starlady: (akidzuki)
First off, I'm going to Otakon this weekend! You'll catch me at my friend Alex Leavitt's panels, among other places. It's been four years since I've been to Otakon, and it's the first time I've gone as someone whose primary contextual definition is no longer "anime fan," so it will be interesting.

As promised, I picked up the first Clockwork Phoenix just as soon as I finished the second, and all in all I was not disappointed with this collection either, though I do think that 2 is stronger.

Though the collection leads off with another lovely story by Cat Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna), I don't think "The City of Blind Delight" is actually one of the anthology's standouts. Similarly, while I'm not sure I could sum up any common theme among the stories in Clockwork Phoenix 2, I do think that a majority of the stories in this first book are concerned in some way with the ties that bind, to indulge a hackneyed phrase--not that these bonds are primarily familial; hatred and enmity bind just as well as blood, or better, as many of these stories prove. Maybe if CP2 has a theme, it's just the rich variety of the stories within it, of the diversity of strangeness itself, which maybe in CP2 is emblematized by Ian McHugh's "Angel Dust."

phoenix in flames )
starlady: (through the trapdoor)
I obtained a review PDF of this collection from its editor Mike Allen ([livejournal.com profile] time_shark): having finished it, my review. The short takeaway is that it's an excellent read that repays the investment of time and attention handsomely; all of the stories herein live up to the billing as "new tales of beauty and strangeness."

As is the case with such things, I find myself wanting to talk about only those stories that lingered in my mind for what, I suspect, are almost entirely personal reasons; the stories I didn't mention here are equally interesting, and other people will no doubt prefer them to the ones I especially liked. I want to commend Allen, though, for choosing a slate of stories that by and large do genuinely expand the horizons of fantasy beyond the conventional, both in setting and in protagonists.

phoenix in flight )

At any rate, an excellent collection; I'm quite happy that the original awaits me in my "to read" pile even as I write this.

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