The Long Past & Other Stories (NeRdyWYRM’s Review)


review master
Title: The Long Past & Other Stories
Author: Ginn Hale
Publisher: Blind Eye Books
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Genre(s): Historical Romance, Dystopian, Fantasy
Page Count: 317 pages
Reviewed by:
NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Blurb:

1858 – Warring mages open up a vast inland sea that splits the United States in two. With the floodwaters come creatures from a long distant past. What seems like the End Times forges a new era of heroes and heroines who challenge tradition, law, and even death as they transform the old west into a new world.

In the heart of dinosaur country a laconic trapper and a veteran mage risk treason to undertake a secret mission.

A brilliant magician and her beautiful assistant light up stages with the latest automaton, but the secrets both of them are hiding test their trust in each other and pit them against one of the most powerful men in the world.

At the wild edge of the Inland Sea, amidst crocodiles and triceratops, an impoverished young man and a Pinkerton Detective must join forces to outmaneuver a corrupt judge and his gunmen.


Steampunk Mash-Up

When I read the blurb for this book, I expected a dystopian steampunk mash-up of movies like Wild, Wild West, Jurassic Park, and an adult-ish version of The Last Airbender. I was not disappointed. While a lot of the themes were familiar, they were also mind-warpingly skewed, but in a good way.

steampunk spider~~~pterosaur~~~airbender

You’ve got a throwback to America in the mid- to late-1800s with all the societal crap that came along with it: racism, prejudice, and classism along with a paranormal/fantasy type twist thrown in with Armageddon-like panache. This was a series of three short stories—though the first one was the longest—that spanned a few decades of time in this crazy world that Ginn Hale constructed. Incidentally, after reading Hale’s Cadeleonian Series beginning with Lord of the White Hell (my review), I’m beginning to get the urge to bow down as unworthy in the face of this author’s world-building skills. They are pretty spectacular, at least in the m/m genre.

not worthy

There was one common thread throughout, namely a very rich someone named Mr. Moreau, who affected the MCs lives in each story either substantially or tangentially. It harkened my thoughts back to the mad scientist in another movie, The Island of Dr. Moreau. It made me wonder if that character wasn’t an inspiration for the author in some way, despite the fact that the Mr. Moreau in these stories wasn’t some evil bastard, just a rich tycoon with his fingers in a lot of pies. But I digress.

I won’t say this was the steamiest read because it wasn’t. There was plenty of chemistry, just not a whole lot of explicit follow through. For the most part, that was okay since I’m not sure if it would have added or subtracted from the realism. I’d like to think that even in puritanical America, people got freaky behind closed doors, but I don’t know that exploring that here would have done this title any favors. So … I was a little disappointed by the lack of heat, but not terribly surprised. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of these stories.

I don’t know if this was a one-off or not, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more of this world in Hale’s future titles, although I will confess, once again, to a marked dislike of short stories! I hope, if anything more is forthcoming, we get a full-length read next time.

This review is cross-posted at Goodreads. Other reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be read here.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of The Long Past &
Other Stories
provided by Blind Eye Books in exchange of an honest review.

Author

I am a life-long reader and an avid learner. I remember reading books without pictures when I was about four, and raided every title on my parents’ full and intimidating book shelves—well, the ones they would let me read, anyway—from then on. Characters written by authors like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, and Anne McCaffrey were my childhood playmates.

Back then, I went nowhere unless I had a book in my hand. While the rest of my generation was shifting from cassettes to CDs and from Atari to Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation, I spent my allowance on Myth & Magic pewter figurines and on books at the Stars and Stripes bookstore. These days I don’t have a book in my hand anymore, at least not the printed variety. Instead, it’s any device with a Kindle app.

I stubbornly held on to the printed page until a military move weighed my book collection in at over a ton. Oops. Sorry-not-sorry, but I did have to exercise some pragmatism in that area, unfortunately. Now I only buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, the classics, or long-running series. Otherwise, I’ve surrendered to the times and our weight allowance and have gone all digital.

I stay strictly on the fiction side of the fence because non-fiction is generally too dry to hold my interest. I was always a scholar, and so have read enough textbook-like titles and required reading for school and college to last me a lifetime, thank you very much. So, non-fiction? No, thanks. However, barring non-fiction and biographies (ewww people), there’s not much out there I won’t read.

I have loved romance novels since I was prepubescent. Something about historicals and anything with horses, i.e., Native American inspired romances just did it for me. My grandmother was appalled that my parents let me read that ‘smut’ as she called it. I’d already justified my position on being allowed to read those controversial titles with a logical argument that there were a lot of historical facts in those books that couldn’t be learned in the classroom alone. And to this day, I maintain that stance. I have learned more from books, specifically romance and fantasy novels, than I ever did in a classroom.

~~wink-wink~~

My dad always said I was too smart for my own good. Looking back, he was probably right! I could logically talk my way into and out of just about anything. It’s served me well, but caused me no end of problems, too. That said, despite my love for the romance genre in general and the m/m romance genre in particular, there is little chance that a decent book of any kind will fail to catch my interest, and there’s nothing at all I’m unwilling to learn. So bring it on. I hope you enjoy my reviews.

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