Stone Mad by Elizabeth Bear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a novella-length continuation of Elizabeth Bear's weird steampunk Western, Karen Memory. I loved that book, with its classic pulp feel (and in one chapter, literally Jules Verne-esque vibe). This story picks up about a month later, with Karen leaving Madam Damnable's (a house of "seamstresses," or shall we say, ill repute) behind and moving to her own little ranch with her girlfriend, Priya.
There's a side plot involving spiritualists, illusionists, and "tommy-knockers" i.e. borglums (I'm not sure what kind of supernatural creature this is supposed to be; are they similar to leprechauns?), but the real focus of this tale is Karen and Priya's relationship. This is not a cutesy teen romance; they are dealing with real grown-up issues here, and they work it out like adults.
As always, the attraction of this story is Karen as a character, and her irresistable voice. If you liked the previous book you will probably like this. If you haven't read Karen Memory, check it out; it's a fun romp.
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