Friday, January 15, 2016

By Sword, Stave or Stylus (Andrew Knighton)

By Sword, Stave or Stylus
Andrew Knighton
Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, Collection/Fantasy
*** (Okay)

DESCRIPTION: An African gladiator in mythical Rome pursues an unusual escape plan... a thief's love for a wizard's daughter is put to the test... an assassin targets a powerful shogun... a demon detective investigates the death of a fallen angel in Hell.. These stories and more are gathered in this collection.
A Kindle-exclusive title.

REVIEW: Many of these stories have nice, intriguing ideas behind them. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, they tend to be little more than fragments, with little point or purpose, feeling like stray notes or chapters pulled out of larger works without sufficient context to make me care about them. For instance, there's the story of the assassin girl who can become a shadow in order to track and target victims - but how am I supposed to care about her mission when I don't know why she was sent, or whether or not the shogun she targets deserves death? What are the stakes, beyond the generic risk inherent in an assassination, and why should I care about such an empty shell of a main character? It's almost as though Knighton, having come up with the idea for a story, didn't think there needed to be a story arc or characterization, or a reason for the tale itself. Some of the stories also took place in the same worlds, but failed to build upon each other. While decently written, I didn't care for the incomplete feeling that kept me emotionally disengaged.

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Book of Enchantments (Patricia C. Wrede) - My Review

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