The Book of Dragons
Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Kate Elliott, Ken Liu, Todd McCaffrey, Garth Nix, Peter S. Beagle, and other modern masters of fantasy and science fiction put their unique spin on the greatest of mythical beasts — the dragon — in never-before-seen works written exclusively for this fantasy anthology compiled by award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan and with art by Rovina Cai!Here there be dragons . . . From China to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons have long captured our imagination in myth and legend. Whether they are rampaging beasts awaiting a brave hero to slay or benevolent sages who have much to teach humanity, dragons are intrinsically connected to stories of creation, adventure, and struggle beloved for generations.Bringing together nearly thirty stories and poems from some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers working today — Garth Nix, Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Ann Leckie & Rachel Swirsky, Daniel Abraham, Peter S. Beagle, Beth Cato, Zen Cho, C. S. E. Cooney, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Ken Liu, Patricia A McKillip, K.J. Parker, Kelly Robson, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, Elle Katharine White, Jane Yolen, Kelly Barnhill, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Gailey, and J.Y. Yang — and illustrated by award-nominated artist Rovina Cai with black-and-white line drawings specific to each entry throughout, this extraordinary collection vividly breathes fire and life into one of our most captivating and feared magical creatures as never before and is sure to become a treasured keepsake for fans of fantasy, science fiction, and fairy tales.

The Book of Dragons Details

TitleThe Book of Dragons
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 7th, 2020
PublisherHarper Voyager
ISBN-139780062877161
Rating
GenreFantasy, Short Stories, Dragons, Anthologies, Adult

The Book of Dragons Review

  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    There were actually two reasons I added this anthology to my tbr - the first being obviously dragons, I’m obsessed with these fantasy creatures and reading so many stories featuring them was exciting; the second reason being R. F. Kuang was going to write a short story for it. I was thrilled when I got approved for the ARC. But when I started reading it, I wasn’t as enamored because so many of the stories in the first half just felt okay. But as the book went on, I really came to enjoy the stori There were actually two reasons I added this anthology to my tbr - the first being obviously dragons, I’m obsessed with these fantasy creatures and reading so many stories featuring them was exciting; the second reason being R. F. Kuang was going to write a short story for it. I was thrilled when I got approved for the ARC. But when I started reading it, I wasn’t as enamored because so many of the stories in the first half just felt okay. But as the book went on, I really came to enjoy the stories a lot more and I think this is an interesting collection to read for any fans of speculative fiction and dragons. Below are my individual reviews: What Heroism Tells Us by Jane Yolen I’m not someone who understands poetry much so I don’t wanna rate or comment on this one. Matriculation by Elle Katharine White This one has a mechanical dragon that responds to symbols and I found it very interesting. But the story is more about how a young magitechnician has to find the funds to pay for her education and I found it so relatable to our real life issues. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Hikayat Sri Bujang, or, The Tale of the Naga Sage by Zen Cho The story of a naga sage who has choose between his self enlightenment or family duties, this was fun and interesting and I loved the way everything is described.Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Yuli by Daniel Abraham There seem to be two parallel stories going on here but I can’t say I understood the point of either of them. Rating: ⭐️⭐️ A Whisper of Blue by Ken Liu An alternate world in which everything is powered by dragon breath and the number of dragons at a location determines its prosperity, I felt completely immersed in this story. It’s also a story of loss and grief while also being a commentary on the cons of exploiting resources, and I thought the author managed to balance everything very well. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Nidhog by Jo Walton An interesting poem about a dragon waiting to rise and free all its kind. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Where the River turns to Concrete by Brooke Bolander The dragon in this story being a water spirit and forming a connection with a human family was told beautifully and the way it ended only makes me want its continuation. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Habitat by K. J. Parker Told in dual timelines, this is a story of endless war, cruelty and greed and how it all only destroys and nothing good will come of it. Very well written and for such a serious story, the end was pretty funny. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Pox by Ellen Klages The story of a young girl who loves Le Guin’s Wizard of the Earthsea, wishes dragons were real and goes on a little adventure in Chinatown in SFO, this was a fun story and I particularly loved the mouthwatering descriptions of the various food items. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Nine Curves River by R. F. Kuang Told in second person, a story of two sisters, jealousy, and sacrifice for the sake of greater good, this was so beautiful and poignant and sad, but also hopeful in some way. And the point about monsters being lonely and we humans not understanding them was quite interesting to think about. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Lucky’s Dragon by Kelly Barnhill A story about soul splitting and dragons, I loved the idea behind this tale as well as the deep affection between the main character and her dragon. Overall this turned out to be quite thrilling as well as cute.Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I Make Myself a Dragon by Beth Cato This was an absolutely beautiful poem about a human being who has been shunned by the world trying to reclaim their life by awakening the dragon within, and pledging to be a protector for others like them. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Exile by JY Neon Yang I’m not sure I can describe what this was about effectively but it was full of beautiful melancholy, heartbreak and acceptance. But also included was a bit of meta commentary on the ills of human desire to conquer other lands without any care for the original inhabitants. An overall wonderful story and gorgeous writing. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Except on Saturdays by Peter S. Beagle A spin on the myth of Melusine, this story was full of loss and longing, but also about cherishing the experiences we get to have, even if they never happen again. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ La Vitesse by Kelly Robson To be honest, this thrilling story reminded me a lot of the movie Speed with its bus full of children being chased by a dragon, and a mother and daughter trying to outrun it. Very interesting writing. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A Final Knight to her Love and Foe by Amal El-Mohtar I thought it was a wonderful love poem until that very unexpected last line. Very cool poetry though. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 The Long Walk by Kate Elliot Set in a world where a woman is considered dead when her husband dies, this is the story of a widow in a similar predicament who chooses to finally do what her heart desires because she is free of all her responsibilities. And what a wonderful story it is of empowerment and solidarity and taking back one’s life. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Cut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz by Garth Nix The story of a dragon and dragon hunting knight and puppet duo, this was an entertaining story but it also felt a bit incomplete towards the end. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Hoard by Seanan McGuire Wow. I didn’t expect that a dragon’s hoarding habits could also manifest in this form. This was both a fascinating/terrifying story as well as a commentary on the flawed foster care system. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 The Wyrm of Lirr by C. S. E. Cooney This poem seemed nice enough and even though I didn’t understand it completely, I liked its idea of some humans petitioning to free indentured dragons. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Last Hunt by Aliette de Bodard Set prior to the events in the author’s acclaimed novella In the Vanisher’s Palace, this story gives a bit of background into what actually happened in the world just before the masters disappeared and I liked getting to know this. It’s still only a small glimpse but I’m glad that we got it. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 We Continue by Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky A metaphor for the cycle of life and death, this story was heartbreaking but also had the important message that when we lose the ones we love, we have to find the hope and courage to move on. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Small Bird’s Plea by Todd McCaffrey A young human girl and a young demon boy set out to save their people from each other’s destructive ways and they decide to band together - it confused me a bit in the beginning but it was also sweet, funny and had a subtle message about all species being interdependent on each other for survival. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 The Dragons by Theodora Goss A poem about a woman who can’t let go of the dragons who show up on her porch one day, all little and vulnerable, this was very heartwarming and lovely. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dragon Slayer by Michael Swanwick This story had dragons, wizards and time travel and it was so much fun. And I loved how the woman are pragmatic warriors but still have to appease the men to keep the peace.Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Camouflage by Patricia A. McKillip This almost felt a bit like a young would be wizard taking his OWLS exam at Hogwarts and then traveling back in time. But I loved the whole world and the vivid imagery the author created, and the concept dealing with the importance of knowledge was very well written. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ We Don’t Talk About the Dragon by Sarah Gailey This is the story of a young girl from an abusive home who forms a bond with a dragon, and I really loved how she felt she could share all her feelings only with the dragon and the beast seemed to reciprocate in its own way. And that ending was beautiful and powerful. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott Lynch To be honest, this was just batshit crazy but also absolutely wonderful towards the end. However, the author also managed to show some very harsh political realities that I think could happen in real life America too. Very well thought and written. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A Nice Cuppa by Jane Yolen This was a nice way to end the book, almost like with a cup of tea. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    I love short story anthologies. I’m hardly one to shy away from big, sprawling epics, but it’s great having things that can be started and finished over breakfast. I love getting bite-sized stories from favorite authors. I love getting to sample stories from authors I’m curious about but never quite got around to picking up. I love reading stories from writers I’ve never heard of but am certainly going to look into now.I also love dragons, as all right-thinking people do. Accusations of them bei I love short story anthologies. I’m hardly one to shy away from big, sprawling epics, but it’s great having things that can be started and finished over breakfast. I love getting bite-sized stories from favorite authors. I love getting to sample stories from authors I’m curious about but never quite got around to picking up. I love reading stories from writers I’ve never heard of but am certainly going to look into now.I also love dragons, as all right-thinking people do. Accusations of them being cliched make no sense: there is simply too much variety packed into the idea of dragons for it to *ever* be cliched. This book has Western, fire-breathers stealing livestock, and Eastern water-dwellers bestowing blessings. It’s got steam-powered dragons, and dragon beehives, and dragon foster moms, and dragon lawyers, and dragons who are cranky about their commute. It’s got intelligent dragons and it’s got animalistic dragons. It’s got good dragons and evil dragons. It’s got riddling dragons, it’s got imaginary dragons, it’s got metaphorical dragons, and it’s got Dungeons & Dragons. And they’re all great.The contributing authors include some very well-known names, as well as some up-and-comers. In no particular order, they are: Daniel Abraham, Kelly Barnhill, Peter Beagle, Brooke Bolander, Zeb Cho, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliot, Sarah Gailey, Ellen Klage, R.F. Kuang, Ann Leckie, Scott Lynch, Ken Liu, Todd McCaffrey, Seanan McGuire, Patricia A. McKillip, Garth Nix, K.J. Parker (a.k.a. Tom Holt), Kelly Robson, Michael Swanwick, Rachel Swirsky, Ella Katherine White, and J.Y. Yang.Unusually, this book also features a number of poems, with entries from Beth Cato, C.S.E. Cooney, Amal El-Mohtar, Theodora Goss, Jo Walton, and Jane Yolen. I’m not an expert on poetry, but I enjoyed these quite a bit.Some of my favorite authors are in here, and I wasn’t surprised to love their stories. **Daniel Abraham** (*The Dagger & The Coin, The Long Price Quartet, the Expanse*) gets metaphorical with the story of a former mercenary determined to protect his hoard of ill-gotten gold. **R.F. Kuang** (*The Poppy Wars*) tells us about a girl willingly sacrificing herself to a dragon to end a drought. **Peter S. Beagle** (*The Last Unicorn*), true to form, tell a sad, sweet story of a professor meeting a dragon in the form of a human woman while riding the bus. **Aliette de Bodard** (*The Dominion of the Fallen, Obsidian & Blood*) give us a prequel to her excellent short novel *In the Vanishers’ Palace*. And **Scott Lynch** (*The Gentlemen Bastards*) gives us a story of a Wyoming sheriff trying to keep people safe from an invasion of dragons, with scant help from the government.There were other stories I loved, from authors I either hadn’t heard of or had heard of but never read. **Ellen Klages** tells the story of a girl, stuck bored at her relatives’ house, being taken by her aunt to San Francisco’s Chinatown with promises that there will be lots and lots of dragons. **Ella Katherine White** tells of a girl agonizing over whether or not to sell her beloved steam-powered flying dragon to pay for her education. **Kelly Robson** tells an exciting story of a dragon chasing down a school bus full of kids and the bus drivers’ heroic effort to keep her charge safe. **Seanan McGuire** tells us about a dragon in human form who, instead of hoarding gold, hoards foster children who need a loving home. From **Brooke Bolander** we hear about an amnesiac dragon in human form, working as a mob enforcer. **Kelly Barnhill** tells us about a girl who accidentally made a dragon in a science class lab experiment gone very wrong (or very right, as far as the girl is concerned). **Michael Swanwick** gives us a Jack Vance-esque story involving a girl, bandits, mages, deserts, time travel, and (of course) a dragon. **Kate Elliott** gives a powerfully feminist story of a society where women without husbands or fathers are sent as sacrifices to dragons (reading this story really pissed me off, in a good way). And **Sarah Gailey** gives what might have been my favorite of the anthology, a deep and moving story of abuse and escape and a dragon in the barn that no one talks about.I know I didn’t talk about all the stories, but though they of course can’t *all* be favorites, I enjoyed every single one of them.
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  • Mel (Epic Reading)
    January 1, 1970
    Illustrated!! I love anthologies, and tend to get them in hardcover (I rarely buy HC) so that if one day I meet any of the amazing authors I can get them to sign it. Only got 7 anthologies in HC and 0 signatures. That’s pretty good right? 😂This sounds wonderful!!
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  • Hillary
    January 1, 1970
    You just live your life and then a bomb gets dropped and it’s this anthology. I still can’t believe this is happening and I’m excited 🤯
  • Caidyn (NO LONGER ACTIVE; he/him/his)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!3.3/5Overall, a pretty average collection. I felt as if there were more meh ones than ones I loved. There was also a lot of poetry which, as you'll find, is not for me. I'm not big on poetry at all. My favorite stories were the ones by R.F. Kuang, Sarah Gailey, Seanan McGuire, Ellen Klages, and Scott Lynch!🐉 What Heroism Tells Us by Jane YolenThis was an interesting way to start the collection since it's a very short poem. Beau I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!3.3/5Overall, a pretty average collection. I felt as if there were more meh ones than ones I loved. There was also a lot of poetry which, as you'll find, is not for me. I'm not big on poetry at all. My favorite stories were the ones by R.F. Kuang, Sarah Gailey, Seanan McGuire, Ellen Klages, and Scott Lynch!🐉 What Heroism Tells Us by Jane YolenThis was an interesting way to start the collection since it's a very short poem. Beautiful prose. But, I'm not one for poetry. - 3/5🐉 Matriculation by Elle Katharine White🐉 CW: parental lossOkay, that was damn sad. But a very good story about grief and having to make sacrifices to keep going forward with ones life. - 4/5🐉Hikayat Sri Bujang, or, The Tale of the Naga Sage by Zen ChoVery intricate, but I found it hard to follow in the end. - 2.5/5🐉 Yuli by Daniel AbrahamAn interesting story, but I wasn't able to get into it as much as I wanted to. - 3.5/5🐉 A Whisper of Blue by Ken Liu🐉 CW: enslavement, drug use, overdoseI really liked this one! It was very unique with how the story was told, almost as if it was a screenplay. - 4/5🐉Nidhong by Jo WaltonPretty prose but, again, I'm not that into poetry. - 3/5🐉 Where the River turns to Concrete by Brooke BolanderAnother imaginative, heartfelt story. I really liked reading this, even though I predicted some things. - 4/5🐉 Habitat by K. J. ParkerFun, medieval-y story! I liked that this felt like an old-fashioned quest in some ways. Definitely would read a full novel that branches this story more! - 4/5🐉 Pox by Ellen KlagesThis was a super cute story. Just a lot of fun. i like how the dragon part was almost a minor thing. Understated, yet there. - 4.5/5🐉 The Nine Curves River by R.F. KuangNot surprised at all that I rated Kuang's story five stars! I loved the second-person telling and the way the mythology teemed in the story, yet it wasn't too overwhelming to follow. - 5/5🐉 Lucky's Dragon by Kelly BarnhillThis was a fun read that was done very well. I could grasp the world easily without it being too much. I could definitely read more about it, but it had great pacing. - 4/5🐉I Make Myself a Dragon by Beth CatoAgain, not big on poetry, but I liked this one and the idea of becoming a dragon. - 3.5/5🐉 The Exile by JY YangThis was one I couldn't get into as much as I wanted. Well written, but I couldn't immerse myself into the world as much as I wanted to. - 2/5🐉 Except on Saturdays by Peter S. BeagleI liked this one for the disability rep but I didn't get into it as much as I'd have liked. Maybe if it was a little longer! - 3/5🐉 La Vitesse by Kelly RobsonEh, it was fine. I didn't love it (obviously) but it wasn't bad. Just couldn't get into it. - 2.5/5🐉 A Final Knight to Her Love and Foe by Amal El-MohtarAgain, not into poetry. - 2/5🐉 The Long Walk by Kate ElliottEnjoyable and immersive, but I still couldn't get into it as I wanted. Definitely a story I could reread, though! - 3/5🐉 Cut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz by Garth NixIt was fine, but way too short for the world that it was attached to. - 3/5🐉 Hoard by Seanan McGuireA good short story, but I wanted a longer one. It was ripe for a longer story, really. A hoard can be many things, after all. - 4/5🐉 The Wyrm of Lirr by C. S. E. CooneyYet again, poetry isn't for me. - 2/5🐉 The Last Hunt by Aliette de BodardSimply put, I couldn't get into it. - 2/5🐉 We Continue by Ann Leckie and Rachel SwirskyIt started out good, but then I lost interest in what was going on. - 2/5🐉 Small Bird's Plea by Todd McCaffreyEh. I didn't like this one. It just didn't capture by attention. - 1/5🐉 The Dragons by Theodora GossCute and a short little story! Not much to say other than that. - 3/5🐉 Dragon Slayer by Michael SwanwickI would have given three stars but I wasn't a fan of the world. Far to sexist and patriarchal. - 2.5/5🐉 Camouflage by Patricia A. McKillipThis was such a good one. Very unique and interesting and I totally want a novel. - 4/5🐉 We Don't Talk About the Dragon by Sarah GaileyLoved this story! I loved how developed it was, that it had a familiar refrain with growth along the way. - 5/5🐉 Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott LynchA fun alternate history by Scott Lynch. I liked the world and would totally read a novel about this. It kind of reminded me of Burn by Patrick Ness. - 4.5/5🐉 A Nice Cuppa by Jane YolenEnjoyable and short. I liked how it was based off a Night Circus quote. But this felt more like an intro than a story. - 4/5
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  • Maraya21 (The Reading Dragon)
    January 1, 1970
    When your favourite BØÏ Mark recs you something personally, how can you not read it?! ♥♥♥(Also D R A G O N S 😂) When your favourite BØÏ Mark recs you something personally, how can you not read it?! ♥♥♥(Also D R A G O N S 😂)
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  • Mora
    January 1, 1970
    "nearly thirty stories and poems" about dragons "and illustrated" with dragons omg guys this is everything I always knew I neededand the lineup of authors?? excellentthis is going to be so good I'm SO EXCITED
  • Blodeuedd Finland
    January 1, 1970
    As all anthologies, there are bad ones, there are good ones, there are meh ones. Sadly most fell in the meh or bad ones. Some stories just felt like the began and ended and was a part of something bigger, and not in a good way. The good one got the short story format right.Poetry, yeah not in audio. Def notFavorites were Pox by Ellen Klages, Nine Curves river by RF Kuang, Lucky's Dragon by Kelly Barnhill,Except on Saturdays by Peter S. Beagle, The Long Walk by Kate Elliott, Hoard by Seanan McGui As all anthologies, there are bad ones, there are good ones, there are meh ones. Sadly most fell in the meh or bad ones. Some stories just felt like the began and ended and was a part of something bigger, and not in a good way. The good one got the short story format right.Poetry, yeah not in audio. Def notFavorites were Pox by Ellen Klages, Nine Curves river by RF Kuang, Lucky's Dragon by Kelly Barnhill,Except on Saturdays by Peter S. Beagle, The Long Walk by Kate Elliott, Hoard by Seanan McGuire, Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott LynchThat is 7 stories out of 29! Yeah, not an anthology I recommendWhat heroism tells us by Jane YolenWhat?Oh, poemMehMatriculation by Elle Katherine WhiteRather boring. She needs money to study. She has a mechanical dragon. The endThe tale of the Naga Sage by Zen Cho I felt like it should have been longer, i mean was there even a ending?Yuli by Daniel AbrahamI eh, what is going on? I could not keep my focus on this for a secondA whisper of blue by Ken LiuI felt it had a good premise, and could have worked as a real story. Now it just felt short.Nidhong by Jo WaltonI am not a poetry personWhere the river runs to concrete by Brooke BolanderGood bones, could have been a good UF book. But now, jumpy and confusing at timesHabitat by K. J. ParkerIt had its merits, but that ending was so abrupt Pox by Ellen KlagesA story with no dragons and I liked it the most so far. Ha, weirdThe Nine Curves River by R.F. KuangI liked this one. It was also sad Lucky's Dragon by Kelly BarnhillI liked this one and the humour withinI Make Myself a Dragon by Beth CatoAnother poem 😭The Exile by JY YangInteresting premise. Not much storyExcept on Saturdays by Peter S. BeagleI liked this one. Easy to follow. Felt like rhe short story it should beLa vitesseI could not focus. Didn't get the flashbacks A Final Knight to Her Love and Foe by Amal El-MohtarPoetry. MehThe Long Walk by Kate ElliottIt started a bit meh, it finished great. Loved the conceptCut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz by Garth NixBoring Hoard by Seanan McGuireExactly like a short story should beThe Wyrm of Lirr by C. S. E. CooneyI sm just not a poetry person. Esp not in audio The Last Hunt by Aliette de BodardI have had this problem with her books before. I can't focus in audio. Interesting premise We Continue by Ann Leckie and Rachel SwirskyI felt again it did not work as a short story. More questions than answers Small Bird's Plea by Todd McCaffreyI feel this should have been read insteadThe Dragons by Theodora GossVery short. Nothing happened Dragon Slayer by Michael SwanwickI can't remember anything. I finished 15 min ago.Camouflage by Patricia A. McKillipAgain. Remember nothing We Don't Talk About the Dragon by Sarah GaileyA bit too repetitive. Also why all that work fir nothing? Made no sense Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott LynchFirst no, then it turned out goodA Nice Cuppa by Jane Yolenpoem, nope
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  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Anuska GWhether it’s imagining yourself charging into battle astride a mighty beast or daydreaming about flying through the clouds on the back of a peaceful one, who hasn’t wished to befriend a dragon? The Book of Dragons, edited by Jonathan Strahan, is a dragon lover’s dream.The collection contains twenty nine stories and poems by some of the greatest modern fantasy authors, featuring dragons from different myths and cultures around the world, Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Anuska GWhether it’s imagining yourself charging into battle astride a mighty beast or daydreaming about flying through the clouds on the back of a peaceful one, who hasn’t wished to befriend a dragon? The Book of Dragons, edited by Jonathan Strahan, is a dragon lover’s dream.The collection contains twenty nine stories and poems by some of the greatest modern fantasy authors, featuring dragons from different myths and cultures around the world, as well as mechanical and metaphorical ones. As with all anthologies, this one too is a mishmash of stories that might strike a chord with you, and stories you may not about. Along with fantasy, some of these tales also overlap with several other genres such as sci-fi, crime fiction, and urban fantasy. The dragons range from the more usual shape-shifting, gold-hoarding kind to terrifying and heroic beasts to cute, small ones who slowly steal pieces of your soul to grow, and each one of them will keep you engaged.Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily
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  • Leo
    January 1, 1970
    DRAGONS DRAGONS DRAGONS
  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    Not a review. Includes my poem "I Make Myself a Dragon."
  • Bon
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy for review - you certainly get bang for buck in this huge compilation of dragon tales. Let me start by lauding the absolutely rad diversity in these stories - the representation amongst writers AND plotwise. There are plenty of female authors, and there's even a queer nonbinary writer from Singapore in here. It was awesome, and made for even more creatively-varied stories. The diversity even came with some inclusions in poem form. There are feminist st Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy for review - you certainly get bang for buck in this huge compilation of dragon tales. Let me start by lauding the absolutely rad diversity in these stories - the representation amongst writers AND plotwise. There are plenty of female authors, and there's even a queer nonbinary writer from Singapore in here. It was awesome, and made for even more creatively-varied stories. The diversity even came with some inclusions in poem form. There are feminist stories in this, and there are some pretty gritty stories, and some humourously slice of life stories. In one, there's an aspect that was reminiscent of zombie or werewolf lore, really unique in a dragon story. In another, a knight is trolling through tax records looking for someone inordinately wealthy who could be a dragon in disguise, hilarious. I enjoyed that it wasn't just a straightforward knight taking on a dragon in every story. So then, I love the various takes on "dragons" in this. In one tale veering towards urban fantasy, the dragons are not what you'd expect, and the existence of vampires and talking gargoyles in that world make it even cooler. The dragons in this book are sometimes much more metaphorical than winged reptiles flying around or sitting on a hoard of gold in this anthology - and YET, the gold aspect is interpreted really differently from story to story. The creativity was just...awesome. Of course some stories do go the sword and shield route, which, well, is one of my favorite routes anyways, as well as the asian lore presented in several stories. I was delighted to see some favorite authors in here - R.F. Kuang of The Poppy War fame, and Garth Nix of the Sabriel saga! Their stories were incredibly enjoyable. Kuang's "The Nine Curves River" was an emotional tale of two sisters, and Nix's "Cut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz" was comedic and a nice reprieve from some of the heavier stories. But I think my favorite of all was Pox, by Ellen Klages, in which a young girl from a boring, eastern state is brought to San Francisco's Chinatown, and her world is turned upside down with a multicultural injection of food and sights. That one was incredible - and not just for the mentions of dim sum, which I love. This book is very long, and I think would have been more digestible if read over a longer period than I allowed myself, but there is much to enjoy here for fantasy and dragon lovers.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review. Overall this is a great collection of stories. What most impressed me about the collection as a whole was the sheer variety of genres, styles, and dragon types collected here. Usually when you have a genre/theme based anthology you get at least two or three stories similar enough that they are a little hard to distinguish between after you put the book down. No two dragons are quite alike, either, across the 23 stor Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review. Overall this is a great collection of stories. What most impressed me about the collection as a whole was the sheer variety of genres, styles, and dragon types collected here. Usually when you have a genre/theme based anthology you get at least two or three stories similar enough that they are a little hard to distinguish between after you put the book down. No two dragons are quite alike, either, across the 23 stories presented here. Last, there was not a single piece I gave 1 star to, which is a first for me in anthology reviews. In addition to evaluating the usual factors such as idea, plot, characters, pacing, and language use, I also considered how well dragons were used in the story and how well the story stood on its own. Note: I did not review the poetry pieces in the book. I don't read that much poetry so my rating for each was based purely on how much I did or did not enjoy it. I also cannot speak to the illustrations in this book as, sadly, my review copy did not include them. 🐉 Matriculation by Elle Katharine White - 3 - A well written, interesting story with a pretty cool setting. Unfortunately, it reads like the prologue of a novel so there is little satisfaction in reaching the end. 🐉 Hikayat Sri Bujang, or, The Tale of the Naga Sage by Zen Cho - 3 - This story had good imagery and the plot wasn't bad, but the main characters could have really been any creatures (including humans with powers) with little to no change in the story. 🐉 Yuli by Daniel Abraham - 4 - A really interesting use of metaphor here and the switching back and forth between real life and a game did a great job of creating the magical realism aspect of the story. 🐉 A Whisper of Blue by Ken Liu - 5 - Fascinating. The themes of memory and forgiveness combined with the world building style create a poignant, beautiful, and utterly believable of tale of modern day dragons. 🐉 Where the River turns to Concrete by Brooke Bolander - 4 - The rarer dragon use and good pacing made for a really interesting story that felt like a real myth. The only downside is that I think the switching between time periods detracted slightly from the climax of the tale. Still one of my favorites, with a strong ending. 🐉 Habitat by K. J. Parker - 3 - A unique take on dragon reproduction will keep this a memorable story. However, the slight choppiness to the writing and a mildly generic main character keep this one at 3 stars for me.🐉 Pox by Ellen Klages - 3 - I liked the imagery and magical realism aspects of this story. However, I don't know how well this was will do for every reader as some of the best parts of the story rely on you having already read A Wizard of Earthsea. 🐉 The Nine Curves River by R.F. Kuang - 5 - Beautiful. The use of the 2nd person felt very natural within the context of the story, which was well-paced with memorable characters. The poignant ending was what made this really stand out for me. 🐉 Lucky's Dragon by Kelly Barnhill - 3 - This is a cute story that would make a great middle grade read. Unfortunately in short story form the 2nd half of the tale is executed and wrapped up far too quickly. 🐉 The Exile by JY Yang - 3 - The concept and the unique dragon abilities are what I liked most about this tale, and what keep it memorable. However, the personal part of the story and the main human character were both a little generic for me to give this four stars. 🐉 Except on Saturdays by Peter S. Beagle - 2 - "Stunning, ancient and/or powerful creature is, for some inexplicably reason, interested in some generic, middle aged man. Cue waxing poetic and an obligatory "made love" scene." While the language use and pacing are both adequate (which is why I don't give it 1 star), its easily the most generic piece in the collection. 🐉 La Vitesse by Kelly Robson - 4 - Robson does a good job with keeping you on the edge of your seat for this one, even when she's flashing back to previous events. The action was smoothly written and easy to visualize while reading. 🐉 The Long Walk by Kate Elliott - 5 - This is the 2nd anthology this year I've read where Elliott has been a stand out. She has a real talent for natural world building and memorable characters in such a short amount of space. 🐉 Cut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz by Garth Nix - 2 - Everything about this story makes it feel like you are reading a single, random chapter in a book. It begins, slowly, by one character reminding another character of the "who, what, where, when, and why" of what the are doing, which read like a summary of a previous story or chapters. Then once the action does start, all of the "twists" are pretty obvious. Finally, the words end with the story completely unfinished. 🐉 Hoard by Seanan McGuire - 3 - This one is a unique take on the idea of dragon hoarding with a believable modern day setting. I keep it at 3 stars though, because the writing, characters, actual plot, and pacing are all simply fine. 🐉 The Last Hunt by Aliette de Bodard - 2 - de Bodard is probably my favorite new author so far this year, so I was pretty disappointed that I could not get into this tale. The combination of nonstop action and kind of confusing, vague "explanation" of why that action was happening made the story or characters difficult to become invested in. 🐉 We Continue by Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky - 4.5 - This is probably the most unique of all of the stories here. It was a setting that not in a million years would I have ever thought "This - but dragons!" Having two writers to write the separate species point-of-views really helped make them distinct and accentuated the disconnect the two characters were having in a powerful way. This was a complete story that I was satisfied with at the ending, but also made me interested in reading more about the world. 🐉 Small Bird's Plea by Todd McCaffrey - 2 - This one had some really interesting character concepts, but I felt like it was trying to do too much at once. The story doesn't actually really explain anything and I left it with more questions than answers. Finally, I don't think this is a good example of a dragon story, since the end is just "oh by the way here is a dragon for no real reason - could literally be any flying animal with no affect on the story." Maybe this was supposed to be a dragon creation tale? I don't know. 🐉 The Dragons by Theodora Goss - 3 - I know this one is technically poetry, but it read more like a story and the style added to the overall whimsical feeling of the tale. This one is probably the most feel good of all of the pieces. 🐉 Dragon Slayer by Michael Swanwick - 3 - This is the other story where I thought "okay we're kind of pushing what is or is not a dragon story here." I could even argue there is no dragon in this story, just a human who looks like one for a scant handful of lines. The story itself is not bad, but I honestly don't know why this particular one was chosen for a dragon anthology, especially when Swanwick has a variety of dragon shorts to choose from. 🐉 Camouflage by Patricia A. McKillip - 3 - An interesting story (and dragon concept) that is hindered slightly by its messy, unclear ending. 🐉 We Don't Talk About the Dragon by Sarah Gailey - 3 - An interesting concept, but the repetitive nature of the writing style chosen here, even though it serves a purpose, keeps this one from being one of the better tales. 🐉 Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott Lynch - 3 - I don't normally like Lynch's writing, but this was a pretty neat story. The modern day setting was easily believable and the ending is a good example of an open-ended short story.
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  • Evy
    January 1, 1970
    PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THAT LIST OF AUTHORSThen note, "ILLUSTRATED"If this book is not now on your tbr GET OUTTA HERE
  • Yvonne
    January 1, 1970
    I've tried about four of the stories and none I liked and/or pulled me in enough to finish them, so I'm cutting my losses and DNF'ing this. Perhaps anthologies just aren't my thing? Normally I read each individual story and give them separate ratings and average them out for the overall rating. But the fact that I haven't liked a single story yet and only managed to get through one fully without wanting to give up on it (and ended up not even liking that one, either) means that I'm just not inte I've tried about four of the stories and none I liked and/or pulled me in enough to finish them, so I'm cutting my losses and DNF'ing this. Perhaps anthologies just aren't my thing? Normally I read each individual story and give them separate ratings and average them out for the overall rating. But the fact that I haven't liked a single story yet and only managed to get through one fully without wanting to give up on it (and ended up not even liking that one, either) means that I'm just not interested in reading any of the stories that follow these. Maybe the stories at the beginning are the weakest and DNF'ing is a mistake.... but I doubt it.I also am not someone who feels guilty for DNF'ing NetGalley books, because if I wouldn't finish it even if I paid for it, why would I finish it if I got it for free? I think the fact that I don't want to finish it is in itself an honest part of reviewing and feedback so. I don't have a lot to say except that like.... I'm not going to spend my time on something I'm not enjoying.---An e-ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.
