SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1385
Whenever I receive a publication that holds large quantities of Sword and Sorcery, my first concern is that the contributors are a bunch of amateurs who think their D&D sessions would make interesting reading, and never manage to understand why they don't. I needn't have worried. A quick glance at the table of contents was enough to convince me that this one was something special -- it isn't every day that I pick up a book and find that almost every author is not only someone I've heard of, but someone whose work I've read and enjoyed elsewhere.
So the bar was set high, and the stories didn't disappoint, showing core S&S as it was meant to be -- not just muscle-bound barbarians hacking magicians to bits, but muscle-bound barbarians hacking magicians to bits for valid reasons and with real emotion behind it. The stories strike a balance between entertainment and character development that is satisfying from both a literary and an adventure point of view.
The selection is well balanced, spanning the range from wyrd-doomed warriors to persecuted pirates and from old has-beens to young magicians trying to claim their birthright. Each story takes us to a different world, with different rules and customs. But the world-building doesn't get in the way of the action. None of these stories are about pages and pages of lush description, they are about action, and we get plenty of it. Monsters, magicians, vampires, mazes, elementals, and other things with no name, are all dealt with in various ways, and fans of S&S will be left well-satisfied with the heft of the book and the contents.
But this book can also be enjoyed by novices. If you're curious to see what S&S is all about, this is one heck of a place to start -- and to meet writers whose work you will then obsessively hunt down all over the place.
A couple of stories stood out for me -- "What Heroes Leave Behind" by Nicholas Ian Hawkins is a somewhat poignant story of an aging warrior who, nevertheless, accepts his duty and "The Red Worm's Way" by James Enge, a convoluted tale in which nothing, and no one is what they seem.
Being an antho, of course, there are some stories I enjoyed less than others, which has more to do with my own tastes than with the quality of the writing. Also, I didn't particularly agree with the editor's choice, and there was a long article on writing which I felt was out of place -- the article itself was outstanding, but it did break the rhythm that the stories themselves created.
Nevertheless, this is a book that I can recommend with no qualms whatsoever -- it is extremely effective in doing what it sets out to do, and can be enjoyed by everyone from teens with a lust for adventure to college professors who appreciate good writing.
Click here to buy The Return of the Sword, edited by Jason M. Waltz on Amazon
|More Books You Might Like|
|Comments on The Return of the Sword, edited by Jason M. Waltz|
|There are no comments on this book.|