Book Review: Steampunk Poe
Here’s my geek admission of the day: When I graduated from high school I took all that cash I received and promptly went out and bought the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe. Sure, some people do practical things with the money, like pay for college or textbooks. Others take a trip. But for me there was only one option: Poe all the way, baby! So when I found out that someone had made a Steampunk Poe collection, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. (Thanks so much to Running Press for this!)
Wait, what? Steampunk you ask. Steampunk is born out of the industrial revolution and is a genre of fiction that imagines the Victorian era or Wild West with steam powered technology like balloons, air shipts, etc. It has a unique style and feel and is quite a popular subculture movement. For good examples of the steampunk genre check out the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld or The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. Or, check out Steampunk Poe . . .
Here, some of the best of Poe’s original works, including The Masque of the Red Death and The Tell-Tale Heart, are illustrated with steampunk illustrations. These amazing illustrations are done by Zdenko Basic and Maunel Sumberac – and they truly are amazing (I know, I said that already). This isn’t like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies where the zombies are inserted into the story (to amusing effect I thought), but these are the original works of Poe as he wrote them so this text works for teens needing them for a class assignment. The steampunk illustrations, however, help bridge the gap and bring the stories to a casual reader. The marriage of Poe and steampunk is genius; if ever there was a writer that fit right in with the steampunk genre it would be Poe.
Take, for example, the Fall of the House of Usher. Poe’s tale of a haunted home is beautifully illustrated. As our unnamed narrator heads on horseback to the house of Roderick Usher, the gloom sits on the house with a weight that resonates with the story.
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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