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Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy Paperback – 19 Mar 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (19 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765332272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765332271
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.4 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 728,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Queen Victoria's Book of Spells An anthology featuring all-original tales of gaslamp fantasy from bestselling and award-winning authors Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Literate, imaginative, thoughtful, evocative of the time. All in all pretty classy stuff. But you have to come to it with a feeling for the period.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 21 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
If you like magical realism, rather than straight-on fantastical fantasy or steampunk... 24 Mar. 2013
By Ann - Published on
Format: Paperback
Before I started reading the stories in this book, after reading only the preface and introduction, I blithely blew this anthology off as "Steampunk, with a side of Fae". It most definitely is not. Each story was engrossing; spellbinding (as promised on the tin) and a number of them were quite dark. Theodora Goss's "Estella Saves the Village" was unabashed Great Expectations fanfic, while Cat Valente's "We Without Us Were Shadows" is intriguing Real-Person Fiction of the troubled Bronte family. Veronica Schanoes' "Phosporus" added a fantastical twist to a thought-provoking historical event (and noted that behind every clockwork-wielding, hot-air-balloon-sailing, tea-drinking Steampunk hero or heroine, there's very likely an overworked and underpaid Downstairs staff.) Kaaron Warren's "The Unwanted Women of Surrey" held up a mirror to a twenty-first century that bears some disturbing resemblance to the nineteenth. And Elizabeth Bear's "The Governess" - all I can say is, wow. I didn't expect that.

These stories aren't all gloom, though, by any means! Elizabeth Wein's "For the Briar Rose" was a lovely ode to the pre-Raphaelites and the women who both inspired and tidied up after them, and the title story, by Delia Sherman, was a hoot - this is a Queen Victoria I've never imagined!

If you like magical realism, rather than straight-on fantastical fantasy or steampunk, then you will probably enjoy this!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Steampunk short stories. 19 May 2013
By Dyanek2000 - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking for something different, more in the steampunk genre, but didn't want to tie into a novel. This was recommended to me, and I've enjoyed the stories. Some of the concepts are very novel, all of the stories are well-written. I recommend it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fantasy set in the Victorian era, NOT steampunk 23 May 2013
By Laurie A. Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback
I made the mistake of thinking this was a steampunk anthology; it's not. It's Gaslamp Fantasy; fantasy stories set in the Victorian era with magic included. Here you will no find brass goggles or airship pirates. But it was a happy mistake, because I enjoyed this book very much.

Victoria reigned for a very long time, so there is variety of events, inventions, real people, and movements to choose from when writing in the era. A couple of the stories are actually about Victoria; the title story is, if you know about the relationship between Victoria and Prince Albert, heartbreaking as well as a warning to be careful what you wish for when working magic. I loved `For Briar Rose' simply because it involved Edward Burne-Jones and William and Jane Morris; the pre-Raphaelite artistic movement is simply my favorite ever. In other stories, the Bronte family, Frankenstein, Scrooge and the Crachit family show up. There is true horror- one story features one of the women who worked in the match factories who developed the terrible `Phossy jaw' where the phosphate from the matches eats away the jaw bones. And `The Fairy Enterprise' wherein an amoral industrial decides to take advantage of gullible society and ends up getting what he deserves made is a dark story, but made me laugh.

It's a very solid anthology; while there were, of course, a couple of stories I didn't like, they are all good and well written and I'm glad I read them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
What a treasure! 25 May 2013
By Amira S. - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm in a bit of a magical Victoriana kick and this anthology completely satisfied my appetite. While I didn't care for all the stories in it, I enjoyed most, especially once I found some written by authors I have grown to like very much.

I love Leanna Renee Hieber's writing so I went straight to "Charged." As usual, the writing is just exquisite and the story is amazing. She is such a gifted storyteller!

Some more stories I want to highlight as the best of the bunch are: Catherynne Valente's "We Without Us Were Shadows", Delia Sherman's "Queen Victoria's Book of Spells", Elizabeth Bear's "The Governess" and "La Reome D'Enfer."

I was engrossed for days reading this.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Difficult to put down. 26 May 2014
By Ruth S. Merriam - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I was given this anthology to read while convalescing after major surgery. While I usually skip around a bit in collections, this one I read straight through, in order.

The book starts off with an utterly delightful tale. From there, it twists and turns through imagery and themes like London itself, taking you through times and places romanticized for the past century. Only one tale was what I'd call Steampunk; the other 19 tales are straight fantasy.

Of the 20 tales, only one left me a bit on the ambivalent side. I would have switched the order of the last 2 tales so that the anthology was sandwiched first and last with Queen Victoria based themes (but I wasn't the editor, now was I). I could not stop reading this book!

Of particular note is "Phosphorus," by Veronica Schanoes. Stark, disturbing, magical, dark with a theme of the horrors of the impoverished Irish in a land that saw them as disposable as the Lucifers they were making in factories. "The Vital Importance of the Superficial," by Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer was utterly delightful and I giggled my way through it, as was the authors' note afterwards. At no point did I think, well, here's another one just like the other one. The selections are varied enough to keep the entire anthology feeling fresh throughout.

There's a Recommended Reading list at the back of the book, which is a treasure trove unto itself. I'd no sooner finished the anthology than I picked up a book by one of the author's whose work was in it.
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