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Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables Paperback – June 4, 2013

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045146494X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451464941
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #892,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Take a few of the Western world's best-known fairy tales, toss in a generous helping of gizmos and steam, and you get one of the most inspired mash-ups of the year...There are many thoughtful new spins on old favorites."—Publishers Weekly

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Father Brassbound followed Queen Perrault down the spiral stairs that led into the dank foundations of the Royal Palace of Talos. The door behind them was in the Lesser Rose Garden, a huge, rusted iron monstrosity set into the base of the Windhook Tower. To pass in three steps from the sunlit idyll of the ranks of polyantha to the mossy, shadowed coils of the stone bowels of the castle always disturbed him.

“My lady.” He was nervous—the familiarity itself betraying Father Brassbound’s deep sense of uncertainty—“Why do we go below this day?”

“Because,” she replied in a voice tinged with gentle exasperation, “I want to show you something.”

“I am not so fond of laboratories,” the priest said. “My own forging was a painful, drawn–out process.”

“We forge nothing this day,” the queen assured him.

That they had managed to separate themselves from Queen Perrault’s scuttling crowd of maids, ladies–in–waiting, courtiers, and guards was itself something of a minor miracle. As Father Brassbound well knew, royalty was almost never alone. They were attended even in the privy, at least much of the time. Their most intimate moments took place within earshot of a valet, a ladies’ maid, and at least two guards.

That she took this trip into the bones of the palace alone except for him was a momentous occasion. Momentous, and smacking all too readily of secrets.

He did not like secrets so much. His God was not a god of secrets, though of course the church had its Holy Mysteries. But those were available to any man who took the right vows and swore to the correct loyalties.

The queen . . . she was a woman of fierce intelligence and strong desires. Father Brassbound feared that in her.

They soon debouched from the winding tunnel of the stairs into the barrel–vaulted expanses of this particular basement. The queen, carrying a lantern, adjusted some valves and pressed a button that caused sparkers all around the vast, damp space to echo like a battalion of iron crickets.

“Lux fiat,” muttered the priest.

“Indeed.” He could hear the tense smile even in the queen’s voice.

The lights flared to life, illuminating a dozen dozen devices, from a great, hulking revolutionary with lightning cables thicker than his thigh to worktables covered with delicate glassware arranged for the miracle of a chemical wedding. Other shapes were shrouded with clothes, or lurked in shadows behind the pillars that supported the downward leap of the vaulting. Though the priest had no sense of smell, he was certain the place would be redolent of oil, metal, and mold.

Queen Perrault walked over to a great brass–bound tank filled with a dark green fluid. Tubes ran in and out while pumps ticked slowly over, moving dark and viscous fluids from a series of glass cylinders into the shadowed, foggy depths of the tank.

He looked, but was able to see little. Whatever went on in there was obviously meat rather than brass, but beyond that, Father Brassbound could not say.

“I will be pregnant soon,” the queen announced.

He was quite taken aback at this improbable declaration. “Your Highness?”

“You will help me create and maintain the appearance of gravidity,” she said, glancing back at him. Her brown eyes, so light they were almost amber, flickered in the gaslight that burned from two dozen sources around them. Not tears, he realized.


“Pregnancy has but one cause, and a highly predictable outcome,” Father Brassbound offered cautiously.

“We will forge our outcome,” she said, turning back to the tank. “Dr. Scholes has been very, very helpful to me. The fluid he guided me in preparing is almost steeped enough to host she who will be my daughter.”

“You cannot,” he almost squeaked. “Only a child of your body can inherit the throne.”

“So far as the world knows,” the queen replied calmly, “she will be the child of my body.”

“What does His Highness say to this plan?”

This time her voice was sad, distant, echoing from an exile’s distance. “So far as Grimm knows, she will be a child of my body.”

