that
excels. It takes fantasy standards and thrusts them into a Steampunk world
where Drow Elves fight flying Dwarf battle ships. The Dwarfs are particularly
upset since the Drow fuel the Magical aspects of their ship with crushed
Fairies. This was another unexpected gem and an enjoyable read.
Another editor, Elektra Hammons, brings us The Case of the Duchess's Dog. This
was another fun tale. A sort of CSI in the Magic/Steampunk world. Strange that
the author had the action revolving around a dead dog, but she makes it work
and I could see this character, Annabella Hastings, being used in other short
That Voo Doo That You Do, by Patrick Thomas was another story that stood
out in the collection. A character calling himself Spellpunk rescues a girl
falsely accused of witchcraft, okay maybe she is a witch, but she should be
rescued anyway, although others will strive to see him pay for his arrogance.
Alma Alexander brings us the most eerie story in the collection. Iron and
Brass, Bone and Bone revolves around the concept of body and soul. Does one
need the other to survive, but when the designer of the construct of metal and brass
accidentally sends his soul into his creation they both suffer.
Lastly David Sherman brings us and outstanding tale called, Greater Crater
Gremlins. This story takes place in the Wild West, but it is a different
west than any we have ever seen. Huge land ships move across the deserts and
like all machines they can fall prey to...Gremlins. Action, adventure, romance,
the recipe for a good western in anyone's book.
This anthology will appeal to all lovers of Steampunk. The generous use of
Magic makes it a little different from the norm, but also opens up more
fantastic possibilities within the genre. Some of the scenes were a little too
uptight for some tastes. In some of the stories dialog dominated action and
many of the characters were so slick you felt little fear that they would fail.
Other stories more than make up for this. In an Iron Cage is a strong well
produced anthology that should appeal to Steampunk as well as Fantasy readers.
Click here to buy In an Iron Cage, The Magic of Steampunk, edited by Danielle Ackely-McPhail on Amazon