If you’re a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R.R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R.R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire.
Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis, as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand, in this rogues gallery of stories that will plunder your heart — and yet leave you all the richer for it.
This book as a whole: I really liked the diversity among the stories. However, why were the author/story introductions so poorly written? Most sounded like one long run on sentence.
This is the first anthology I’ve read all the way through and I really enjoyed it. I liked seeing how things that bothered me in one story didn’t when handled by a different author. It also opened me up to a ton of new authors that I’m not sure I otherwise would have ever gotten around to reading or even noticing – and it also assured me there are some authors I’m just never going to hit it off with.
Now the stories themselves:
Joe Abercrombie “Tough Times All Over” 2. It was mildly boring. The definition of okay.
Gillian Flynn “What Do You Do?” 4. I enjoyed the characters and story, although I felt it was a little heavy on the exposition.
Matthew Hughes “The Inn of the Seven Blessings” 2. I actually thought this was cute, but very unfortunately for the story, I have trouble moving past the main character offhandedly considering raping the main female character. He even thinks about asking another guy for help raping her. And that was just super casually dropped into the story and then forgotten. Yay I’m happy he gets the girl in the end so he doesn’t have to force her? The comments just seemed so out of place for the story, which I otherwise quite liked.
Joe R. Lansdale “Bent Twig” 3. I didn’t love/hate it. Not my favorite style of writing.
Michael Swanwick “Tawny Petticoats” 4. Fun characters carry the story along nicely, but the ending feels really rushed.
David Ball “Provenance” 5. I loved the characters, the style, the plot, everything.
Carrie Vaughn “The Roaring Twenties” 2. I struggled to finish this one. I didn’t like the characters and was not at all invested in what happened to them
Scott Lynch “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” 2. Same problem I had with his book – he tries too hard to make everything seem cool and instead it just seems forced.
Bradley Denton “Bad Brass” 0. The only story I couldn`t finish. I instantly hated the chauvinistic main character. Every sentence had me cringing or rolling my eyes.
Cherie Priest “Heavy Metal” 3. I liked the Supernatural feel of the story, but it could have been a bit more fleshed out. It felt rushed at the end.
Daniel Abraham “The Meaning of Love” 4. The style is really similar to “Tough Times” and “A Year and A Day,” but with characters I didn’t hate. I also liked the way I was actually never sure of the main character’s gender.
Paul Cornell “A Better Way to Die” 1. The writing was very chunky, which made the complicated plot overly confusing. I had to read most of the sentences more than once. It was a cool idea, but poorly executed. And I’m still confused about what exactly the “balance” is.
Steven Saylor “Ill Seen in Tyre” 3. Cute – enough to make me want to check out the first novel with these characters
Garth Nix “A Cargo of Ivories” 4. A fun little story. It had a very Final Fantasy feel to it
Walter Jon Williams “Diamonds From Tequila” 4. I really liked the writing style and main character.
Phyllis Eisenstein “The Caravan to Nowhere” 5. I loved this story. This is everything a short story should be and I can`t wait to read the books featuring this character
Lisa Tuttle “The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives” 3. This story started out strong, but it went on for far too long and I disliked the narrator. I also thought it weak, even with a Sherlock Holmes-style character, that they solved the whole case in like 4 hours. The villain was supposed to be really smart and had been hiding his crimes for almost a decade. I really can’t think it would have been as easy as basically just walking up to his front door.
Neil Gaiman “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back” 5. Loved it and this story has skyrocketed Neverwhere to the top of my to-read list.
Connie Willis “Now Showing” 4. As a film buff I got a real kick out of this story. However, there were parts that were repetitive and a bit of editing could have kicked this story up to a 5.
Patrick Rothfuss “The Lightning Tree” 4. I have a soft spot for Bast, so I really enjoyed this story.
George R. R. Martin “The Rouge Prince” 3. I enjoyed this story, but it had a ton of information shoved into a small amount of space. I am also rather annoyed with how it ended and that now I need to pick up another anthology to finish the character`s story.
This is one of my earliest reviews, so I’m sorry that some of the “reviews” of the stories leave something to be desired. I wish I could tell you why did I not write why I liked or disliked certain elements.