Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams
We all love our epic fantasy. Hundreds of pages, hundreds of thousands of words, multi-volume series. Epic: Legends of Fantasy was put together by acclaimed anthology editor John Joseph Adams, and is his attempt to try and capture as many facets of epic fantasy as possible. This is the biggest anthology I have ever read, almost twice the size of any other anthologies I read, and I think it is also one of the best epic fantasy anthologies I have ever read.
Epic: Legends of Fantasy contains an insightful foreword by Brent Weeks, and seventeen "short" stories, ranging from 10 to 100 pages in length, from some of the biggest names in modern epic fantasy. These names and their contributions are:
- Robin Hobb - Homecoming
- Ursula K. Le Guin - The Word of Unbinding
- Tad Williams - The Burning Man
- Aliette de Bodard - As The Wheel Turns
- Paolo Bacigalupi - The Alchemist
- Orson Scott Card - Sandmagic
- Patrick Rothfuss - The Road to Levinshir
- Brandon Sanderson - Rysn
- Michael Moorcock - While the Gods Laugh
- Melanie Rawn - Mother of All Russia
- Kate Elliott - Riding the Shore of the River of Death
- Mary Robinette Kowal - Bound Man
- N. K. Jemisin - The Narcomancer
- Carrie Vaughn - Strife Lingers in Memory
- Trudi Canavan - The Mad Apprentice
- Juliet Marillier - Otherling
- George R. R. Martin - The Mystery Knight
If you are looking through this list and thinking that some of these stories sound familiar, then you would be right. This collection is made up entirely of reprinted stories, most being from this decade, but some going back as far as the 60's (Moorcock and Le Guin). Other stories are lifted directly from the novel (Rysn by Sanderson is an interlude from The Way of Kings, while The Road to Levinshir by Rothfuss is the version that appeared in The Wise Man's Fear, not the version that appeared in Writers of the Future). Some of these stories are set in the same universes created by these authors, and some are just great stories in no way connected to any other works the authors have produced. The result is a fantastic mix of new and old, familiar and unfamiliar, but all falling under that overarching title of epic fantasy.
Homecoming by Robin Hobb is an excellent start to this anthology and one of my favourite stories. The story is set in the Rain Wilds and is a story of survival as told through the pages of a diary. I was very disappointed with the offerings from Le Guin, Williams, and Elliott - these stories are not great stories, and are not a reflection of how good these writers actually are. I was disappointed in the offerings from Sanderson and Rothfuss, not because they were bad but because they were lifted directly from their novels - they are great samples of how good these guys can write, but as stories they struggle to stand alone from the main novel. Card, Moorcock, Rawn, Vaughn and Marillier all submitted solid, entertaining stories that also showcase their writing ability, and the anthology closes with the very classy The Mystery Knight by George R. R. Martin - the third tale from his Dunk and Egg series (set 89 years before the events of A Game of Thrones).
There were some stories in this anthology that stand out far above the rest of the pack. Aliette de Bodard is the only author in this anthology I had never heard of before, but her story As The Wheel Turns is a brilliant retelling of a Taoist legend and has really made me interested in finding more of her work. The Narcomancer by N. K. Jemisin and Bound Man by Mary Robinette Kowal are equally brilliant in developing such rich characters in a small space of time and really making you feel for them before shoving them straight into the meat grinder, turning the handle, and seeing what comes out. But the stand out story in this anthology is The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi, a highly acclaimed novella about a young man trying to develop a machine to fight the deadly poisonous bramble that is slowly taking over his world and grows bigger every time someone uses magic.
Epic: Legends of Fantasy is an anthology that would fit nicely upon the shelf of any fantasy reader. John Joseph Adams should definitely be congratulated for managing to get the rights to all of these fantastic stories. If you haven't read some or any of these authors before, then this anthology (with the exception of Le Guin, Williams and Elliott) will definitely help you to decide whether or not you should pick up other works by these authors.
This Epic: Legends of Fantasy book review was written by Ryan Lawler
Have you read Epic: Legends of Fantasy?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Epic: Legends of Fantasy reader reviews
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a reader review for Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams; it really helps other readers find that perfect next read. Kindly enter your name, country and review below and click the 'Submit your review' button to send.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Time Traveler's Almanac
Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
The Time Traveler’s Almanac is the largest, most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled. Gathered into one volume by intrepid chrononauts and wor...
The Graveyard Book
When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resid...
The Treasury of the Fantastic
David Sandner and Jacob Weisman
The fantastic, the supernatural, the poetic, and the macabre entwine in this incomparable culmination of storytelling. Imaginative stories of wit and intelligence weave thr...
Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to ...
Zombies vs. Unicorns
Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
I’m sure you’re familiar with this typical family dinner scenario: everyone is seated around the table and Grampa- like Grampa always does- turns a perfectly pl...
Yellowcake brings together ten short stories from Australian writer Margo Lanagan, the winner of many prizes, including four World Fantasy Awards. In stories ranging from f...
Echo Boy by Nestlé Smarties Book Prize winner Matt Haig is a stand-alone science/speculative-fiction novel set exactly 100 years in the future. It offers a vision of...
Gotrek and Felix: The Anthology
Gotrek and Felix - unsung heroes of the Empire, or nothing more than common thieves and murderers? The truth perhaps lies somewhere in between, and depends entirely upon wh...
A year has passed since Auric Manteo descended into the haunted depths of a Djao ruin to return a lethal artifact, only to face down a bloodthirsty, imprisoned god. Now his...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: