Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons Why You Should Read A Tyranny of Petticoats

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is to talk about something we love. So I thought I’d use the opportunity to do a condensed review of A Tyranny of Petticoats, which I finished a couple of days ago.

A Tyranny of Petticoats is a young adult anthology of short stories, edited by Jessica Spotswood. And here are some reasons why you should pick it up!

1. Historical fiction

This anthology is made up of 15 short stories that are all historical and set in the United States. If you love historical fiction, I can guarantee that you will love A Tyranny of Petticoats. As someone who doesn’t know much about US history, I learnt a lot of about it as I was reading the short stories. I also really loved that the stories were in chronological order and featured lots of different time periods.

2. Badass ladies

Every single short story is about a female protagonist. I loved how strong, fierce and badass they all were and how they took their own destinies into their own hands. We read about pirates, thieves, teachers and just normal girls who refuse to submit to their ‘superiors’ who try to bully them.

3. Diversity

I loved the diversity in this book. There is diversity in sexual orientation, as well as diversity in colour. I really enjoyed how these aspects were explored in all of the stories.

4. Social issues

This point ties into the first point I made. I highly enjoyed how the social issues of each time period were given a lot of focus. I feel like I learnt a lot and I loved how these issues were explored in the stories.

5. Author notes

Each short story was followed by an author note, detailing the inspiration behind the story. In a lot of cases, the stories were based on a true event or real people in history, and I liked that we were given some information about these in the author notes.

6. New to me/you authors

I hadn’t heard of some of the authors who contributed stories to the anthology and I enjoyed being able to get a little sample of their writing. I ended up looking up some of these authors’ other works and I’ll be checking them out soon.

7. Short stories

All of the short stories in this anthology are about 20-25 pages long, which I really, really liked. I don’t really like it when short stories are 50+ pages because that’s not ‘short’. These are a really great length in my opinion and it was easy to read a couple of stories in a sitting.

8. Romance and no romance

What I enjoyed about this anthology was that there was a good mixture of stories with and without romance. In fact, I think there were more stories that didn’t have a romance element and I loved that.

9. Mix of genres

There was also a really good mix of genres. They were all historical stories but there were some with fantasy elements and some with mythological aspects and I liked how different each of the stories were.

10. Beautiful hardcover

I have the hardcover version of the book and I think it’s a super high quality book. It’s got a beautiful jacket and the naked hardcover is also really lovely. The pages in the book are also thick and great quality.

Goodreads || Book Depository

Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (Illustrated by Chris Riddell)

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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Release date: October 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 1408859645
Pages: 72
Goodreads || Book Depository

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

This was a delightful and enchanting story, accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It was a wonderful retelling of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, with a brilliant twist. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who can read and I think children in particular would really love this book. I thought the illustrations really brought the story to life and added a lot to the creepy and dark atmosphere of it. And the cover is just spectacular. It’s also a lot prettier in person because the picture of Sleeping Beauty is printed on the naked hardcover and the jacket is made of vellum so that the illustration shows through.

I love how The Sleeper and the Spindle challenges the gender stereotypes that we have. We have Snow White (except she’s only known as ‘The Queen’ in the book) who is about to be married to her prince but thinks it’s the beginning of the end of her life. She decides instead to go off and be a warrior and a hero, highlighting that women aren’t weak and we don’t need a prince or a man to save us. Or to kiss us.

I wouldn’t really consider this to be an LGBT retelling. There’s really no romance at all in the book. I know a lot of people were disappointed that it wasn’t a proper LGBT book but I’m thoroughly satisfied with everything we got. It had an epic plot and some very likeable main characters. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

This was my very first Neil Gaiman book but I definitely need to pick up more titles by him. His writing was so beautiful! Let me know your Neil Gaiman recommendations! I’d also love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this book. Try to keep your comments spoiler free though!

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Review: The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan & Maureen Johnson

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Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release date: November 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 1442495995
Pages: 507
Goodreads || Book Depository

It’s not easy being Magnus Bane. As a warlock, he’s often called upon to fix the problems of others. His life has been long, and his loves have been many. And Magnus has a way of making sure he’s at the right place at the right – or perhaps wrong – time. The French Revolution Prohibition, the great blackout of New York City, the first great battle between Valentine and the New York Institute… Magnus was there, and usually in the middle of it. But smuggling Marie Antoinette out of France is nothing compared to loving a vampire like Camille Belcourt – or having a first date with Alec Lightwood.

