Gaslamp fantasy is a cousin of steampunk fiction and a sub-genre of both fantasy and historical fiction and typically has an Edwardian or Victorian setting. So…. here are three of my favorites from this sub-genre.
A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray
Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions that have been haunting her. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. Before long she’ll discover another world beyond the walls of her Victorian boarding school.
Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to.
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing.
Many of the themes in Gaslamp Fantasy come from gothic literature so you’ll find elements of romance and/or horror derived from intense emotion. Gaslamp fantasy was first coined in 2006 by webcomic artist Kaja Foglio to differentiate her comic, Girl Genius, from conventional steampunk fiction.
I’m adding one more to my list of gaslamp fantasy books to read…
The Paper Magician, Charlie N. Holmberg
Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.
Have you read any gaslamp fantasy?
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