It took me a month and ten days to finish it, but by golly guys I did it!
Let’s chat about how I came to my 4 star rating and then get into each one on its own:
There were 21 stories collected here. Each with a possibility of being rated at 5 stars. That totaled to 105 as the max amount possible. My rating wound up with 91 out of that possible 105 by the end leaving the collection at a 3.85 rating. Rounding up of course and not down as Math taught us all to do, I thus arrived at my 4 rating for the book as a whole.
Some stories I enjoyed much more than others. Only a couple did I find myself wishing they were done or consider DNFing(!), but I stuck them out and here are my impressions and random musings and notes for each of the short stories. Yes I took notes as I read each story. Along with keeping track of each star rating and doing Math. <3
“Tough Times All Over” by: Joe Abercrombie
Following different character to character, but the same small mysterious package as it changes hands. Very unique story-telling.
“What Do You Do?” by: Gillian Flynn
Very engaging story…but creepy and strange and weird ending by far. Very confusing. What’s true? What’s not? Strange choices made by the main character.
“The Inn of the Seven Blessings” by: Matthew Hughes
Was pretty good! Releasing the “7 blessings” @ the end and having the title come together that way was pretty cool. The story took me a bit to get into, but it was actually well developed.
“Bent Twig” by: Joe R. Landsdale
Can tell this is an author that’s written A LOT and is very familiar with his characters. Gritty and not the most “happy”, but hey very engrossing!
“Tawny Petticoats” by: Michael Swanwick
Zombies as workers and a lady that gets involved w/2 guys to scheme and pull an iron scheme off. I thought some parts were lacking, but it was okay.
“Provenance” by: David W. Bell
So bored! It is all over the place with the timeline and the story. Considered DNFing it, but meh. Overall though I gave it the 2.5 stars because it did get better and pick up. Thankfully.
“Roaring Twenties” by: Carrie Vaughn
Fun setting w.it being the 20s and also magical. Sort of a drop in, en medias res beginning and stuff. Writing as plain, not juicy.
“A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” by: Scott Lynch
Highly entertaining. Witch and set with magic and sort of also steampunk-the main character is retired and had committed crimes and then gets blackmailed once when she’s drunk and comes out of retirement. She steals a street. It was a tale! Totally fun romp!
“Bad Brass” by: Bradley Denton
Very fun but took a bit to get into. I liked how diverse it was and how there was story before and after. Like it felt “real”.
“Heavy Metal” by: Cherie Priest (3 stars.)
Interesting and intriguing set up and premise…but I was SUPER confused by the ending? Like, what was that about???
“The Meaning of Love” by: Daniel Abraham
This was fantastic and had a great story of funny likening of love to things and sarcasm and ended on a funny note. Lady got another lady for a prince.
“A Better Way to Die” by: Paul Cornell
Seriously considered DNFing this. It was ody switch and youth and other worlds and stuff which I usually really like (aka Dark Matter and Starts & Enders) but the writing was BORING.
“Ill Seen in Tyre” by: Steven Saylor
Invisibility potion and tricking people into thinking it worked. Also, what’s up with the writers making all rogues have threesomes? (It was in the previous story too.)
“A Cargo of Ivories” by: Garth Nix
Ships and cargo and deception and a puppet…but I was so bored and I didn’t care. Writing style was okay, but not engaging or entertaining for me.
“Diamonds from Tequila” by: Walter Jon Williams
3D printing, drugs, Hollywood movie story of a murder mystery on someone who wasn’t the intended target and a double pay off by the main character who figures it all out. I liked the story and found it worth reading.
“The Caravan to Nowhere” by: Phyllis Eisenstein
BORED out of my mind. Seriously. I liked the style in that it was tone-wise set about the same as Name of the Wind. But that’s it.
“The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives” by: Lisa Tuttle
Women who want to feel “death” and the mountain dude who has the “bell ring” and takes them as wives and hypnotizes them. Very Sherlock Holmes esque. I really enjoyed it. It was weird.
“How the Marquis Got his Coat Back” by: Neil Gaiman
Only one I’d already read a few years ago. So I skipped it this time and just kept same rating as I had before.
“Now Showing” by: Connie Willis
Great story and I liked the premise quite a bit of a movie theater not actually having what’s advertised and distracting you into not quite caring that you didn’t see it. Creative!
“The Lightning Tree” by: Patrick Rothfuss
From a few months before the events of Name of the ind, we see Bast as he goes about his business. What his life is like and his fae qualities more. How he trades knowledge for secrets and has a relationship with the kids in an exchange manner for information. Well-written.
“The Rogue Prince” by: George R.R. Martin
Interesting political court intrigue. Just enough links to our “current” story line and family lines to connect and enjoy the story.
If you’re a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R.R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R.R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire.
Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis, as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand, in this rogues gallery of stories that will plunder your heart — and yet leave you all the richer for it.