Everybody Must Get—
Created by ggrihn on 5/13/2018 12:27:15 PM

Stone Mad, by Elizabeth Bear,

Reviewed by Gregory G.H. Rihn, Steampunk Chronicle Literary Editor

clip_image002Stone Mad is the second book featuring Karen Memory, the hero of Karen Memory. In this book, Elizabeth Bear’s story, set in the northwest of an alternate universe America, moves from Steampunk to Paranormal Romance, although it must be said that the paranormal is not romantic, and the romantic is not paranormal.

Karen and her partner in adventure and business, Priya, have settled down as wife and wife, and are trying to make a go of farming and their other interests. A celebratory dinner in town takes quite an unexpected turn, with the two of them ending up helping an “iilusionist’s widow” and a pair of maybe-real mediums relocate a displaced and dangerous tommyknocker, or “borglum,” from the basement of the town’s best hotel.

Resolving the problem of the mislocated gnome is relatively straightforward, much more so than resolving the tensions between Karen and Priya over Karen’s fools-rush-in attitude to every problem that she sees.

Some Steampunk elements are retained, such as the sewing machine combat armor, and the medium sister’s mechanical corsets, but mainline Steampunk is pretty much left behind in favor of the supernatural, and, of course, the romantic. Not that all of those elements can’t effectively coexist, of course, but in this book I just did not find the combination working. There isn’t really enough of one thing or the other to make the story quite satisfying.

Stone Mad at Amazon

Karen Memory

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