Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Magic City: Recent Spells Book Review

Magic City: Recent Spells

Holly Black, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Charles De Lint, and Carrie Vaughn

Diamond Book Distributors

Pub Date: May 7 2014 

4/5 Stars


   Reviewing a short story collection always seems like a difficult thing to do for me.  There are always the stories you loved and the stories you hated.  I’m not entirely sure if that is purely personal taste or perhaps a problem derived from wrongly held expectations.  In this case, I have to admit I’m at somewhat of a loss.  I loved some of the stories I read, but others…  I have less flattering things to say about them.  There isn’t a single story here written by someone who isn’t a professional.  There aren’t any first time writers here and some of them, have had long careers with many awards to their ability.  So when I make this list please realize that I’m doing it based on my opinion of the story and nothing else.

               My Absolute Favorites:

                 Wallamelon- Nisi Shawl

                 In the Stacks- Scott Lynch

                 The Arcane Art of Misdirection- Carrie Vaughn

                 The Thief of Precious Things- A.C.Wise

                 The Land of Heart’s Desire- Holly Black

                 Curses- Jim Butcher

                 Kabu Kabu- Nnedi Okorafor

   The rest my friends were not as good.  Some were just too predictable, so seemed to stretch the theme of the anthology simply too much.  Finally others, were stories I’d read before just with different characters and different places.  That is the main problem with Urban Fantasy in general, not that all of these stories were urban fantasy.  But the ones that were, were VERY TYPICAL.  I was most impressed by the stories by Carrie Vaughn and Nnedi Okorafor who seemed to understand the conventions and purposely refused to give in to them.  But the other stories were of the highest calibur and I would say that for those seven stories I would buy the entire anthology.  As I said before, it is very hard to review anthologies and I will certainly do so again with some trepidation and thought.

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