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  • Leslie
    January 1, 1970
    You can see all my reviews here: Books Are The New BlackI want to thank Harper Voyager for providing me with an e-ARC, via Netgalley. All of these thoughts and opinions are my own.I saw someone talk about this as an upcoming book they couldn’t wait for. I needed to read this because DRAGONS! Also, I saw that R.F. Kuang had a story included. I requested a copy but didn’t think I would be approved because it released within a week. I did though and I’m so glad that I did!I don’t typically read ant You can see all my reviews here: Books Are The New BlackI want to thank Harper Voyager for providing me with an e-ARC, via Netgalley. All of these thoughts and opinions are my own.I saw someone talk about this as an upcoming book they couldn’t wait for. I needed to read this because DRAGONS! Also, I saw that R.F. Kuang had a story included. I requested a copy but didn’t think I would be approved because it released within a week. I did though and I’m so glad that I did!I don’t typically read anthologies, they are harder for me to read because you have all these different writing styles. Once I got into some stories, they were over and I had to start over. I did find that my pacing was slower than normal but it was so worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were so many amazing stories that will stay with me for a long time. There are some stories that I had a harder time connecting to. I believe there were only 3 and there’s nearly 30 stories, so that’s a great ratio.One story that really got me emotional was, A Whisper of Blue by Ken Liu. It was so interesting and so beautiful. I actually had a hard time getting back into this book after that story. I felt like I was having a book hangover from one single story!It shouldn’t be a surprise that I absolutely loved R.F. Kuang’s story called, The Nine Curves River. It was such a beautiful but heart breaking story!I also really, really enjoyed the story, We Don’t Talk About the Dragon by Sarah Gailey. It had me hooked from the beginning and I was so intrigued because there is so much mystery. I absolutely loved how it ended!I think one of the stories that I liked least, was towards the end, Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott Lynch. I don’t know if it was because I was tired or what. It just was really crazy and I had a harder time with the writing style.There is a lot of poetry mixed into this book and I actually quite enjoyed it. I think I’m starting to come around to reading more poetry.One of the things that I loved most about this was all the different ways these stories portrayed dragons. It wasn’t just your straight forward fire breathing fantasy dragon. There’s so many different ways that authors used dragons in their stories and they were full of imagination.Overall, I really enjoyed this anthology! I found I liked a lot of new to me authors. There are so many different writing styles and it was just a lot of fun. If you are looking for some great stories about dragons and some a way to try out some new authors, this is a great way to go! I really want to buy this book because I want to see the Illustrations and it just needs to be on my shelf.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Anthologies aren't really my thing, and dragons aren't really my thing. So why pick up The Book of Dragons, you ask? Simple, fantasy is my thing, and this book includes short stories written by some of my favorite fantasy authors - R.F. Kuang and Garth Nix among them. In the process of making my way through the anthology, I discovered a lot of familiar names whose books I've yet to read - but whose writing hooked me and made me want longer stories (including Seanan McGuire and Sarah Gailey).The Anthologies aren't really my thing, and dragons aren't really my thing. So why pick up The Book of Dragons, you ask? Simple, fantasy is my thing, and this book includes short stories written by some of my favorite fantasy authors - R.F. Kuang and Garth Nix among them. In the process of making my way through the anthology, I discovered a lot of familiar names whose books I've yet to read - but whose writing hooked me and made me want longer stories (including Seanan McGuire and Sarah Gailey).The anthology is wonderfully diverse in both authors and stories - you aren't going to find over 20 different versions of Smaug from The Hobbit here (not hating on Smaug, that's just the dragon that seems to have captured my imagination in childhood). You will get dragons that are mechanical, imaginary, manifestations of emotions, threats to society, shapeshifters, and more. You will get stories that are heartfelt, scary, unnerving, ethereal, adventurous, and challenging. There was only one story that I found myself having a really hard time getting through - "Yuli" by Daniel Abraham, which did not have a clear storyline, and centered on a war vet that was itchy for a new fight.Here are the stories that were highlights for me:--"A Whisper of Blue," Ken Liu (The story centers around dragons that make or break community success based on how many of them there are - their breath produces energy)--"Pox," by Ellen Klages (A super cute story regarding a girl wandering through Chinatown in San Francisco, eating food, making some magical purchases, and thinking a lot about Ursula Le Guin!)--"The Nine Curves River," by R. F. Kuang (Not directly related to The Poppy War trilogy, this is still an instantly engaging read about two sisters trying to navigate their relationship in the midst of an unknown and doomed future for one of them)--"Lucky’s Dragon," by Kelly Barnhill (This story had me on edge! A girl makes a dragon in science class and her neighbor that nobody else seems to see takes an interest and reaches out to help)--"La Vitesse," Kelly Robson (Fast paced and super fun, a dragon is chasing a school bus full of children and the driver tries to figure out how to outrun her regrets and the dragon)--The Long Walk," Kate Elliot (Women are exiled to a land of dragons after their husbands die, effectively becoming "ghosts" themselves. On the journey, cooks to help her fellow women survive and seeks to learn what else is beyond her small world)--"We Don’t Talk About the Dragon," by Sarah Gailey (A girl is sent to feed metal to a dragon in the barn each week, providing a temporary escape from the harsh realities of her home life)If you are looking to get a taste of the writing by some of the biggest names in fantasy and are willing to give dragons a shot, this is a great book to gift or pick up! I'm excited to see what illustration are included in the final copy. Thank you to NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    The strength of this short story collection is the fact that by the only limitation being "must have dragons" to the writing prompt, the diversity of stories is really large. I found it a bit jarring at first that many were quite contemporary settings, but once I settled in, I enjoyed it more. Right now it's hard for me to focus on a long book and so this was a lot easier for me to read one or two short stories at night before bed. I also like that this contained poetry, which I think should be The strength of this short story collection is the fact that by the only limitation being "must have dragons" to the writing prompt, the diversity of stories is really large. I found it a bit jarring at first that many were quite contemporary settings, but once I settled in, I enjoyed it more. Right now it's hard for me to focus on a long book and so this was a lot easier for me to read one or two short stories at night before bed. I also like that this contained poetry, which I think should be incorporated into these type of collections more often. As always, short story collections are a mixed bag, and I liked some of the stories more than others. However, there's a lot of diversity here, and a lot of great authors, so I think that almost everyone will find something they really like within this collection.
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  • Therese | bookish therese
    January 1, 1970
    I ended up DNF-ing this book at around 76% I really didn't know what I was expecting with this book. Overall, there were some stories that stood out to me and that I enjoyed, but there was still a lot going on with this anthology that made it difficult for me to get immersed in the different stories. I wanted to finish the book, but I wasn't able to since, like I said, there was a lot going on and it was hard to really get in the flow anthology with the different stories and even poetry.
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  • yenna
    January 1, 1970
    i don't know how to rate anthologies but on the whole, i enjoyed all the different takes (though got a little bored towards the end, apparently i DO have a limit on how much dragon related content i can enjoy... who knew...), some interesting parallels/takes on our current world and humanity & just generally idk? getting samplers of different authors' writing was fun too. i don't know how to rate anthologies but on the whole, i enjoyed all the different takes (though got a little bored towards the end, apparently i DO have a limit on how much dragon related content i can enjoy... who knew...), some interesting parallels/takes on our current world and humanity & just generally idk? getting samplers of different authors' writing was fun too.
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  • Zarah Larsson
    January 1, 1970
    2.75 stars. close to 3 stars. i love dragons, everyone who knows me knows that. this was a good read but i didnt love every story which is why it got a low rating. some stories were good and i enjoyed them but others i didnt really connect with or care about. this book was different from what i expected it to be.
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  • Preethi
    January 1, 1970
    There are some freaking good dragon stories in here! I think the bulk of the good ones are in the first half, but there are some in the latter half as well.
