Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Book Review: Fearsome Magics, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Fearsome Magics
Editor: Jonathan Strahan
Contributing Authors: Christopher Rowe, Garth Nix, Isobelle Carmody, Tony Ballantyne, K.J. Parker, Ellen Klages, James Bradley, Karin Tidbeck, Justina Robson, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Frances Hardinge, Kaaron Warren, Genevieve Valentine, Robert Shearman
Date of Publication: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Solaris
Buy It: Amazon / B&N
Source: NetGalley eARC, and later bought physical copy!
Aurealis Award Nominee for Best Anthology (Shortlist) 2014

"A cabinet of magic! A cavalcade of wonder! A collection of stories both strange and wondrous, of tales filled with wild adventure and strange imaginings. Fearsome Magics, the second New Solaris Book of Fantasy, is all these things and more. It is, we think, one of the best books you will read all year. 
Award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has invited some of the best and most exciting writers working in fantasy today to let their imaginations run wild and to deliver stories that will thrill and awe, delight and amuse. And above all, stories that are filled with fearsome magic!" 

Lasting Impression: 

   A collection of short stories encompassing the many forms of magic. The stories start off with light and entertaining reads and ends with heavier subject matter. Not all the stories were alike or wrote about magic the same way which helped with the quality of the experience of reading it. As Jonathan Strahan said, "Magic takes many forms." This sentiment is reflected in the variety of magical themes presented: including sorcerers, magicians, and other fantastical elements. The quality of writing was great and the prose in some of the stories was amazing. It was intriguing to read the different writing styles of the authors and to try out something by an author before reading more of their stories later.  I recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy and, of course, loves anthologies of short stories. Not all of the stories are light, in fact a good portion of them were pretty dark. Some of them could be considered to be in the genre of horror even. I was pleasantly surprised by this anthology since it is my first for fantasy. 

My favorite stories:
"Safe House" by K.J. Parker
"Hey, Presto!" by Ellen Klages
"The Nursery Corner" by Kaaron Warren

My Thoughts on the Short Stories: 

“The Dun Letter” by Christopher Rowe

    What I thought would be like the beginning of a novel was quite funny in the end. The elfin man was creepy. Sometimes real life and family are better no matter how tough it can be.

“Home is the Haunter (A Sir Hereward and Mr Fitz story)” by Garth Nix
     The beginning with names of places was a little difficult for me since I hadn't read anything about the characters before. However, the flow was easy for me and the story was entertaining. I love little adventures like these. 

“Grigori’s Solution” by Isobelle Carmody
      Great subject to write a story about! However, I have hard time coming to terms that the only explanation of the event is "complex mathematics". Hm..

“Dream London Hospital” by Tony Ballantyne
      This was the first dark story in the anthology and it takes place in a sinister hospital. It felt more horror than fantasy. 

“Safe House” by K J Parker
     Loved the POV, and smooth, easy, and entertaining writing. Great!

“Hey Presto!” by Ellen Klages
     This was the one story that didn't have any fantastical aspects other than being about a magician and his daughter who found something to bring them together. 

“The Changeling” by James Bradley
      This was a good take on the changeling story. The atmosphere was good.

“Migration” by Karin Tidbeck
     I don't know what to think about this one... It was interesting, odd... I hadn't read anything like this already or had previous knowledge of a story like this so it was difficult at first to put my head around it. 

“On Skybolt Mountain” by Justina Robson
       This one was really interesting and dark. The author lets you know just enough information at a time and leaves you to put the pieces together. I liked the style.

“Where Our Edges Lie” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
      Loved the descriptions and coming-of-age story. That ending though. Not happy.

“Devil’s Bridge” by Frances Hardinge
     Good story plot. More action in fewer page than some of the other stories. Good message.

“The Nursery Corner” by Kaaron Warren
      Wow. I don't know if it was meant to be as dark as I am making it, but it could have been darker. Pretty creepy too. The story flowed nicely

“Aberration” by Genevieve Valentine
    I was confused for the first 3/4 of the story. A time traveler I think who wants to find stability and wait for "him".

“Ice in the Bedroom” by Robert Shearman
     This one was kind of depressing and not at the same time. Also, I was kind of lost at one point. This was a good ending to the anthology. 

I rated this 4/5 Stars. 

*On Goodreads I gave each story a star rating as I read them. However I feel a review of this book deserves to be approached holistically. The 3 favorites are the ones I gave 5/5 Stars to. 

+I'd love to read the other following short story anthologies by Solaris:



Thank you to Solaris and NetGalley for letting me review this!


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