Monday, May 12, 2008

Book Review: Twenty Epics edited by David Moles and Susan Marie Groppi

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book reviews.

The title pretty much says it all: twenty stories that attempt to tell an epic. And for the most part, they succeed. Of course what impresses me is that this anthology has lots of flexibility and experimentation in its stories and we not only get epics under 10,000 words but the authors tell it in the most imaginative of ways, everything from flash fiction to a choose-your-own-adventure piece. I did enjoy most of the stories here but having said that, here are my favorite three stories. “A Siege of Cranes” by Benjamin Rosenbaum was serialized in several “year’s best of” anthologies last year and I pretty much agree with that choice. You have this typical fantasy epic clothed with new elements. Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Bound Man” was another favorite, everything from its Asian flavor, strong protagonist, and the enjoyable fight scene. “The Last Day of Rea” was an epic of a different sort, especially with its unexpected sci-fi leanings. Overall, this original anthology features several impressive stories, especially if you’re a fan of high fantasy or space opera. Even those looking for fiction with an experimental style while find Twenty Epics to be a valuable book to add to their collection.

Rating: 4/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.


Mary Robinette Kowal said...

Thanks for the lovely review!

Charles said...

You're welcome. Looking forward to your stories. =)