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The Book of Magic

(Spiritwalker #Bloom)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Hot on the heels of award-winning editor Gardner Dozois's acclaimed anthology The Book of Swords comes this companion volume devoted to magic. How could it be otherwise? For every Frodo, there is a Gandalf ... and a Saruman. For every Dorothy, a Glinda ... and a Wicked Witch of the West. What would Harry Potter be without Albus Dumbledore ... and Severus Snape? Figures of ...more
Hardcover, 553 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Bantam
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
"The Book of Magic" is the latest in what now has become an annual collection of hefty anthology series consisting of:

2009 - "Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance"
2010 – "Warriors - a military-themed cross-genre anthology"
2010 - "Songs of Love and Death"
2011 - "Down These Strange Streets"
2013 - "Dangerous Women"
2013 – "Old Mars"
2014 – "Rogues"
2015 - "Old Venus"
2017 - "The Book of Swords"
2018 - "The Book of Magic"

Contents and my story ratings for "The Book of Magic":

xi - Int
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked just a few of these from some favorite authors, and all were quite good. In particular, the Scott Lynch story, which is the longest in the collection and a bit of a departure from his normal fare, as well as the story by Matthew Hughes, who never fails to deliver an utterly amusing experience.

The Friends of Masquelayne the Incomparable by Matthew Hughes (4.5) - A jealous wizard bites off more than he can chew when he takes on an upstart wizard with enigmatic powers. Hughes has a real gi
A mixed bag as any anthology... but with some serious gems inside! Notes on the favourite stories to follow
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall rating: 4

The usual mix of high quality, diverse and imaginative tales that one expects from a Gardner Dozois anthology. There is a selection of authors from very different backgrounds. This may have been Dozois’ last anthology. RIP Gardner. We will miss your wonderful story collections.

The theme is obviously magic and fantasy. There are witches, wizards, sorcerers, etc.

The Return of the Pig by K.J. Parker (aka Tom Holt)


Audio reader: Elliot Hill

Weird and gripping tale of nasty and brut
Florin Constantinescu
We've reached the (most likely) last anthology that Gardner Dozois edited during his lifetime. He didn't live to see it published. Now, unless the big publishing houses start doing some Jimi Hendrix or J.R.R. Tolkien trick, where they come up with new material some 40-50 years after (supposedly from the artists' attics), we can safely assume this is it.

Sister anthology of last year's The Book of Swords this one obviously follows the same formula: 17 novelettes, ranging from the medieval to the u
All the stories are pleasant and entertaining; most of them are pretty generic and unmemorable. "Powerful magicians" is a pretty hoary trope, and while the authors portray it well, it feels like a good rendition of something I've seen a million times before.

My main takeaway would be not to read this all at once. One story at a time would probably be a welcome entertainment; a bunch of them in sequence felt very tedious to me. (Full disclosure: at some point I started skipping between the stories
Jun 16, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020-favourites
COMMUNITY SERVICE (5*) by Megan Lindholm (aka Robin Hobb) is just fantastic. I want more. I read a snippet somewhere suggesting she might be attempting a full length novel with the protagonist. Please. I loved the bit about the junk drawer and the bookish magic: the world building is first class.


I felt the vindictive satisfaction of someone who was finally able to betray a traitorous friend.

I knew if he apologised again I'd never be able to forgive him. There's something terrible about he
Loren C
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Everyone knows that short story collections will be a mixed bag. This one was a better bag than most. I only disliked 3 out of 17, which is very good odds for a short story compilation. I found the Bouncing Boy Terror to be irritating in its alliteration, the GRRM one to be as creepily porny as he always is, and the Andy Duncan Americana one to be just awful. I cannot stand Americana lit. I don't even know if Americana is the word. Like, folksy squared. Excessive folk. Unacceptable.

But Masquela
Alex Sarll
"Here are dreams that, it is my fervent hope, will still be touching other people's minds and hearts and stirring them in their turn to dream long after everyone in this anthology or associated with it have gone to dust," says the introduction to what's presumably the last collection overseen by the great anthologist Dozois. Reading that, one inevitably wonders whether he knew his own departure was scheduled for even before its publication. A companion piece to The Book of Swords, it claims on t ...more
Zoe's Human
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lt
... Magic predates Art. In fact, Art may have been invented as a tool to express Magic, to give Magic a practical means of execution—to make it work. So that if you go back far enough, artist and sorcerer are indistinguishable, one and the same—a claim that can still be made with a good deal of validity to this very day.
—Gardner Dozois

Having a great love for Gardner Dozois' science fiction anthologies and loving the cover, I decided to give this collection a whirl. Disappointingly, it rather mi
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
The Book of Swords⭐⭐⭐1/2 (Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans)
Read full review at:

More diverse than Book of Swords, but that’s to be expected with the change of subject. Magic does not have to be wandwork, incantations or potions, but can be pretty much anything. Like eating toys to remain young (Yes, that’s an actual thing in one story. Thank you Megan Lindholm!). It can also be set successfully in different moods and tones. All from heart crushing to overly
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Book of Magic carries on what The Book of Swords achieved by bringing together a finely edited compilation of stories once more. This time, of course, it was centered around magic and it's users and seeing the many interpretations of that was excellent. I liked most of the stories in this, though I few didn't quite reach me the way I would hope as with any collection. Overall, I recommend this if you want a taste of magic! ...more
Stuart Hodge
My third book in the #dymocksreadingchallenge is The Book of Magic! Like all of the Gardner Dozois (RIP) anthologies, it's a hell of a stacked deck of authors, including Garth Nix, Tim Powers, and Scott Lynch. Like any anthology, there are some stories you like more than others- I didn't particularly like one about Irish folklore, for example- but some are real great. The real gutpunch story here is Megan "Robin Hobb" Lindholms, which is creepy and heartbreaking. ...more
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Short stories anthologies are not my favorites, but this was mostly enjoyable, squeezed in between other books. My favorites come from pens of George R.R.Martin(a surprise, seeing as I abandoned ASOIAF) and Matthew Hughes. It was also nice to read more Ysabeau S. Wilce, and it's high time to start reading some Kate Elliott work. ...more
Jake Mcconnell
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Decent collection of fantasy short stories. Personally I enjoyed the offerings from K.J. Parker, Matthew Hughes, Tim Parker, Garth Nix, and Scott Lynch the most. I'll definitely have to track down more stuff by all of these authors. ...more
Jenny T
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2018
As with any anthology, there were some good, some great, and a few meh. The sheer variety was impressive, though, and I discovered a few new-to-me authors. yay! Highlights for me included THE BIOGRAPHY OF A BOUNCING BOY TERROR: CHAPTER TWO: JUMPING JACK IN LOVE, by Ysabeau S Wilce and THE STAFF IN THE STONE, by Garth Nix.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A majority of these stories are some of the best I've heard. Stellar group of authors. ...more
Jacqueline Gatewood
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful read; I wrote down all the authors to find their works separately. Short stories are always a hit with me, but this collection was so diverse and not a single story I didn't finish. Gardner Dozois died in 2018 which made me want to go and not only read his stuff, but find his other collections. I'm currently looking for "The Book of Swords" at the library, but I'm not sure it can top this. ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short story collection he was editing when he died, his estate published it. An ok collection of fantasy topped easily by the last story in it. The Fall and Rise of the House of the Wizard Malkuril, by Scott Lynch, was wonderful. The rest of the stories varied from 2 to 4, but that was a 5.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Hands down, the best stories were by Garth Nix and Scott Lynch. Read it for those, at a minimum.
Brian Liebenow
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Can't really give it an honest rating because I only read a few of the stories, but I really liked the one by Scott Lynch. ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-1
not a mediocre one in the bunch!
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A nice collection of tales about magic; some whimsical, others grim. Because I can't rate the stories individually (as one must have done to be fair), I am rating this book as an anthology, and it does this work pretty spectacularly. There are no stories included that left me feeling unsatisfied or puzzled, and each was as uniquely enjoyable as the individual authors' styles and voices. There are some authors I probably wouldn't seek out separately, but that is more of a genre preference than a ...more
Joe Kessler
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gardner Dozois was a prolific editor of speculative fiction, and this is most likely his final project, having come to publication soon after his death in 2018. It's a series of stories about sorcery -- the companion to last year's Dozois fantasy collection The Book of Swords -- and that remit is wide enough to allow for some nice variation among the assembled entries, only one of which seems to have been previously released outside of this volume.

This is my fourth book of short stories from the
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Overall, the stories in this anthology range from 3-5 stars in quality. There was only one I didn't finish, and all the others I enjoyed to varying degrees. There are some fantastically talented writers featured here. Some are well known (George R. R. Martin), while others I was not previously familiar with. And some more in the middle of this spectrum, I have been familiar with, but intended to read more of their work--and am glad I have had the chance to do so.

From traditional fantasy to moder
Alison C
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“The Book of Magic” is, I believe, the last anthology edited by Gardner Dozois, who died suddenly in 2018. As with all of his anthologies, the quality of writing here is superb, coming from the likes of Matthew Hughes, Ysabeau S. Wilce, Eleanor Arnason, Tim Powers, Lavie Tidhar and George R.R. Martin to name a handful. All the stories are original to this volume, except for the Martin, which was originally published in another anthology edited by Mr. Dozois (along with Mr. Martin), “Songs of the ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent compilation of stories of magic in many different forms. The joy in the collection is the variety, and a fine collection of authors. There are surprises here, and some stories rose above the others, in my estimation, by their power to surprise, delight, or even, in one case, move close to tears. The nimble dance of language in "Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror, Chapter II: Jumping Jack in Love" by Ysabeau S. Wilce is awe-inspiring and delicious. I'll be seeking out more of ...more
Doug Lewars
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
*** Possible Spoilers ***

Magic, sorcerers and a fine collection of well-written stories. I liked every one - some quite a bit more than others but I can't say there was a single story in this book that I actively disliked. There was one that I thought might have been improved with a bit more editing but I still enjoyed it.

All of the stories were well written and I was a little surprised to see that all the copyrights were 2018 so these aren't merely an amalgamation of past publications but appe
Oct 21, 2020 rated it liked it
A nice mix of stories in a number of different settings and styles. There's likely something here for everyone. Finding the ones you'll enjoy, however, is the trick. I think I only skipped two of them because the writing style just wasn't for me. Some of the changes in style from one story to the next was a bit jarring. I wonder if the editor took that into account when it came to arrangement.
Stories from high fantasy, to unexpected, to twists, to duels, to amazing power, to the mundane. Even t
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A lot of winners in this collection. Better than I remember The Book of Swords being. I don't expect everything in a collection to be great, so I feel this has enough quality contributions to warrant the rating.

Best of the bunch:

M. Hughes - "The Friends of Masquelayne the Incomparable"
Y. S. Wilce - "Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror, Chapter II: Jumping Jack in Love"
G. Nix - "The Staff in the Stone"
G. R. R. Martin - "A Night at the Tarn House"
S. Lynch - "The Fall and Rise of the House of the Wi
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Gardner Raymond Dozois was an American science fiction author and editor. He was editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine from 1984 to 2004. He won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, both as an editor and a writer of short fiction.
Wikipedia entry: Gardner Dozois

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Spiritwalker (3 books)
  • Cold Magic (Spiritwalker, #1)
  • Cold Fire (Spiritwalker, #2)
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