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The Book of Swords Hardcover – October 10, 2017
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“As you would expect from this editor, each story is different, each a gem. . . . [A] fabulous sampler of writers who know the long and short of epic fantasy.”—Booklist (starred review)
“When fine writer and expert editor [Gardner] Dozois beckons, authors deliver—and this surely will be one of the year’s essential anthologies.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A great collection for any fantasy fan.”—Library Journal
“Entertaining throughout . . . This is one of the anthologies of the year.”—Locus
About the Author
Gardner Dozois has been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He has won fifteen Hugo Awards, a World Fantasy Award, and thirty-four Locus Awards for his editing work, as well as two Nebula Awards and a Sidewise Award for his own writing. He was the editor of the leading science fiction magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction, for twenty years, and is also the editor of the anthology series The Year’s Best Science Fiction, now in its thirty-fourth collection. He is the author or editor of more than a hundred books. His two most recent anthologies, Dangerous Women and Rogues, were New York Times bestsellers.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Now it's time someone addresses the elephant in the room; George R. R. Martin. Now I am not a GRRM hater. I was an extremely passionate fan of Song of Fire and Ice –the real name of the GoT series- before anyone was talking about of it. But it needs said Sons of the Dragon is not only straight-up BOORRRING, it has no business in this anthology by even a long stretch. It's not a S&S tale. Heck, I'd argue it's not even a complete short-story at all. It's reads like a really long prolog or a high school book history lesson. Regardless of how bad it is, it doesn't follow an adventure of one or two individuals like all the other stories in this book; it details a history of Targaryen rule in Westeros.
All due respect to Mr. Martin, but either no one has cajones to offer him some creative criticism or they just figured anything he does will automatically get praise and sell books.
Despite the fact that the genre is mislabeled, the stories themselves are pretty goo, with one glaring exception—George R. R. Martin's "The Sons of the Dragon.," which is a shame since A Song of Ice and Fire is so popular that a lot of people will pick up the anthology just for this "story" and be disappointed. I put "story" in quotation marks because it reads more like an excerpt from a history textbook on the kingdom of Westeros than an actual story.
If you're considering buying this because you love Sword & Sorcery of for GRRM's story give it a pass. Otherwise it is still an enjoyable fantasy anthology.
I’ll just cut to the chase – you should buy this book if any of the following applies to you:
1) You liked previous books edited by Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin, books like Rogues, Dangerous Women, and Warriors. Even though Martin did not co-edit this anthology, it has the same style and is of equal (or greater) quality than those collections.
2) You really freaking love fantasy literature and want as much good stuff as possible.
3) You have read Lord of the Rings and Ice and Fire and would like to explore a wider variety of fantasy authors without shelling out big bucks.
4) You couldn’t really get into the Lord of the Rings books because they seemed more like an exercise in language creation, and you couldn’t really get into A Song of Ice and Fire because the style was too “faux-Romantic” for your tastes. But you think you’d like stories about swords and dragons and quests and stuff if they were written in a more straight-forward fashion. You’d like to explore more fantasy authors but you don’t know where to start.
5) You are a fan of any of the authors in the collection.
6) You like complicated, conflicted anti-heroes. And vikings.
If any of the above applies to you, you should buy this book.
The stories do not share a common storyline or universe. They are all independent of one another, so you do not have to read them in any particular order.
For those who might wish to buy this book because it contains a George RR Martin story, be warned that it is another one of Martin’s historical-type stories set in Westeros. If you are thinking of buying this book just to obtain more information of Westeros, don’t bother. Buy a World of Ice and Fire and wait for Fire and Blood. I don’t think very much new information is included that is not already present in World of Ice and Fire. Most of the negative reviews that I’ve seen on amazon or goodreads for the book are because people bought it solely for this Martin story and are disappointed by the lack of new stuff.
Unfortunate Post Script:
Martin's contribution was disappointing; don't get your hopes up unless you like uninspired exposition.