“My Queen,” Father Brassbound said slowly. “I serve you in all things so long as I do not betray the church and my faith in God to do so. I . . . If need be, I, I can stand beside you and bear false witness to the court in this matter. But I cannot . . . cannot betray the king.”

“Who speaks of betrayal?” Her eyes were glittering with tears. “Dr. Scholes and I will use the homunculi of his ejaculate and the blood–egg of my own body to make our daughter come to life. It is no different than what my body does by instinct and through the virtues of vital essences. I will merely use my hands instead of my uterus. She will still be Grimm’s child, and mine.”

“But not born of your body.”

“No, Father.” Perrault’s voice dropped, almost a growl, as she threw a switch and the tank began to bubble. “Born of my will.”

The priest knew then that no matter the qualms of his conscience, he would obey the queen in this as well.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kristina on June 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Review Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

LA VALSE by K.W. Jeter

The original fairy tales were pretty gruesome affairs with the wicked and sometimes the innocent meeting horribly bloody ends. LA VALSE is probably the most gruesome tale in CLOCKWORK FAIRY TALES was an interesting take on the RED SHOES by Hans Christian Andersen where instead of one bratty girl getting taught a lesson, horrible noblemen and women are tortured at a ball. I was a bit confused though about the application of the deadly technology on the nobility. I couldn't figure out if they were just automatons or really trusting rich people who had odd steampunk attachments put on them during the ball. Either way it was kind of satisfying to see mean rich people meet a horribly bloody end while dancing at a ball.

FAIR VASYL by Stephen Harper

Being familiar with Vasilisa the Beautiful and other tales involving Baba Yaga I was surprised at the gender change of the main character from Vasilisa to Vasyl. I adored the steampunk house design on Baba Yaga's house that stands on chicken legs. Along with the house there are lots of other little touches paying homage to the original story. FAIR VASYL was a very whimsical story with anamatonic animals and brooms helping Vasyl complete his tasks to win the hand of a girl and escape from the Baba Yaga. The most surprising and touching element of this story was the romantic twist over just who Vasyl really wanted to be with in the end.

THE HOLLOW HOUNDS by Kat Richardson

THE HOLLOW HOUNDS was an amusing tale with mechanical talking dogs helping a soldier save a town. I loved the visuals of a vast cavern of steampunk mechanics and dangerous monsters.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LITERAL ADDICTION on June 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's GuestvReviewer - Michelle M:
*Copy gifted for an honest review

This book is a collection of Steampunk Fables based on fairy tales. These stories take you back to a time long ago but with a twist. I loved them. My favorite would be You Will Attend Until Beauty Awakens. This one is based on Sleeping Beauty and I just loved the story. Each of the Fables in this book stick to your mind and you will always remember them and I love that about a book that I read. So many times you can forget what the books were about but this one will always stick.

The technology in these makes a person like me, 'a tech nerd', happy and learning about Steampunk was a great experience for me. You had gears, laboratories, mechanical dogs and treasure. You get a little and a lot all at the same time. Short stories but great on detail and Steampunk goodness. This was my first book on Steampunk and I will definitely be checking out more of this genre now that I got to get into the worlds in each of these Fables.

LITERAL ADDICTION's Guest Reviewergives Clockwork Fairy Tales 4 Skulls.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kat Lyn on August 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
(Originally rated on
*Slight Spoilers*
This anthology showcases fairy tales given new environments of the steampunk kind (and its variations of clockpunk, bustlepunk, dieselpunk, etc.). All have been riveted and reimagined in worlds where technology has taken a different turn. I really enjoyed many of them, but there were exceptions. Not that they were bad, but had a few glitches. Such as moments where the dialogue became overly complicated (which can be flabbergasting). I had to reread a few portions to understand the events that took place there. Dialogue has its place, but it should never fully discourage the reader from understanding the situations in the story. Still, many of the stories made for an enjoyable read delving into these lands where witches can ride in diesel-powered mortars, brass priests keep secrets, and mechanical swans deliver destruction.
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Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables
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