Review: Trenchcoats, Towers, and Trolls by Rhonda Parrish
I am quickly learning that if I want sexy steampunk and creative cyberpunk anthologies, I should definitely pick up anything from Ms. Parrish. This anthology is another winner for me. It is rare that I enjoy every single story in an anthology. I enjoyed every single one written, even if they were bittersweet endings.
I love fairytales reinterpreted. In this anthology, some of them were easy to identify and others were harder with a bit more obscure or perhaps lesser-known fairytales. I found the reinterpretation of Snow White to be quite impressive and I loved it. The Troll under the bridge is unique and riveting. It is rare that I find authors who can write cyberpunk so well. I now need to look up each of the authors and see if they write anything else with cyberpunk.
What I enjoyed about this book at times also frustrates me. The stories are short and condensed. This means that world-building is fast and sometimes sketchy. I can say that in this anthology, nothing was skimped. Impressively for me, the stories were well crafted with good characters. A couple of them frustrated me because the ending is left so opened ended which I find most often happens from male writers and writers who lean more towards sci-fi. It is as if we receive a glimpse through the window and want to see more only to have it whisked away. The shades come down and we can no longer see this interesting story unfold behind closed doors.
What I also liked in this anthology is that it isn't exactly a happily ever after. This story is more Grimm than Disney which thrills me to pieces. Some of the grittiness is what appeals to me. The sorrow that leaps off the pages in a couple of these stories moves me. The entwining of computers, chips, bots, all of it excites me. For example, the reinterpretation of Rumplestilkin is impressive and so creative. I loved what the author came up with. This short story is easily recognizable of what fairy tale it is paying homage. Yet the way it was written is fresh and innovative. This anthology is highly recommended to readers who love fairy tales retold with a cyberpunk twist.