The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell
I’m a time pirate-born in 1810, now a 21st-century woman. I travel through time trying to right wrongs without disrupting the fragile balance between what is and what can never be.
That’s why it’s vital that I go to 1836 and find the man who conned my brother out of his Time Travel Mechanism as quickly as possible. If the technology falls into the wrong hands, it could change the world as we know it. The notorious Duke of Leister definitely qualifies as the wrong hands. An amateur scientist of the slightly mad variety, he’s bound to figure out how to use the TTM sooner rather than later.
I knew this wouldn’t be easy. But I wasn’t counting on him being as sexy as hell. Or winding up chained to his bed…
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Before I start talking about The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale, I want to thank Carina Press and netGalley for an early copy of this novella. The story is being released today and you can purchase it here. I should also let you know that I am not a great lover of short stories or novellas when the characters are all new, mostly because it’s difficult to get all the depth and characterization that I love when you’re using half the words (or less) of your novel-writing counterparts. Creative writing classes in school taught me that I fail at this and so I have great admiration for those who can write beautiful, well developed short fiction.
The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale falls somewhere in the middle of the short fiction barometer for me. I love the basic concept, which is why I applied for a copy of the novella, despite its length (approximately 25,900 words). I mean, the phrase “time pirates” is going to get me pretty much every time, and the marketing blurb (above) really grabs your attention. How could I not give it a shot?
There are a lot of good things in this story. Stormy and the Duke are fun characters, though Stormy occasionally veers toward caricature (especially when she drops the word schlong into her thought processes). This could be because Christine Bell‘s trying to establish a light tone, which I generally liked, though I did find it a bit much at times. I thought the Duke was a particularly sympathetic character and I liked him a lot, while Stormy comes off as a bit flighty despite her sad childhood. Stormy’s brother Bacon is also an endearing character even though he doesn’t get a lot of screen time. (I’m lad that Christine Bell takes to explain their odd names as part of the storyline.) I wish the characters’ backgrounds had been explained in a more organic way, an that they chemistry between Stormy and the Duke had more time to come to a head, but I think these flaws can be attributed to the length of the story; I hope that they would have been better explored if this were a novel. I also think that a little more exposition about the time travel aspect of the story would have been nice since that’s what gives The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale its steampunk flavour. Conversely, though, I think the plot is well suited to a lower word count since there aren’t any secondary storylines in The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale.
Final point — I love the catchiness of the title!! It’s got a great rhythm and rhyme.