I love the concept of this anthology series. Each volume covers a year in the life of New Albion, an island off New York where ordinary humans and magical folk coexist. It’s a shared world series of anthologies, the world designed by the authors in cooperation before they wrote their stories.
The stories in Adventures in 1887 have lots of magic, mystery and romance. The different stories depict the city as a vibrant place full of great places to eat and drink. There is much political unrest and trouble for the mayor, with different factions calling for a human only city and others wishing to return to the time when the fae kept humans as pets. Changelings are still outcasts from both the fae and human world. My favorite addition to this volume (after the excellent Adventures in 1787) was the Conduit – a strange creature who lives in the Endless Wood with three dogs, immortal avatars of creatures that can see past, present and future. The Conduit will commune with the dogs and answer your questions, but each answer must be repaid with a favor owed.
My favorite story is the excellent novelette “The Changeling’s Mother” by CJ Henderson. It links beautifully to her story in Adventures in 1787, “The Lost Tale of Twinbridge”, and concerns 17 year old changeling Saabra who feels lost and out of place in the world. This story has real heart and a strong emotional center, as well as being so original and imaginative, and it also has the Conduit in it, which was a plus.
Other favorites were “The Ballad Collector” by Jonathan Helland, which intersperses scholarly quotes about the fae origin of human ballads as it tells the story of Amelia Ashencourt visiting New Albion to discover some new songs.
“Creatures of Pain and Sorrow” by Rebecca Burton is another emotional, highly original, imaginative tale about the threat of traveling fossils, and a Professor of Necromancy who is called in to help stop their terrible march.
Despite the strong stories in this anthology, I was disappointed that few transported me to the past. Even with the different societal constraints of New Albion, there was little effort in most of the stories to describe language, dress, or etiquette different to our own. I thought it was a shame, in an otherwise imaginative, original book.
Adventures in 1887 will be released tomorrow, October 1st.
I award Adventures in 1887…