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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Gears of Brass is a Steampunk Anthology by various authors, including Jordan Elizabeth and Eliza Tilton. In a world powered by steam and filled with clockwork devices, these fairy tale retellings feature a steampunk twist. A Clockwork Dollhouse finds a power hungry Robert haunted by his evil deeds through the mysterious happenings of his sister's dollhouse. In Zeus's Fire, three siblings work together to find clockwork creatures released from a box. Anabel is enjoying her new engagement until she discovers her father's startling secret in My Golden Anabel. These and many others will have you seeing fairy tales in a new light.
Each story is different from the next, with the only common elements being steampunk, fairy tales, and adventure. There are the stories spun from the most popular tales of Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, and Jack & the Beanstalk, which are completely unique takes on the fairy tales. In every story you'll find hints of classic fairy tale motifs mixed into exciting adventures. A Clockwork Dollhouse is eerie and mysterious, placing a ghostly spin on a dollhouse used to seek justice. Zeus's Fire is your Pandora's Box tale with Greek myth a driving force throughout and many fun references.
Mythology is also the background for The Key Girl, which features a mention of Apollo and finds a goddess and a protector woken up when a sacred place is disturbed. Clockwork Wolf, The Clockwork Monkey, and A Clockwork Beast feature a determination to create clockwork creatures, which often serve as dispensers of justice and protectors, while Lana's End and My Golden Anabel are a bit darker than the rest with grim endings and a more twisted view of the world. Time Spun Souls is enchanting and unique, a truly surprising story and one of my favorites in the anthology. There are morals to the stories that are gritty and dark, clearly derived from the tone of fairy tales. Happily ever after isn't really the goal in these stories; instead independence and adventure are what drive each story. A fantastic anthology that you won't be able to put down!