Stephanie's Reviews > Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells by Ellen Datlow
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's review
May 28, 13

really liked it
bookshelves: short-stories
Read from May 21 to 26, 2013

“From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvelous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)” by Genevieve Valentine:
5/5. I loved it. A story told through documents and letters, it was tantalizing and mysterious but also satisfying.
“Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells” by Delia Sherman:
5/5. I loved it. A modern-day scholar re-analyzes the diaries of Victoria, with magic. I got the cold chills when I finished.
“For the Briar Rose” by Elizabeth Wein:
4/5. The protagonist's father is working on a series of paintings about Sleeping Beauty, while the protagonist herself is waiting for her life to start. A little confusing, but I liked it.
“The Governess” by Elizabeth Bear:
3/5. VERY DARK, BEAR, WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME ALWAYS. It was also depressingly unoriginal. BUT I STILL LOVE YOU BEAR. 3/5.
“The Unwanted Women of Surrey” by Kaaron Warren: 4/5. REALLY FREAKY. And chilling. It follows the shenanigans of a bunch of wives locked up for “mental illness.”
“Charged” by Leanna Renee Hieber: 4/5. Overwritten (almost purple prose), but still a nice little backstory for a character who can control electricity. Fits into this anthology very well.
“We Without Us Were Shadows” by Catherynne M. Valente: 4/5. At first I was all, “Ugh Bronte fanfiction” but then it was breaking all the walls between history and story and reality and daydreams and it was FABULOUS.
“The Vital Importance of the Superficial” by Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer: 5/5. An epistolary tale, with lots of magic, propriety, and putting together of tiny clues to make a story. LOVED IT.
“The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown” by Jane Yolen: 3/5. This was like Victoria/Disraeli fanfiction except Victoria is idiotic and, I don’t know, the story was just meh.
“Their Monstrous Minds” by Tanith Lee: 3/5. In the same story vein as Frankenstein, this was fairly preachy and unoriginal, with characters I didn’t even like.

DNFs (I'm a bad anthology reader so there's always a few of these):
“The Fairy Enterprise” by Jeffrey Ford
“The Memory Book” by Maureen McHugh
“La Reine D’Enfer” by Kathe Koja
“Smithfield” by James P. Blaylock
“Mr. Splitfoot” by Dale Bailey
“Phosphorus” by Veronica Schanoes
“A Few Twigs He Left Behind” by Gregory Maguire
“Estella Saves the Village” by Theodora Goss

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Reading Progress

05/21/2013 marked as: currently-reading
05/25/2013 page 224
63.0% "So far my fave is still the first one by Delia Sherman"
05/26/2013 marked as: read
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