Dangerous Women is a collection of fast-paced stories centred around women. They vary in style and quality, and although one (by Melinda Snodgrass) I abandoned, it has also led me to reserve the first of the Desden Files novels to read. The Butcher story was typical, of the collection, a women who against the odds manages to use her wits and femininity to escape from dangerous enemies and end up ahead by the end of the story.
The editors don’t make an entry into this collection, outside a short introduction by Dozois, which I would imagine anyone picking this up for the George R. R. Martin name on the front would find a disappointment. However anyone who remains disappointed as the short stores unpack would be missing in taste. By the end I was only sorry that there were only seven stories, and I’m fairly likely to pick up the other parts of the Dangerous Women series.
I hesitate to call this a short story collection as at 21 stories across over 900 pages, the average length of these stories is over 40 pages. Rather it’s a collection of novellas, shuffled together from different worlds.
The list of contributing authors alone was enough for me to pick this up, it reads as a list of the best current sci-fi and fantasy authors. Of course it includes a new tale from Westeros, but also something from London Below, a a whole set of stories from worlds that only exist inside this book. From a world where thieves have their souls trapped in statues as a warning to others, to a mystery set in a multiplex cinema through a club in the roaring twenties where possibly not everyone is human.
It is impossible to pick a favourite from this set, but the contribution from George R. R. Martin was a definite disappointment. Dry, dull and only explained that there had been a whole heap of infighting and grudges in the past. So don’t get it for that story, but it was just a bit of a damp squid at the end of a generally fabulous collection.
ASoIaF is brilliant, fantastical, intricate, epic. But can someone give the man an editor! Every book is getting more long-winded, and I’m struggling to imagine how he’s ever going to pull it all back together again. Every time I think I can see how he might manage it, someone key dies. This does make me slightly loose faith in the grand master plan, I’ve had a couple of epic series that have ended in an unfinished “lost my way” manner and it makes me look back on the entire series in a disappointed light.
But the journey is good. And of course life doesn’t have the first person you meet always winning through, so I’m willing to trust that there is a plan that means the chaos will ease off and peace returns to the Seven Kingdoms (together or separately).
I’m glad they were lent to me, and will read the rest when they eventually appear. My to read pile now includes George R R Martin’s earlier works, which I’ll get around to reading sometime this decade!
Winter is coming.
A Game Of Thrones feels like the classic opening book of a great fantasy series. It does have a plot of its own, but primarily its moving the players into place for the books to come and worldbuilding.
The different views of the story were fascinating, watching people make decisions on “facts” that other characters already know to be false, whilst ensuring that the reader isn’t given too much information to be able to judge a situation too clearly.
The prologue did throw me a little, but it was helpful to have in the back of my mind as much of the setting is a fairly standard pseudo-medieval historical setting. I was also glad as the book unfolded to see wisdom, experience and knowledge as respected as being good at hitting people with sticks.
Having read the ending I need to read the rest of the books.