21 July, 2011

Review - Songs of the Dying Earth Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (Part 3 of 3)

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

It took me about a month to get through this anthology, but only for lack of time not for lack of desire. As I mentioned before, and I can still say this after finishing, Songs of the Dying Earth is the best anthology I've ever had the pleasure of reading!

So let's get right into it:

The Return of the Fire Witch by Elizabeth Hand (3/5) Saloona Morn is all but forced by the fire witch to participate in her plan for revenge. There were some surprises, but overall the story wasn't extremely interesting. Good, but not great.

The Collegeum of Mauge by Byron Tetrick (5/5) This is another favorite in a The Name of the Wind sort of way. Drogo gets into a school for wizards, interrupting his search for his father.

Evillo the Uncunning by Tanith Lee (4.5/5) The self-named Evillo, encouraged by tales of Cugel, takes off on an adventure and picks up a magical talking snail. This was one of the more hilarious tales in the anthology. One great quote right at the beginning:

"...life is ever valuable and must be preserved - so that it may also be punished for the insolence of persisting."

The Guiding Nose of Ulfänt Banderöz by Dan Simmons (4.5/5) The longest story of the bunch (almost 70 pages), the first half is easily 5 stars, but my interest began to wane in the middle and then it picks up again. Still a great story about wizards and warriors, powerful demons (one that took centuries to tame), and a trip across the dying world.

Also, this has one of the best illustrations of the book, including a look at each of the different characters.

Frogskin Cap by Howard Waldrop (2.5 to 3/5) I wasn't too impressed with this story. There really wasn't much too it, but it makes up in it's length (about 9 pages).

A Night at the Tarn House by George R R Martin (5/5) This read like a breeze, of course. The atmosphere was dark, yet playful and really captured the essence of the entire anthology. Some unlucky (and not so unlucky) characters find out that the Tarn House may not in fact be better than braving the terrors in the night - despite the wearies of travel.

An Invocation of Curiosity by Neil Gaiman (5/5) The perfect conclusion to the collection. Gaiman looks at what happens when it's all over and takes this premise in a really unexpected way.

Now read Songs of the Dying Earth already, it's that good!

5 out of 5 Stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher