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The Pig-Keeper’s Assistant: A Steampunk Take on The Swineherd

When planning out my week last week, I knew I was going to be busy. I am deep in illustrating for my second book in The Tales of the Robot Nika book series and up against a deadline. That means I have to crank out pictures for it whether I like the pictures or not (and I don’t have much room to slow down). I had another Postage Stamps strip to plot out and draw (which is oddly enough turning into a gag-a-week strip. Given how heavy most of my writing is, the comic is a nice change). I had an online game to write in an html framework called Sugar Cube. I had a newsletter to produce for the week. I also had to reach out and follow up on a number of publishing tasks. I knew I would not have a lot of time for reading.

So, in order to keep with book review schedules. I chose a short story to review for today. The Pig-Keeper’s Assistant is a recent addition to the Amazon library. It is a short story that I could read in an hour. It is a steampunk take on a classic fairy tale.

What’s not to love – about love?

The characters and the setting evoke the flavor of period pieces like the Poldark series and Little Women. The author, listed as E. Long, beautifully weaves the romantic characterizations of women in love as they were often depicted in Victorian times with steampunk tropes – all squeezed into the framework of a Hans Christian Anderson classic. I would almost love it. I love the story itself – but there is a downside. The author nails so many high points in this retelling – and I can’t wait to read more from them. If they are a young author, as the story’s acknowledgements suggest, I think they may have a very bright future ahead.

The downside to this gem is grammar. The author is amazing (in my opinion). However, it was impossible for me to let myself go and lose myself in this story (I truly wanted to) due to the number of grammatical mistakes and misused words (sediments in place of sentiments, for example). Things like this happen to any of us – and this is nothing a good editor can’t fix. That said, I hope the author gives things another go soon – just with a solid proofreader at their side.

They are displaying a real talent here.

This is Victorian-era romance at its finest, and if you can look past grammar to enjoy a nice, quick little dose of story, this may be just what the doctor ordered. You can find The Pig-Keeper’s Assistant for sale in the Amazon Kindle store here.

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