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    "What do all of these great and mighty dragons have in common? Perhaps that they reflect some aspect of ourselves back to us through story."The Book of Dragons is an amazing anthology full of poems and short stories about the greatest mythological creature: the dragon. It is such a gorgeous book, and I just loved so many of the stories. If you like dragons, you should definitely give this one a go - you are sure to find a story for you!"What Heroism Tells Us" by Jane YolenA very short poem descr "What do all of these great and mighty dragons have in common? Perhaps that they reflect some aspect of ourselves back to us through story."The Book of Dragons is an amazing anthology full of poems and short stories about the greatest mythological creature: the dragon. It is such a gorgeous book, and I just loved so many of the stories. If you like dragons, you should definitely give this one a go - you are sure to find a story for you!"What Heroism Tells Us" by Jane YolenA very short poem describing the scene of a battle/rescue mission. It is a flash glimpse, but in a few words, a scene vividly comes to life, and I liked it for how short it was. Rating: 3/5"Matriculation" by Elle Katharine WhiteI really liked this short story about a young girl soon starting university and her desperately trying to buy all of her materials. It was a very fascinating world that was very effectually build in such a short time. I wouldn’t mind reading a whole story set in this universe. The characters were also very clear, and their relationships were so well done. Also the sort of mystery of her father was intriguing. And the ending was heartbreaking to say the least. But capitalism in a fantasy world is still capitalism. Very relatable! Rating: 4/5"Hikayat Sri Bujand, or, The Tale of the Naga Sage" by Zen ChoThis was a very sweet story about the Naga king dying, summoning his son to come who has lived as a sage in isolation for millennial. The writing was beautiful, and I really felt for the son who had decide between enlightenment and family duties while not really thinking about anything else but himself. And the relationship with his sister was so well done and perfectly encapsulated how it feels to have a sibling. Rating: 4/5"Yuli" by Daniel AbrahamI really don’t care for this writing style. It gives me major noir vibes, but it falls flat. It is very clever with the story going back and forth between Yuli and his life as a soldier/mercenary and his grandson’s D&D campaign where they are hunting after a dragon with a lot of gold. The D&D sections were the best part of the story, in my opinion. And it could have been cool how the campaign paralleled Yuli’s life, but it probably should have been a bit more tongue-in-cheek to really work for me. (view spoiler)[ E.g. if Yuli actually was a dragon! Which the story kind of hinted at, but not enough. (hide spoiler)] Rating: 2/5"A Whisper of Blue" by Ken LiuI loved this story! It is set in our world, but instead of using coal/oil for energy, we use dragon breath. And in a small town in Maine, there is a sudden dragon infestation, but only of miniature dragons. It was such a sweet story of grief and healing. It is told in interview form, but the characters really came alive for me despite the medium. It was also really cool how dragons just really fit into our world history and power structures. The atmosphere was so amazing: How there were tiny dragons everywhere. I kind of want one to be honest. Rating: 5/5"Nidhog" by Jo WaltonA very short poem describing a dragon underneath the earth, lying in slumber until the new world comes, and she will reign. It feels like a piece of mythology (perhaps Norse with the Midgard Worm?) uncovered which was really cool, and the writing was outstanding. I would really enjoy a longer poem about Nidhog. Rating: 4/5"Where the River Turns to Concrete" by Brooke BolanderThis was such an interesting story. An amnesiac ends up working for a mafia boss while discovering where his home is. The main character was just such a sweetheart with his neighbor and her little kid – I just really fell in love with him. Also, it made some interesting points of the destruction of nature. However, I didn’t like how it constantly jumped back and forth in time – it kind of ruined the mystery of who the main character was which could have been a much more cool reveal than us being told. Rating: 4/5"Habitat" by K. J. ParkerA quite dark story about greed, war, and cruelty, and how they destroy anything good. But it is so humoristic told – especially the end – that I actually had a hard time figuring out what to actually feel. In the end, I think I liked this story about a poor boy who by a stroke of luck killed a dragon when he was young and was now asked by the prince to capture a new dragon. It is disguised as a quest-y story, but it much more introspective and philosophical than at first glance. Rating: 4/5"Pox" by Ellen KlagesWhat an absolute precious story. A young girl who is obsessed with dragons and wishes they were real. With her aunt and her aunt’s old friend, she goes on an adventure in China Town in San Fransisco. The writing is so good with lush descriptions of everything – especially the food made me very hungry. I also adored how dragons were incorporated into the story – it was just so well done! Rating: 5/5"The Nine Curves River" by R. F. KuangThis was such a sad and melancholic tale about two sisters at the Lunar New Year festival of the dragon. However, the younger sister is going to be a sacrifice to the dragon, and the elder reflects on their relationship through the years. I so loved this story. I have a younger sister, and Kuang absolutely nailed how you sometimes feel about having a younger sister. It was so believable, and I was in tears by the end of this story because of all of the emotions. Just so good! Rating: 5/5"Lucky's Dragon" by Kelly BarnhillWhat a suspenseful story! It starts off with a little girl called Lucky creating a dragon by accident in her science class. But there is something very off about this dragon and Lucky. At first glance I took this to be a fun middle-grade adventure novel, but then it quickly morphed into a very creepy horror story. I got almost short of breath in anticipation of what would happen next! And I thought it was so cool how we as an adult could figure out what was going on, but Lucky herself had no idea. And then it transitioned back into a middle-grade adventure story which gave it a very nice ending, but it made me have a hard time figuring out what was actually the vibe of the story. But I still really enjoyed it despite the mixed signals it gave me – so imaginative! Rating: 4/5"I Make Myself a Dragon" by Beth CatoAnother short poem very beautifully written. It was about how this person was shunned by the world and decided to wake its inner dragon and protect others from the same treatment. Absolutely beautiful message! Rating: 4/5"The Exile" by JY YangA very weird story! On the one hand, I couldn’t really seem to grasp what it was about (and thus spent a long time being confused about what was going on, who the characters were, what they were doing, etc.), and on the other hand, it was such a beautiful story about heartbreak and acceptance as well as some very nice commentary about human desire to conquer other lands without regard of the natives and original inhabitants. Gorgeous writing! Rating: 3/5"Except on Saturdays" by Peter S. BeagleAnother quite weird story. This is a fun take on the myth of Melusine (a French mythical creature which is half woman half sea snake/fish with wings) which I hadn’t heard of before so that was cool to learn. The story itself was also quite good about loss and grief and cherishing your memories of your lost ones and the experiences you get to have. I didn’t care for the narrator, but otherwise I liked the story very much. Rating: 4/5"La Vitesse" by Kelly RobsonWhat a suspenseful story! We have a mother and a daughter driving a school bus full of kids being followed by a dragon. I was on the edge of my seat and I kept hoping that they would out-drive and outmaneuver the dragon. And at the same time we had an amazing plot, we had so heart filled character moments between the mother and her thinking back on her life and raising her daughter. It was just so well done – loved it! Rating: 5/5"A Final Knight to Her Love and Foe" by Amal El-MohtarA short love poem about dragons in all of its various forms and telling throughout the ages. Quite good. Rating: 3/5"The Long Walk" by Kate ElliottI loved this story! It is set in a society where a woman is considered dead and a ghost when the man in her life dies. If her other male relatives cannot pay a tithe, she is sent on the Long Walk to the land of the dragons as a sacrifice. The writing was gorgeous and really conveyed our main character’s feelings and thoughts. How she had lived in this male-dominated society and tried to carve out a space for herself. Her yearning for freedom was palatable, and I wanted to take flight to the skies with her. Amazing! I would love a full novel set in this world! Rating: 5/5"Cut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz" by Garth NixA quite fun adventure story of a sorcerer and knight on a dragon hunt. The character’s banter was fun, and the plot was a bit predictable, but also had some nice twists that I didn’t see coming. The only thing was the ending felt very abrupt. It had definitive Neil Gaiman vibes, so if you are a fan of his writing then I think you will like this story. Rating: 4/5"Hoard" by Seanan McGuireWhat a cool concept about dragon’s hoards in modern times. This was both so heartwarming about finding family, scathing in its commentary about the flawed foster care system, and quite a creepy horror story. I absolutely loved it! Rating: 5/5"The Wyrm of Lirr" by C. S. E. CooneyA nice poem about humans fighting for indentured dragons. However, it was very hard to actually get – the writing style was not for me! Rating: 3/5"The Last Hunt" by Aliette de BodardThis was so confusing to me. Apparently, after doing some research, this is set before the events in the author’s novella In the Vanishers’ Palace which seems to be rich with lore because a lot was happening here. But I couldn’t really appreciate any of it as I was far too busy being confused about the characters and the story. What I gathered was that a woman was running from the masters – which were dragons who ruled – in this last hunt. That is the premise but the rest of the story kind of went over my head, I’m afraid to say. Rating: 2/5"We Continue" by Ann Leckie and Rachel SwirskyA beautiful story about life – its beginning and ending. Set in a world where all old dragons die when a new dragon queen hatches, an old dragon who has taken care of a human boy for many years is trying to make sure that he will be alright when she is gone. It was heartwarming to see the human and dragon’s relationship – how they tried to communicate but didn’t ever understand each other’s words – only their actions. A very beautiful story! Rating: 4/5"Small Bird's Plea" by Todd McCaffreyWhile it was a bit confusing, when I got into it I really liked this story. It is about a young human girl who sets out to the Cave of Miracles to save her people from destruction from demons. However, the demons may not be entirely evil. The story really had some sweet and very funny moments and gorgeous writing. And it had a great message about all species should live and are dependent on each other for survival. Really great! Rating: 4/5"The Dragons" by Theodora GossI absolutely loved this story! It is very short – even for a short story, but it was just so well written and heartwarming. It is about a woman who one day finds seven dragons on her porch and decides to keep them. But it is also about finding a home and being content – and even happy – in your life. On one hand, I wish it was longer because I adored it so much. But on the other hand, it was perfect as it was – especially the ending! Rating: 5/5"Dragon Slayer" by Michael SwanwickSuch a fun story! It had everything: Adventurers, dragons, wizards, and even time travel. Everything was fast paced and a whirlwind, but I had such fun hanging on to the story. Also, the female characters were the best! Totally pragmatic and badass warriors, who just appeased all of the men in their lives. Really great! Rating: 4/5"Camouflage" by Patricia A. McKillipAnother time travel story and just as much fun. A student is taking one of his final exams; a practical taking place back in time. In the middle of a war. The student meets another time traveler from the War Department researching the use of camouflage dragons in battle. It was a great story, well-written, and I really liked the message of the importance of knowledge. And what knowledge actually means. Rating: 5/5"We Don't Talk About the Dragon" by Sarah GaileyThere is a dragon in the barn, and nobody is allowed to talk about it. A young girl from an abusive home bonds with the dragon in the barn, telling it about all of her hopes and dreams that she cannot express at home. We follow in glimpses throughout her childhood and how they slowly learn to communicate with each other. It was such a gorgeous story! Very well-written – I got so tense when reading about the abusive family and so hopeful when she would be with the dragon. And the ending was perfection! Absolutely loved it! Rating: 5/5"Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It" by Scott LynchThis was a wild ride! After WWII, dragons infest the world, creating some dystopian society where humanity is desperately trying to survive and fight the dragons. We follow a former soldier, turned special police officer and how he fights and deals with the dragons throughout the years. It made some great points about how humanity wants to fight for survival, but perhaps war is not always the answer. It really was a fascinating political commentary – with dragons! Rating: 5/5"A Nice Cuppa" by Jane YolenAnd a nice poem to end with! Very short, but also very sweet and fun. Rating: 4/5
