Book Review: Trenchcoats, Towers, and Trolls edited by Rhonda Parrish

Trenchcoats, Towers, and Trolls

Editor: Rhonda Parrish
Series: Punked Up Fairy Tales, book 3
Publisher: World Weaver Press (January 11, 2022)
Paperback, 239 pages
Sci-Fi, Anthology


What do you get when you take the high tech/low life settings of cyberpunk and sprinkle them with the magic and possibilities of fairy tales? Trolls under teleportation bridges, masquerades held in virtual reality, princely avatars, giants and dwarves alongside hackers and androids. From retellings of traditional tales such as Rumpelstiltskin, in which a young woman is tasked with writing code instead of spinning gold, to original tales like the changeling-inspired story of a formless machine intelligence that hijacks human bodies, these cyberpunk fairy tales form a unique collection that is sure to satisfy connoisseurs of both genres.

Original stories from Thomas Badlan, Suzanne Church, Beth Goder, Sarah Van Goethem, Nicola Kapron, V.F. LeSann, Angus McIntyre, Wendy Nikel, Ana Sun, Michael Teasdale, Alena Van Arendonk and Laura VanArendonk Baugh.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

– A Beautiful Nightmare by Sarah Van Goethem
I love this futuristic speculative fiction taken on Sleeping Beauty! It’s a peek at where the future and technology could take us with the pandemic and lockdowns and the rapid technological advances made because of them.
4.5 stars

– Firewalls and Firewort by Wendy Nikel
An interesting premise but the ending left me unsatisfied.
3 stars

– The Rabbit in the Moon by Ana Sun
This is a great reimagining of the folktale of the legend of the moon rabbit. I’d really love to see a longer book about the Chronicler and the things they see and do. I looked the author up hoping to find more by her but was sad to not find anything. I really hope she’ll continue to write more.
5 stars

– Stiltskin by Michael Teasdale
A compelling Sapphic cyberpunk Rumpelstiltskin retelling. Very gritty and dark. 10/10 would read more about this gay self-aware android con artist.
4 stars

– Three by Nicola Kapron
Really interesting interpretation of the three billie goats gruff. Made me scratch my head a bit and go “well huh” re: the Troll character. Loved that this one features a transwoman MC, but I’d like her to have a whole book, please.
5 stars

– Cumulus by Thomas Badlan
Interesting cyberpunk take on the changeling lore.
3 stars

– Drift-Skip by Suzanne Church
Almost DNFd this one, spent most of the story going WTF?
1 star

– Make Your Own Happily Ever After by Beth Goeder
This. Story. Is. SO. CUTE!! I cannot even. I Absolutely adored this post-punk Cyber Cinderella retelling. The writing style is a tad simplistic at times, but I don’t even care. I want MORE.
4.5 stars

– **********SK.IN by Alena Van Arendonk
An interesting futuristic, techy retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. The MySoft company reminded me a lot of Apple… *looks meaningfully at old iPod which is no longer supported for OS updates and thus isn’t compatible with iTunes anymore*
4 stars

– C4T & MOU5E by V.F. Leeann
As is to be somewhat expected of a cyberpunk Alice in Wonderland retelling, I have NO IDEA what just happened but I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading… whatever it is I just read.
4.5 stars

– In the Belly of the Whale by Angus McIntyre
For some reason, I thought this was going to be a Pinocchio retelling but instead it’s a weird Snow White one. Interesting take from the “mirror’s” POV (sort of…)
3 stars

– Neon Green in D Minor by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
I didn’t realize this was based on the Pied Piper of Hamelin until the little blurb after the story, but it’s darkly compelling.
4 stars

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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