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Street Magicks Paperback – April 12, 2016
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The good news is that the book is so long, (380 pages), that even if you only like half the stories you've still gotten a book of decent length. The good/bad news is that there are twenty stories here and almost half of them are a decade or more old. While there are a lot of come-on "names" here, (de Lint, Gaiman, Simon Green, Butcher, Kiernan), almost none of their stories struck me as particularly strong or as evidence of why they are "names". (This was especially so for the Gaiman and de Lint stories, which seem to have disappointed almost everyone.) So if you think you might find a hidden Green or Gaiman gem, well, not so much.
On the other hand, there were a number of stories that I liked that were by authors not otherwise on my radar. For example, I was very much taken by Scott Lynch's "A Year and a Day in Old Theradane", (which was also the longest story), and I liked the attitude in Elizabeth Bear's "One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King". And R.A. Lafferty delivered as per usual with his brief toss-off "In Our Block".
So, this is definitely a mixed bag. Since every reader is somewhere different on the whole wizard/magick spectrum, and since this book is all over that spectrum in terms of topics, style, mood, characters, faierieness, plotting and the like, there's a good chance you'll find a winner or two of your own.
(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
OK, I whined for a moment, I feel better :D. Now let's get to the stories.
The editor promises a bunch of stories filled with magic and somehow connected to city streets. Well, some of the stories really fit into this, but others seem to be a random addition. What you will find here is a variety of characters, settings, and genres. Don't expect pure fantasy. Walking around the corner you might find yourself in the middle of a mystery.
I'm not going to list all the stories here - you can find that on Goodreads, I'm sure. Anyway, I haven't even fully read all of them. Yes, I admit to skipping some less interesting ones or speed-reading through them. But I can't skip some of the bad to explain why my rating is as it is.
The opening story didn't really encourage me to further reading. I've heard some good things about Charles de Lint, I even had one of his books marked as to-read, but I'm not in a hurry to try it now. The idea seemed interesting - a team of thieves with a help of some magic tries to get back to business. But the execution wasn't that fascinating.
To "fix" my reading enthusiasm a bit I moved on to Gaiman's story [that's the beauty of anthologies - you don't have to read these stories in order and you don't even have to read them all]. You know I do enjoy his writing, but in this case, it was another disappointment. It just wasn't interesting. Maybe it was the setting? Maybe the biographical feeling, but I simply didn't like it. I missed the "magic" of his writing here.
I think few days had passed before I've reached for the book again. This time, I've started reading the second story in this set - "A Year and a Day in Old Theradane" by Scott Lynch. That was a good one! Finally, something I like, something that was interesting and exciting. It's a story of a thief that gets an unusual task - she has to steal a street. Yup, a whole street. If that haven't got your attention then I don't know what will. Her methods vary, the story never gets boring and the characters interesting. This is one of the authors that made me turn to Goodreads to see what else they wrote.
The "Hello, Moto" by Nnedi Okorafor also got me curious. Author has a gift with words and even thought the story was a bit strange at least it was original and reading it was a pleasure. I've already had "Binti" on my to-be-read list and this little tale just made me want to read it more.
And two authors who haven't disappointed: Jim Butcher and Simon R. Green. Let's face it, these were the named that made me choose this book, so I'm happy their stories were great!
Butcher brings us another story about a rather unusual wizard Harry Dresden. It's exciting, full of action - a perfect addition to the series. If you're a fan of Dresden files this is something you should read.
As for Green's story - it's also about a supernatural detective [I might have a thing for them] but it's a bit calmer and yet still with a dose of humor and creepiness. A detective has to solve a mystery of a certain ghosts death, but things can never be as simple as asking a few questions. Check out the whole thing! After reading this I seriously considered finally starting "Blue moon rising".
There are some other stories that caught my attention, but these are the ones I remember best. As a whole, this anthology might not be the best one out there, but it certainly has some good stories worth attention. I found some new authors that I'd like to check out like Scott Lynch or Nnedi Okorafor but at the same time, I was a bit disappointed by some other stories, some of them I even speed-read after first few pages. Overall impression - solid three stars.
<i>I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.</i>
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