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  • Sydney
    January 1, 1970
    *3.5 stars*⁣"The Book of Dragons" is an anthology of stories and poems from so many wonderful authors. Each author took the topic of dragons and made it their own, with varied descriptions, themes, and writing styles. I don’t read much fantasy anymore so this was a treat since I got to experience so many different authors. I loved the little drawings throughout the novel and I’m definitely obsessed with that cover too! As most anthologies or collections are, this one is a mixed bag with some tha *3.5 stars*⁣"The Book of Dragons" is an anthology of stories and poems from so many wonderful authors. Each author took the topic of dragons and made it their own, with varied descriptions, themes, and writing styles. I don’t read much fantasy anymore so this was a treat since I got to experience so many different authors. I loved the little drawings throughout the novel and I’m definitely obsessed with that cover too! As most anthologies or collections are, this one is a mixed bag with some that are truly unique while others were just pages to turn past. Overall, if you enjoy the topic of dragons and want some quick fantasy short stories, I would recommend ⁣"The Book of Dragons."⁣Thank you so much to Harper Voyager and TLC Book Tours for my gifted copy in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Ronny
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I am not fond of anthologies. Whether it be a collection of short stories by the same author or written by different authors around a similar theme (such as the case here), an anthology is most often than not a mixed bag of stories that range from good to mediocre. The Book of Dragons edited by Jonathan Strahan contains twenty-nine stories and poems by a variety of accomplished modern fantasy authors, who showcase their talents and diverse cultural backgrounds in tales featuring the Disclaimer: I am not fond of anthologies. Whether it be a collection of short stories by the same author or written by different authors around a similar theme (such as the case here), an anthology is most often than not a mixed bag of stories that range from good to mediocre. The Book of Dragons edited by Jonathan Strahan contains twenty-nine stories and poems by a variety of accomplished modern fantasy authors, who showcase their talents and diverse cultural backgrounds in tales featuring the most prominent mythical beast - the dragon. And therein lies the rub - I am also not particularly fond of stories about dragons. But the anthology includes a story by R.F. Kuang, award-nominated author of The Poppy War trilogy, so I had to read it.In the following review I will discuss the aforementioned story, titled "The Nine Curves River." Having read only this particular piece, I feel inadequate in rating the entire book. As for the story itself, it definitely deserves ✪✪✪✪✪."The Nine Curves River" is a lyrical and poignant story about monsters, sisterhood and the nature of storytelling. In the span of a few pages, Kuang masterfully creates a world of great depth, inspired by Chinese culture and mythology, and which would appeal to readers unfamiliar with her books. For her fans, this story serves as a hauntingly beautiful appetizer before the publication of The Burning God.Here be spoilers.The story is told in second person, an uncommon choice that ushers the reader into the world. Two sisters arrive to Arlong, the capital of Dragon Province that held a place of significance in The Dragon Republic, on the fourth day of the Lunar New Year festivities. It is the younger sister's first time in the Floating City, and she is mesmerized by its liveliness, its vivid colours and mouthwatering food. Her golden anklets and bracelets are cause for much chatter among the people, and some hawkers bestow her with delicacies free of charge. It is evident that she is no ordinary child and we soon learn why - the ornaments she wears are not only decorative, but can also signify shackles. Arlong is suffering from a serious drought - the waters in the canals are shallow, the grass has turned yellow and the soil is cracked - and according to the stories, this means that the Dragon Lord, a powerful deity responsible for rains, requires a human sacrifice. This year it is the younger sister.The older sister narrates the story as she escorts her sister to the grotto where she will meet her fate, a vague destiny that depends on which version of the story is told, but from which she is never to return. The older sister's tone is remorseful. This is their last day together, the last time for them to experience that fragile and complicated bond called sisterly love. When the younger sister says she cannot eat so much food, she tells her to save it for later, knowing perfectly well that 'later' will not arrive, and it's indirectly her fault.She always felt eclipsed by her younger sister, who from the moment of her birth was beloved by everyone on Ao island. Her sister is graceful and slender, with porcelain skin and shiny thick hair that does not frizz from humidity; a stark contrast to her sun-browned skin and tangled locks. She is humble, kind and extremely clever, with a promising future ahead of her. But when the older sister was of age for the matchmaker to asses her marital prospects is when living under her sister's shadow became a nuisance and a source of jealousy. She wished to dim her younger sister's glow, to diminish the adoration she received, so she created a story. She told people that her sister was actually a White Snake, a legendary creature from Chinese culture who takes the shape of a beautiful woman. She did not foretell the consequences to come; she did not know how much power words can have.The sisters remain nameless throughout the story, not unlike characters in fairytales. They refer to one another by the Chinese terms jiejie (older sister) and meimei (younger sister), which indicates the hierarchy between them, but perhaps also highlights that the older sister shirked from her responsibility to protect her younger sister, as older siblings are often expected of. Moreover, their namelessness suggests that their identity is unimportant. They are simply the current victims of an ongoing annual ritual.Folklore stories were often told in order to make sense of the world; their cautionary message shifted depending on the purpose of the teller, whether to serve a certain national, political, or religious perspective. The story about the Dragon Lord has infinite variations: "everyone tells it differently, because everyone wants to believe something different". Some claim that he sought a rare meat to satiate his appetite, or maybe a replacement in his dying days, others claim he sought companionship to alleviate his loneliness. The White Snake, another example, appears as a romantic figure in the stories told on the mainland, but for the islanders, she is an evil seductress. These variations in narrative show the dualism of the monstrous. The Dragon Lord is on the one hand associated to creation - he is responsible for rain, a vital source for life and food, but on the other hand he is also depicted is a malevolent force capable of destruction and death. The White Snake, like many female figures in history and literature, is either the Madonna or the whore - she is an innocent who wants to feel the touch of human love or a predator who manipulates and corrupts. According to our narrator, the older sister, monsters are misunderstood by humanity; humans cast them out and use violence against them because they are terrified of them. This raises the question - who are the real monsters here? Are they the unnatural beings, dragons and snakes, or are they the bystanders on the shore in Arlong, who expressed their sympathy for the younger sister's sacrifice but did nothing to stop it? The older sister who became a green-eyed monster and ultimately lead to her sister's demise? All the myths are wrong, claims the story - we are monsters of our own making.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.As with any anthology, I connected better with some works than others. With that said, there’s a lot to love here in The Book of Dragons, which features all new dragon-themed stories and poems by many award-winning and beloved authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Amal El-Mohtar, Sarah Gailey, R. F. Kuang, Ann Leckie, Ken Liu, Scott Lynch, Seanan McGuire, Patricia M Full disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.As with any anthology, I connected better with some works than others. With that said, there’s a lot to love here in The Book of Dragons, which features all new dragon-themed stories and poems by many award-winning and beloved authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Amal El-Mohtar, Sarah Gailey, R. F. Kuang, Ann Leckie, Ken Liu, Scott Lynch, Seanan McGuire, Patricia McKillip, Garth Nix, J. Y. Yang, Jane Yolen, and more. It’s a stellar lineup, especially since these aren’t reprints.The dragons in this anthology aren’t all your typical Western, fire-breathing dragons roaming a faux-medieval Europe. There are dragons from various types of Asian mythology, mechanical dragons, memory-erasing dragons, and bee-like dragons. There are dragons used as energy sources and dragons used for terraforming planets. There are post-apocalyptic settings, far-future settings, and alternate history settings. In short, there is remarkable diversity in how the authors approached this fantasy staple.Fans of Garth Nix’s Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz stories will be delighted to find a new one here. I also was tickled to notice that Aliette de Bodard’s story appears to be a prequel to her recent novella, In the Vanishers’ Palace, showing the Vanishers and the destruction they wrought before they vanished.Other particular favorites from this anthology include stories by Zen Cho, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, Seanan McGuire, and Scott Lynch. Cho’s story involves a naga sage struggling against family obligations. Liu’s story involves a society powered by draconic energy. Elliott’s story was a captivating tale of a widow in a deeply misogynist culture that views widows as societal burdens and sends those widows whose families are not wealthy or loving enough to pay the tithe to be sacrificed to the dragons that help protect their settlements from demons. Seanan McGuire’s story was a truly lovely take on the concept of the dragon hoard, as the dragon runs a foster home and “hoards” the children the system has failed, making a safe home for them. Scott Lynch’s story is a departure from his usual style, but still excellent. It follows a WWII veteran Marine struggling to reintegrate after the war, who finds a new career as a sheriff’s deputy in the fight against dragons as he watches the world crumble around him.I was less impressed with elements in the stories by Peter S. Beagle and Michael Swanwick. In Beagle’s story, it is mentioned that the protagonist is a teacher (professor?) whose last relationship was with a student (not one of his, but a student at his school nonetheless) who supposedly “seduced” him. I found that exceedingly gross. In Swanwick’s story, the protagonist is a child who is evidently destined to marry her boss/father figure, which was also exceedingly gross.Despite my reservations with those two stories, I thought this was a fantastic collection of stories and poems. The breadth in this anthology was phenomenal, and you could hardly ask for a finer set of contributors. Also, while my eARC had no illustrations, evidently the finished version includes black-and-white line drawings by Rovina Cai for each story, which sounds delightful.
