Slave To Marshmallows: A Steampunk Fairy Tale by N.R. Grabe

Slave To Marshmallows: A Steampunk Fairy Tale by N.R. GrabeThis collection of three linked stories successfully fuses traditional European fairy tale with steampunk serving up a greater whole.

This review is based on an open draft of the manuscript. As such details of plot and characterisation might differ from the finished book.

STM: A Steampunk Fairy Tale: Spending her days working alone beside a conveyor belt, toasting marshmallows for sale to the rich, and her nights sleeping, a girl does not realise what she is, let alone who. Until the chance gift of an orange triggers off a quest to find out what is beyond the factory floor.

The Chocolate Blunderbuss and Ostrich Speeders: A jury-rigged air-ship, crewed by children, crashes into a forest of metal trees. Rescued from fire-spitting camels by a young sharpshooter, they agree to seek out the cause of the problem.

Sea Monsters and the Legacy of Mama Luna: Fleeing a storm by taking their ship to the depths, a band of genetic misfits are captured by an exiled scientist. Treated as bargaining chips not people, they must face the truth of their creation.

Whether it is a deliberate choice or a result of the rough nature of the draft, the voice of the work is quite narrative. This lends it a similarity to children’s fables. Each story has an engaging plot which shows great promise despite the lack of polished prose in some areas. The intersection of magic and technology produces so especially interesting ideas.

Although the stories have a strong shared arc, the first two could also stand alone. The third story currently relies more on knowledge of the first two.

The revelation of who the main characters actually are and events in the wider world is well paced throughout the three tales, giving the reader the opportunity to theorise without leaving them frustrated.

I enjoyed the overall concept of this book. I recommend it to readers who enjoy interesting perspectives on fairy tales or steampunk. I suggest readers who dislike inelegant prose or small typographical errors wait for the final release.

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