Top positive review
A Literary Tapas Platter
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2013
I've never really been one for anthologies. My taste has generally been inclined toward big thick books with piles of detail. That's why I love Harry Potter, the Song Of Ice And Fire series, Deborah Harkness' two novels. I only got this anthology because of Martin, I'll admit that right up front.
I'll also admit that I can't pay the full asking price of a book and just read a novella, so there was no way I was going to not read the other tales as well. I have to say now that I'm glad I have. Unlike many of the anthologies I've been asked to review over time, this is a collection of top-shelf authors very skilled in their craft. Too many editors compile anthos as a way to get experience for beginning writers. I suppose that's a fine thing, but it's not something I generally enjoy reading. In this case you've got little noshes from lots of grand chefs at the top of their game and it's nothing short of a feast.
Probably the masterstroke of editing genius from Dozois was to make the collection a cross-genre experience. It's nice to go from sci-fi to noir to high fantasy to urban fantasy. The difference in genres makes each story a palette cleanser and a unique and filling experience on its own.
I'd recommend this to fans of great reading, even those who don't generally go for the short-story format. I'd say some of the stories are 5-star, most are 4-star and a few slip under the wire slightly, coming in at 3-star. Even those, however, are good reads. Special mention for the story within a story about the star-crossed lovers--I want a followup to that one, and I want it badly. (I don't have the book in front of me, pardon my lack of a title.)