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  • Libriamo3116
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Harper Voyager and William Morrow for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Dragons roar, soar, and never bore in this anthology where tales of these fantastical creatures of all different kinds are told. Some giant, some small, some like insects, others like robots, and others bending planets toward their purpose. Many well-known fantasy and science fiction authors contribute to bring together ideas that are so very different, but also gathered to Thank you Harper Voyager and William Morrow for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Dragons roar, soar, and never bore in this anthology where tales of these fantastical creatures of all different kinds are told. Some giant, some small, some like insects, others like robots, and others bending planets toward their purpose. Many well-known fantasy and science fiction authors contribute to bring together ideas that are so very different, but also gathered toward the same goal, of regaling readers with the purest form of imagination known, the imagination of the very essence of magic, these creatures that resemble dinosaurs, fly like eagles, wield the strength of armies, and are at times more cunning than even the canniest human. With over thirty stories and black-and-white illustrations by Rovina Cai, readers are sure to escape and delight in these tales of the most magical creatures.I love dragons, and really, who doesn't? I have loved them since I was a child, and so a compendium of these amazing creatures piqued my interest from the moment I heard of it. Another reason I really wanted to read these stories is because The Poppy War's R.F. Kuang is a contributing author, and her story did not disappoint. Focusing on two sisters, the story follows them on the final day of one of the sisters' lives, and is concerned with the guilt of one sister over her jealousy of the other sister, and how it has brought her sister to the end of her life. Of course, there is a dragon involved, however you'll have to read the story to find out more. There are so many other interesting stories here, including dragons versus demons, dragons in the present day, dragons living in the future, and so much more. There were two stories I did not care for, both of which featured inappropriate relationships built on abuses of power, however I am, just like you are, free to skip stories that are not personally agreeable in this anthology. If dragons get your mind racing and blood flowing, that is more than a good enough reason to fly down to your local bookstore and secure this precious hoard of stories. Whether they are called drakes, hydra, wyverns, wyrms, or anything else, they are dragons, and they are some of the most magnificent and persistent creations of the human mind across time and culture. The Book of Dragons is a must for anybody who loves to escape the ordinary.
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  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsThis review is based on an ARC ebook received for free from NetGalley. I am not being paid to review this book and what I write here is my own opinion. My rating scale is below.reviewThis is a star-studded anthology on a topic dear to my heart, but it doesn’t bear a great deal of resemblance to the dragons people may have grown up with. It opens and closes with quotes from The Hobbit, but few of the dragons within much resemble anything out of Tolkien, being neither terrible nor awesome 2.5 starsThis review is based on an ARC ebook received for free from NetGalley. I am not being paid to review this book and what I write here is my own opinion. My rating scale is below.reviewThis is a star-studded anthology on a topic dear to my heart, but it doesn’t bear a great deal of resemblance to the dragons people may have grown up with. It opens and closes with quotes from The Hobbit, but few of the dragons within much resemble anything out of Tolkien, being neither terrible nor awesome. These are dragons for the twenty-first century, where they seem to have diminished from the days of yore, and they feel largely like livestock rather than magical creatures. When I want to read about dragons, I prefer to read about them as creatures of wonder, whereas most of these stories turn them into something mundane and pedestrian. But your mileage may vary.Ignoring and trying to get over the fact that the dragons in this book are neither Smaug nor Ramoth, nor even the nameless homewrecker in Robert Musch’s The Paper Bag Princess, there are a lot of clever ideas in this book, as well as a surprisingly high poem count. The poems are about as enjoyable as your personal fondness for poetry allows for. I’m not much for poetry, myself, but I kind of liked about half of the poems.Ultimately, reading this book left me exhausted. The writers were all very talented and clever, yet I kept checking my progress to see how much was left, and checking the table of contents to see how many more stories I had to read. It wasn’t that the stories weren’t technically fine. They just weren’t for me. Strahan’s stated goal in the introduction was to spend some time with a new group of dragons and the people who encounter them, and it turns out that wasn’t my cup of tea. I definitely recommend this book, because the writing is solid and the ideas are novel, not to mention it includes many of my favorite contemporary authors, but It just wasn’t for me.rating scale1 star - I was barely able to finish it. I didn't like it.2 stars - It was okay. I didn't dislike it.3 stars - It was interesting. I liked it.4 stars - It was excellent. I really liked it.5 stars - It was extraordinary. I really hope the author wrote more things.
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  • Dylan Schnabel
    January 1, 1970
    NetGalley and the publisher provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.The Book of Dragons is a collection of poetry and short stories by an exciting group of speculative fiction authors edited by the oft-awarded Jonathan Strahan.There are twenty-nine works throughout, of all sorts. Encased in this tome are stories about love, loss, tropes flipped on their heads. There are stories of scary dragons, loving dragons, happy dragons, intelligent dragons, bestial dragons, and more. Stori NetGalley and the publisher provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.The Book of Dragons is a collection of poetry and short stories by an exciting group of speculative fiction authors edited by the oft-awarded Jonathan Strahan.There are twenty-nine works throughout, of all sorts. Encased in this tome are stories about love, loss, tropes flipped on their heads. There are stories of scary dragons, loving dragons, happy dragons, intelligent dragons, bestial dragons, and more. Stories of gods and spirits, stories of Earth, stories of space.Some of the stories are high-intensity action stories. Some of them are deeply moving stories. Some are interview-style slices of life. They're all tied together through the ongoing theme--dragons, of course.As I've noted, this is a diverse book. The contributing authors are a diverse lot, and the stories they tell are even more diverse. In addition, each author is trying to say something new, something different about dragons. There are no cliche stories of a knight in full plate riding up to the mouth of a cave, and then slaying the dragon through sheer bravery, determination, and strength. There are no maidens taken captive in an abandoned castle tower, ready to be saved by the prince and made queen.This is for the best. Cliche dragons in cliche settings are still fun; they're still something I want to read. But really, new, unique dragons or dragons in unique settings are so refreshing.And the poems! I'm not a poet, nor am I someone well versed in poetry. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the poems. That's not something I often say, but I was really into these.The negatives for this book are few and far between. There are stories that speak to some people more than others, and while this is the nature of an anthology, some of the stories are relatively slow plot-wise. This isn't a problem in and of itself, but if the reader isn't connecting with one of the slower stories, it can really drag on. Overall, though, Strahan did a wonderful job of ensuring each story was written and built well to avoid this as much as possible.
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  • Adriana
    January 1, 1970
    Like pretty much every single anthology I've ever read, The Book of Dragons is a mixed bag that ranges from fantastic to head-scratchingly mediocre. But what it has going for it - besides the fact that it's about dragons and is, therefore, a must-read - is exactly that mixed bag. I guarantee that there will be at least one story for every reader to enjoy.There were five truly standout pieces for me:1. The Nine Curves River by R.F. Kuang for its lyrical prose and how wonderfully it paints the sto Like pretty much every single anthology I've ever read, The Book of Dragons is a mixed bag that ranges from fantastic to head-scratchingly mediocre. But what it has going for it - besides the fact that it's about dragons and is, therefore, a must-read - is exactly that mixed bag. I guarantee that there will be at least one story for every reader to enjoy.There were five truly standout pieces for me:1. The Nine Curves River by R.F. Kuang for its lyrical prose and how wonderfully it paints the story while giving depth and connection to its character despite the short page count.2. I Make Myself a Dragon by Beth Cato for being a poem that hit me straight in the feels while being utterly inspirational. 3. The Long Walk by Kate Elliott for confirming the fact that Kate Elliott is a master at worldbuilder and that she's capable of creating universes with whatever space she's given.4. We Continue by Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky for a super original take on dragons and suffusing their story with so much emotion.5. Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott Lynch for creating an alternate history world that left me both satisfied with the conclusion and wanting to explore more.Overall, a good read if you're looking for quick pieces about dragons you can fit in short bursts in between tasks or if you're looking for some good fantasy/sci-fi without the commitment of a full novel. Definitely worth a read at least for the five pieces I singled out, IMHO.Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the delightful early read!
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