Though Magnus’s tale is far from over, these stories shed a little light on his often inscrutable character. What happens when an immortal warlock goes mad? Are all Herondales as problematic as Will? (Answer: yes.) What exactly happened at the Hotel Dumort? How did Raphael Santiago become a vampire? What do you buy for your Shadowhunter boyfriend when you’re not really dating? And why was Magnus banned from Peru?

Magnus will never be able to tell all of his tales. No one would believe him. But here are eleven stories that fill in some of the blanks – stories he probably wishes had never gotten out.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

The Bane Chronicles is a bind-up of 10 short stories that were originally published in e-format, plus a bonus story that is exclusive to the physical bind-up. Each of these stories centre on a particular event in the long life of Magnus Bane. I think this collection of short stories is perfect for anyone who loves the Shadowhunter series and Magnus Bane. It answers some questions about Magnus that were never addressed in The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. I would recommend reading the Bane Chronicles AFTER those books because there are references that you wouldn’t be able to understand if you haven’t already read the other Shadowhunter books. The Bane Chronicles doesn’t contain any major spoilers, but there are things that are mentioned in the short stories that might take away from the reading experience of The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable collection of stories about Magnus and various characters that appear or are mentioned in The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. There were some stories that I liked better than others but I’d rate most of the stories 4-5 out of 5. They all had very humorous aspects and we definitely get to learn more about Magnus’s past, as well as about his warlock friends, Catarina Loss and Ragnor Fell, who don’t get mentioned very much in the series. Each of the stories began with a one-page graphic of a scene from the story, which I really enjoyed and appreciated.

The stories can definitely be read out of order, although they do appear chronologically in the bind-up. You can pick and choose which stories to read, and the stories are available individually in ebook format. Here’s a quick summary and my rating of each of the stories, in case you wanted to buy them separately:

What Really Happened in Peru 4 stars
Why did Magnus get banned from Peru? Features Magnus’s adventures in Peru over a couple of decades. Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss make appearances.

The Runaway Queen 4 stars
Magnus helps Marie Antoinette and the royal family escape from imprisonment. A hot air balloon is involved…

Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale 5 stars
How Magnus meets Edmund Herondale (Will Herondale’s father) and how Edmund falls in love with Will’s mother. Also features Magnus’s first meetings with Camille Belcourt.

The Midnight Heir 5 stars
Magnus meets a wild James Herondale one night and brings him home to the London Institute. He then goes to see his client, Tatiana Blackthorn, at the Blackthorn Manor, where he meets Tatiana’s ward, Grace. This story features a lot of Will, Tessa and Brother Zachariah! And gives us a taste of what The Last Hours (Cassandra Clare’s 4th Shadowhunter trilogy) will be about.

The Rise of Hotel Dumort 4 stars
A 2000 year old warlock goes a bit crazy in the Hotel Dumont… Camille Belcourt might be involved somehow.

Saving Raphael Santiago 5 stars
This is a heartwarming story about how Raphael became a vampire and his struggle to be reunited with his family.

The Fall of Hotel Dumort 45 stars
Something is wrong with the vampires and Magnus must try to make it right (for Camille’s sake) before the werewolves or the Nephilim interfere.

What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway) 45 stars
Magnus doesn’t know what to get for Alec for his birthday and he needs advice! A slimy demon is involved somehow…

The Last Stand of the New York Institute 4 stars
In this story, we get a glimpse of the ruthlessness of Valentine and The Circle, as they carry out raids and murder Downworlders. How was Magnus involved? And how did he end up agreeing to help out Jocelyn Fray?

The Course of True Love (And First Dates) 5 stars
The story about Magnus and Alec’s first date. This was my favourite short story in the collection!

The Voicemail of Magnus Bane – EXCLUSIVE TO THE BANE CHRONICLES 45 stars
A series of voicemails that Magnus receives after his and Alec’s relationship takes a turn at the end of City of Lost Souls.