Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts was an unexpected addition to my Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading & Reviewing Challenge. I was actually doing a shout-out for #steampunkchat on Twitter and asking for other-punk recommendations and @KaelaJael said “Romanpunk! by @TansyRR”.
So when I was reading Love and Romanpunk I was split between looking for the ‘punk and trying to analyse (for this review) what it was that made the book so good.
For a start, there’s no faking expertise. Tansy knows the Roman era she writes about, its characters and legends. That shines through from the first story.
Have I mentioned that Love and Romanpunk is a collection of short stories? and what a collection! There is a looping, impressive structure to the stories that builds with sly, humorous relentlessness to the steampunk-in-modern-times final adventure.
The paranormal aspect of the collection is well-integrated and made to seem a natural enough progression from the Roman history taken and twisted in the opening story.
The writing is strong. The narrators of the different stories have distinct voices. The collection shows a practised storyteller having fun spinning around a theme.