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

Dangerous WomenDangerous Women by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Let me begin by saying that expectations are everything.

With names on the cover like Abercrombie, Hobb, Sanderson, Grossman, and Butcher, you expect a certain quality of story. When the editors are Martin and Dozois, you can’t help but think that this anthology will be a masterpiece.

I was extremely disappointed.

First, the “Dangerous Women” theme failed miserably. I am still shocked at how few strong female leads there were, and how many of the stories were outright sexist. I guess I was expecting something like Women Destroy Science Fiction, but instead got stories where if you replaced the females with men, you’d be hard-pressed to call them dangerous.

If you’ll let me make this comparison, it was like expecting to read a book about non-white protagonists, and instead getting stories about the exotic Orient and all sorts of racist nonsense.

So don’t expect an anti-patriarchy book here.

Second, this anthology didn’t feel as if it were created from the ground up. As in the editors had an idea, and put the call out to authors to write stories specifically for it. (Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales is a fine example of this). Dangerous Women felt like it collected big names, and asked for any stories they had shelved away that simply had a woman in it.

As a result, even putting all of my frustrations and disappointments aside, the stories themselves were poor quality.

Overall, I’d say skip this one. I tried my best to read all the stories (though some were so bad I had to move on), and it’s too long and expensive to trudge through even if you have a favourite author in there. The Brandon Sanderson story was by far the best, but I wish I would have come across it another way. Even the Martin story read more like The Silmarillion, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but is a let down since it’s the last story and the longest.

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