Book Review: Dangerous Women edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

The point where I realize that my book review format is definitely skewed towards fiction and decide to ignore it and keep the format anyway.

  • Author: Various
  • Editors: George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
  • Title: Dangerous Women
  • Pages: 784
  • Formats: Trade Paper, Kindle, Audio Book
  • Availability: Amazon

Book Blurb

All new and original to this volume, the 21 stories in Dangerous Women include work by twelve New York Times bestsellers, and seven stories set in the authors’ bestselling continuities-including a new “Outlander” story by Diana Gabaldon, a tale of Harry Dresden’s world by Jim Butcher, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones.

Also included are original stories of dangerous women–heroines and villains alike–by Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lawrence Block, Carrie Vaughn, S. M. Stirling, Sharon Kay Penman, and many others.

Writes Gardner Dozois in his Introduction, “Here you’ll find no hapless victims who stand by whimpering in dread while the male hero fights the monster or clashes swords with the villain, and if you want to tie these women to the railroad tracks, you’ll find you have a real fight on your hands. Instead, you will find sword-wielding women warriors, intrepid women fighter pilots and far-ranging spacewomen, deadly female serial killers, formidable female superheroes, sly and seductive femmes fatale, female wizards, hard-living Bad Girls, female bandits and rebels, embattled survivors in Post-Apocalyptic futures, female Private Investigators, stern female hanging judges, haughty queens who rule nations and whose jealousies and ambitions send thousands to grisly deaths, daring dragonriders, and many more.”

 The concept – A collection of short stories about women who are not wilting flowers – but indeed dangerous women.

The Characters:  The characters were as amazing and varied as the authors that have brought them to life.  It’s a perfect sampler of stories and writers

The Stories:

“Some Desperado” by Joe Abercrombie
“My Heart is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott
“Nora’s Song” by Cecelia Holland
“The Hands That Are Not There” by Melinda Snodgrass
“Bombshells” by Jim Butcher
“Raisa Stepanova” by Carrie Vaughn
“Wrestling Jesus” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm
“I Know How to Pick ’Em” by Lawrence Block, 
“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” by Brandon Sanderson 
“A Queen in Exile” by Sharon Kay Penman,
“The Girl in the Mirror” by Lev Grossman
“Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress
“City Lazarus” by Diana Rowland
“Virgins” by Diana Gabaldon
“Hell Hath No Fury” by Sherrilyn Kenyon,
“Pronouncing Doom” by S. M. Stirling
“Name the Beast” by Sam Sykes
“Caretakers” by Pat Cadigan
“Lies My Mother Told Me by Caroline Spector 
“The Princess and the Queen, or, the Blacks and the Greens” by George R.R. Martin,

My original interest in this book was the Jim Butcher story “Bombshells” – I’ve made no secret about the fact that I am a Jim Butcher fan – and this story answered the question posed in White Knight… “why did the Svartalves owe Molly a favor?”

The women in these stories are as varied as the genres represented. You have crooks, vamps, wizards, survivors and adventurers.  The Genres include Dystopian, SciFi, historical and the ever popular ‘based on a true story…’

There were some that were not my cup of tea, but there were more than enough to cover anybody’s tastes.

I will say that I think two of the stories should have come with a trigger warning, and who knows, maybe the written version did. (I borrowed the audio book from the library)

On one or two stories I felt the endings were rushed, but as I said, I’ve listened to the ones I like repeatedly.

My favorite three stories are:

Bombshells – Dresden Files for the win or, why the Svartalves owed Molly a favor.

Raisa Stepanova – Many years ago, I found a book called “NightWitches” about the Russian women of the 588th  night bomber regiment.  This was an account (fictionalized) of one of the pilots.

Shadows for Silence – A haunting tale in a very well developed world that served as an appetizer and left me wanting to look up Brandon Sanderson.

What I liked: 

I liked getting to hear and read about characters I know and love and getting to see authors I haven’t had the pleasure of discovering and seeing what they can do.

What I didn’t like:

Not everyone’s writing is for everyone, and while there were some stories I loved dearly and could listen to again and again – there were some where I felt left out – I began to wonder… why did I bother?  But that is the nature of collections –

I discovered some new authors I want to learn more about, and read/listen to more of their stories.  I first borrowed the audio book from the library to listen to the Jim Butcher piece ‘Bombshells’  I have borrowed it 3 more times, and am on the waiting list again.

December 5, 2015

  • Hey Mary,

    The theme of this book sounds interesting. I love reading about strong female characters. It’s nice that you found 3 stories that you fell in love with. Anthologies and/or collection of short stories are always tricky because you never know how much of the book will be of your reader tastes. But, it’s always fun to experiment 🙂

    Keep smiling,

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