Review of Robert E. Vardeman, “Daughters of Earth and Air” in Rhonda Parrish, ed., Grimm, Grit, and Gasoline: Dieselpunk and Decopunk Fairy Tales, (World Weaver Press, 2019): 132-149 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
This story fell rather flat for me. It was premised upon interesting characters — the titular daughters, and in particular one of them, Dorianya — but it frustrated me how Dorianya’s motivation seemed to be purely “love [or lust?] at first sight”. I didn’t know her well enough to know whether her actions were typical or unusual — either for her or for the daughters of earth and air in general — so I found that when she predicated all her actions on the hopes of winning a handsome man, I simply didn’t care about whether she succeeded or failed. On the other hand, after about half-way through the story, I realised which fairy tale was being retold, and I enjoyed the different twist that Vardeman put on it.