Review: Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders

April 2, 2013 2.5 stars, Anthology, Book Review, Classic Fantasy, ebook, Fantasy, short story/Vignette, Sword & Sorcery 2 ★★½

Review: Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders two-half-stars
Swords & Dark Magic by C.J. Cherryh, Joe Abercrombie, Jonathan Strahan, Lou Anders, Michael Moorcock, Scott Lynch, Tim Lebbon
Published by HARPER Voyager on June 22, 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery
Pages: 517
Format: eBook
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Seventeen original tales of sword and sorcery penned by masters old and new

Elric ... the Black Company ... Majipoor. For years, these have been some of the names that have captured the hearts of generations of readers and embodied the sword and sorcery genre. And now some of the most beloved and bestselling fantasy writers working today deliver stunning all-new sword and sorcery stories in an anthology of small stakes but high action, grim humor mixed with gritty violence, fierce monsters and fabulous treasures, and, of course, swordplay. Don't miss the adventure of the decade!

Contents:
- Introduction: Check Your Dark Lord at the Door by Lou Anders & Jonathan Strahan
- Goats of Glory by Steven Erikson
- Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company by Glen Cook
- Bloodsport by Gene Wolfe
- The Singing Spear by James Enge
- A Wizard in Wiscezan by C.J. Cherryh
- A Rich Full Week by K.J. Parker
- A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet by Garth Nix
- Red Pearls: An Elric Story by Michael Moorcock
- The Deification of Dal Bamore: A Tale from Echo City by Tim Lebbon
- Dark Times at the Midnight Market by Robert Silverberg
- The Undefiled by Greg Keyes
- Hew the Tintmaster by Michael Shea
- In the Stacks by Scott Lynch
- Two Lions, a Witch, and the War-Robe by Tanith Lee
- The Sea Troll's Daughter by Caitlín R. Kiernan
- Thieves of Daring by Bill Willingham
- The Fool Jobs by Joe Abercrombie

I was very excited to read Swords & Dark Magic. When I first heard about the book, I instantly thought of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress series so I bought it based on nostalgia alone. It started very promising – “Goats of Glory” by Steven Erikson is full of action and Gene Wolf’s “Bloodsport” is a refreshing and different look at chess. I can’t say I enjoyed all of “The Singing Spear” by James Enge, but the ending makes the story worthwhile.

“A Wizard in Wiscezan” by C.J. Cherryh was cute but not memorable. “Red Pearls: An Elric Story” By Michael Moorcock was as good as expected – but the book took a turn for the boring soon after. “The Deification of Dal Bamore” by Tim Lebbon was interesting (and boring) but “In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch shines like a diamond surrounded by rocks.

Swords & Dark Magic closes with “The Fool Jobs” by Joe Abercrombie. It’s a good story with decent action and an ironic twist.

That’s the good parts. Almost all of the rest of the stories are just not that interesting. By the end of Swords & Dark Magic, I felt a little let down. My nostalgia for MZB’s Sword & Sorceress may have created unrealistic expectations.

2.5 Stars!

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