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Monday, July 26, 2010

Anthology Story Review: To Seek Her Fortune by Nicole Kornher-Stace (reviewed by Liviu Suciu)

Order Clockwork Phoenix 3 HERE
Read Lineage by Kenneth Schneyer from Clockwork Phoenix 3 on FBC
Read FBC Review of Desideria

INTRODUCTION: I am a big fan of original anthologies either themed like say New Space Opera or Swords and Dark Magic or un-themed like the Eclipse or the Clockwork Phoenix series.
Sadly this year I have been terrible at finishing them with only two of them fully read so far, though I have been much better at reading collections with six reviewed so far.

Like last year with Clockwork Phoenix 2, we have posted here a story Lineage from Clockwork Phoenix 3 which I invite everyone to read and get a flavor of the anthology. I enjoyed a lot reading Lineage and even parsing it several times to make sure our FBC post corresponds to the print version, but for me the highlight of the anthology and the one story I *had* to read was "To Seek Her Fortune" by Nicole Kornher-Stace considering how much I loved her debut novel Desideria. And indeed the story has the same beautiful style that makes one lose himself in the story and wishes for it to continue for a long time...

ANALYSIS: "To Seek Her Fortune" is about 25 pages long and is very satisfying as completeness go, while the images that we get to see from its world strongly place it in the fantasy steampunk camp.

"In the land of black salt and white honey, the Lady Explorer bartered a polar bear’s pelt, a hand-cranked dynamo, her second-best derringer and three bolts of peach silk for her death."

The first lines of the story presented above were enough to hook me and of course while we slowly understand what's going on, the pattern continues with the next part of the story starting:

"In the land of silver trees and golden fruit, the Lady Explorer bartered a case of tawny port, the captain’s quarters’ folding screen and rolltop desk, a filigreed sterling tea service and the airship’s only drop glider for her death."

And there are five such parts, each chronologically following an episode from the heroine's life, while the pieces of the puzzle come together into a superb and touching ending.

The snippets from The Lady Explorer's life, her deep love for her son who was born on the airship she "stole" with her comrades to escape a lifetime of drudgery and the panoramas of the wonderful world created here by the author mesh extremely well to create a superb story that will entrance you.


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