Book Review – Magic City: Recent Spells

Top reads 2014 stampMagic City: Recent Spells, edited by Paula GuranMagic City: Recent Spells – 5 out of 5 stars

City living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment. – See more at: http://www.prime-books.com/#sthash.maRQm46v.dpuf
City living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment. – See more at: http://www.prime-books.com/#sthash.maRQm46v.dpuf
City living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment. – See more at: http://www.prime-books.com/#sthash.maRQm46v.dpuf

Urban living, at least in fantasy fiction, is full of both magical wonder and dark enchantment.

Disclosure: This book was received as a  free review copy, but the following review is my own, truthful opinion.

I love short story compilations. They’re a great, accessible way to find and sample new authors without committing to buying a full-length novel. But they can sometimes be a gamble. Not all compilations are equal. You can find yourself disappointed when the first couple of great stories give way to mediocre, forgettable and occasionally, plain dislikeable tales.

I’m pleased to tell you that Magic City: Recent Spells is not one of those types of collections. It’s packed solid with A-grade storytelling and I can honestly say that there wasn’t a single tale I didn’t enjoy.

I know some reviewers have criticised the fact that all the stories chosen for inclusion by editor Paula Guran have been previously published elsewhere. But personally, I only found two here that I’d read previously and it certainly didn’t spoil my reading. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Paula’s introduction and the prefaces to each tale helped me get more out of them. Reading them in a different context gave them a new, fresh angle for me.

There are 24 stories in all in this collection. Far too many for me to go through individually in one post. But I would like to share a handful of the stories which resonated with me or piqued my interest most strongly. The majority of them are authors whose previous work I haven’t come across – something I’ll be remedying in the near future!

Street Wizard by Simon R Green

While I do enjoy alternate world and epic fantasy, I do have a soft spot for well executed examples of magic in the real world. This is a short, matter-of-fact glimpse into a day in the life of a street wizard and I love the casual justaposition of of the mundane and the magical.

Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs

A story of witches, werewolves and sacrifice. What drew me to this story was the refreshingly understated sentimentality. If Twilight is a vat of over-sugary marshmallows, this is a discreet dark chocolate thin, ready to knock you sideways with a minty blast when you least expect it.

In the Stacks by Scott Lynch

I’ve often felt a bit uneasy to find myself alone amongst the shelves when the library is quiet. Apparently I’m not the only one and the result is this alternate world tale of a place where knowledge must be won from a library that’s a living entity.

Dog Boys by Charles de Lint

The new kid in town makes an enemy of the wrong guy in this fast-paced yarn. I’ve often enjoyed Charles de Lint’s reviews in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. This is the first time I’ve read his fiction, but won’t be the last. He seems to be enjoying writing it as much as I raced through reading it.

Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor

This story of a straitlaced lawyer who’s driven to the airport (and quite possibly round the bend!) by a crazy Anansi-like cab driver is frantic, unpredictable and bags of fun!

Recommended for

Older teens to adults – if you enjoy urban fantasy, there’s almost certainly something for you here.

 

Published by: Prime Books

Buy it: Magic City: Recent Spells from Hive

Source: ARC via Netgalley

 

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I love all things fantasy, from fiction to films to games. Mostly books though. I also love cooking and plus size fashion. Find recommendations for great fantasy reads and general fangirling here! If you want to get in touch with me, the quickest way is by Twitter @dorristheloris

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Posted in book review, books, fantasy fiction, reviews

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