Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts – review

Love and Romanpunk is one of the Twelve Planets series published by Twelfth Planet Press (made up of 12 boutique collections of stories by Australian writers). It is made up of four shorter stories, including:

  • Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary
  • Lamia Victoriana
  • The Patrician
  • Last of the Romanpunks

The four stories are connected (although thousands of years apart in timeframe and tracing some bizarre family history). I’ve said in other posts that I’m really enjoying the shorter forms of fiction and this book was no exception. It’s hard to tell from the title, so I’ll say immediately that there is a distinctly Roman sensibility to the stories.

The opening story Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary was cleverly written, with the alphabetical listing of the fantastical beasts woven well into the story. Lamia Victoriana moves us forward to the Victorian era. This was probably my least favourite of the four stories, which is praising by faint damnation as I loved all four stories.

The Patrician was my favourite from the book – I loved the concept of a neo-Roman city in the middle of Australian outback and there was enough monster fighting to keep me entertained. I know it has been commented on elsewhere, but thank goodness there is at least one 2,000 year old immortal that doesn’t fancy teenagers.

The faintly steampunk feeling of the last story Last of the Romanpunks was unexpected, but I enjoyed getting some sense of what happened after the events of The Patrician.

Throughout the book, the writing has a good balance of humour and clever dialogue which really appealed to me.

On the strength of this book, I’ve gone ahead and purchased the first in Ms Rayner Roberts’ Creature Court trilogy which I’m looking forward to reading to (when I get to it – my ‘to read’ list is currently very, very long).

If this was indicative of the general quality, I’m looking forward to the rest of the books in the Twelve Planets series.

As an aside I really liked the blurb for this book, which I’ve included below:

The world is in greater danger than you ever suspected. Women named Julia are stronger than they appear. Don’t let your little brother make out with silver-eyed blondes. Immortal heroes really don’t fancy teenage girls. When love dies, there’s still opera. Family is everything. Monsters are everywhere. Yes, you do have to wear the damned toga.

History is not what you think it is.

I also reviewed this book on Goodreads. View all my reviews

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

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