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Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress XXII Hardcover – November 15, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
For anyone unfamiliar with the series, the book collects sword & sorcery tales with strong female protagonists, a broad enough theme to encompass a variety of good stories from authors both experienced and new. I settled down, cracked open the book ... and found myself vaguely disappointed. The first few stories didn't satisfy me. Had I romanticized the series so much that nothing could live up to my expectations?
But no, as I read further, I found stories that drew me in. Stories where the struggles felt real, and the heroines fought toward endings both satisfying and believable. I even ended up recommending one (Bearing Shadows, by Dave Smeds) for the Nebula.
After a rocky start, I enjoyed somewhere around half to 2/3 of the stories, which makes for a pretty good collection.
Sword & Sorceress XXII continues the legacy Marion Zimmer Bradley began, presenting stories of strong women (stories that don't bash the reader over the head with "message") by both experienced and new authors. The trade paperback format still feels a little weird, but I can get used to that.
All in all, I'd say this one's worth buying, both for some strong stories, and to support one of the oldest anthology series in the genre.
(Bonus trivia: Norilana Books, the publisher behind Volume XXII, is run by Vera Nazarian, one of the writers Marion Zimmer Bradley mentored years ago.)
Most of the short stories in this volume do follow this formula. The heroines are typically likable (and mostly somewhat interchangeable, in my opinion). The stories are typically extremely task-oriented, which often makes them feel like a chapter in someone's novel rather than the kind of short story that takes your breath away as it stands on its own. The endings are almost all essentially happy-- everything wraps up with a nice, pat finish (the kind where the heroine secretly smiles to herself and sets off for her next adventure). The stories do not especially challenge, disturb, or intrigue the reader, and some are hopelessly predictable if you have read enough of this kind of fiction.
I did think very highly of two of the stories-- Fairy Debt (by T. Borregaard) was creative and fun, and Bearing Shadows (by Dave Smeds) was excellent. However, if you are looking for short fiction that will do more than play out the same kind of story over and over again, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.
I am very glad to hear that the series will be continuing; I look forward to reading volume XXIII.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite series of books. Every story is a winner.Published 14 months ago by K. Schweighauser
Oh dear, dear, dear. I've been such a fan of S&S for so many years, I hate saying this, but this is dreadful! The stories are juvenile pablum, feels like high school quality. Read morePublished on September 1, 2010 by K. Cubero
Great part of an anthology series. Wonderful, masterful writing on the part of the authors.Published on July 13, 2009 by bookandcdfreek
I have collected these wonderful compilations of high adventure of the feminine kind since the very first volume! I am so glad that they are still on going despite Ms. Read morePublished on March 24, 2008 by Green Dragon