#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Tyranny of Petticoats

March 2, 2016 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism 13 ★★★★★

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Tyranny of PetticoatsTitle: A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: Hit or miss, like all multi-author short story collections, with the misses primarily being too simplistic and the hits mostly being moving stories about important historical events and/or those with great fantasy world-building.

Short story collections, especially by multiple authors, are always hit or miss for me, but the focus of this book on young women in history was too interesting for me to pass up. Surprisingly, an awful lot of them also turned out to have elements of magical realism or were full-on urban fantasy.  I thought the editor did a great job organizing the stories, which progressed chronologically and generally moved from those with fantasy elements to those without fantasy elements and with more solid grounding in specific historical events. In addition to the diverse genres, I enjoyed that every story was set in a different location and at a different time period and that many stories features main characters who were non-white, LGBT, and/or differently abled.

Although this book did win me over, the begining wasn’t strong. The first three stories in particular used magical realism as a crutch to enable simplistic conflict resolution in poorly developed stories. Fortunately, the next story and many that followed were completely awesome. Here are a few of the stories I enjoyed the most and what I liked about them:

  • Both Leslye Walton’s El Destinos (a reimagining of the Greek myth of the three fates) and Andrea Cremer’s High Stakes (urban fantasy about supernatural beings during the civil war) did some incredible world building in the space they had. The first was thoughtful, the section action-packed but understated and I loved them both.
  • Pearls by Beth Revis had a heroine whose bravery standing up for herself surprised me in the best of ways.
  • Both Marissa Meyer’s Gold in the Roots of the Grass and Katherine Longshore’s Hard Times  had fascinating stories with heroines who I enjoyed admiring for their kindness.
  • Y.S. Lee’s The Garret Girls had heroines who came up with a surprisingly and exceedingly clever solution to a tough situation.
  • Together, the stories I mentioned in the last three bullet points showed many of the different ways a heroine can be strong or admirable and I enjoyed that well-roundedness
  • Elizabeth Wein’s The Color of the Sky (about a black aviatrix and a girl who wants to follow in her footsteps), Lindsay Smith’s City of Angels (about two women working during WWII and falling in love), Pulse of the Panthers (about a farmgirl inspired by a visit from the Black Panthers), and The Whole World is Watching all had both incredibly moving personal stories and managed to capture an important historical moment as the backdrop. All were thoughtful and emotional reads.

As you’ll be able to tell if you count of the stories I mentioned, that’s 10 of 15 stories that really blew me away. I debated about whether or not that was enough to give this book five stars and decided that the stories I mentioned were just too good to give them any less. After an inauspicious beginning, I’m happy to say that I’d highly recommend giving this collection a try.

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13 Responses to “#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Tyranny of Petticoats”

    • DoingDewey

      I almost always give short stories 3 or 4 stars, because the stories span a range of stars and I essentially average. The exception is a collection of short stories all by one author, in which case the quality can be more consistent for me. I would say something like 11 or 12 out of 15 were pretty fantastic for me in this collection though, so I decided I had to give it 5 stars 🙂

  1. Louise

    I’ve been dying to read this. The whole idea just sounds so appealing, and I’m glad to hear that the majority of the stories are 5-star worthy. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

    • DoingDewey

      It really was great! I was so glad when I got into it and realized it was going to live up to my expectations given the premise 🙂

  2. Naomi MacKinnon

    This sounds like a fun read! It is hard to review a collection of stories, and even harder when they are all different authors. I think I would read this one for the title alone!

    • DoingDewey

      The title and topic were enough to overcome my reluctance to pick up short stories and it was definitely the right choice 🙂

  3. Aylee

    Yes, I would say 10 out of 15 stories is a truly excellent proportion and fitting of 5 stars! I’m so glad you’re spotlighting this collection here and that you loved most of them because I’ve been curious about this one, but I really haven’t seen all that much about it yet. Short stories aren’t usually my thing… But I think I would really appreciate quite a few of the ones you mention here.

    • DoingDewey

      Yeah, they’re not usually my thing either, but this was such a good collection and I do think the topic is something you’d probably enjoy 🙂

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