Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Print Length: 576 pages
Release Year: 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Anthology
Special thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Here there be dragons . . .
From China to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons have long captured our imagination in myth and legend. Whether they are rampaging beasts awaiting a brave hero to slay or benevolent sages who have much to teach humanity, dragons are intrinsically connected to stories of creation, adventure, and struggle beloved for generations.
Bringing together nearly thirty stories and poems from some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers working today— Garth Nix, Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Ann Leckie & Rachel Swirsky, Daniel Abraham, Peter S. Beagle, Beth Cato, Zen Cho, C. S. E Cooney, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Ken Liu, Patricia A McKillip, K. J. Parker, Kelly Robson, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, Elle Katharine White, Jane Yolen, Kelly Barnhill, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Gailey, and J. Y. Yang—and illustrated by award-nominated artist Rovina Cai with black-and-white line drawings specific to each entry throughout, this extraordinary collection vividly breathes fire and life into one of our most captivating and feared magical creatures as never before and is sure to become a treasured keepsake for fans of fantasy, science fiction, and fairy tales. (Goodreads)
Upon hearing about the Book of Dragons I was immediately curious. A collection of short stories and poems about dragons by a plethora of renowned authors? Count me in!
What we end up getting is a collection of primarily mediocre stories with a few gems thrown in. An overall advantage this book has regardless of its falling short story wise is that the stories are all diverse re-imagining of dragons. Many of the stories include truly unique depictions of dragons that only a writer could imagine. From electric dragons to bee-like dragons and even using dragons more as a metaphor than in the literal sense. The stories aren’t based on the stereotypical western dragon, as we travel through various times around the world and through fictional lands. At the very least, it’s refreshing to read stories less euro-based than what much of fiction has become.
Even if some of the stories are at their best quite “meh” I still find myself wanting to recommend the books to others and excited to see the final print edition. The illustrations will likely enhance the reading experience of even the most meh of the stories and the gems will only shine brighter. And I’m sure there are stories in the anthology for everyone. I also recommend the book to readers who want to broaden the types of writers they read, as you may discover a new author along the way and will definitely be introduced to a wide variety of writing styles.