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The Book of Magic

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  256 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A new anthology celebrating the witches and sorcerers of epic fantasy—featuring stories by George R. R. Martin, Scott Lynch, Megan Lindholm, and many others!

Hot on the heels of 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 Do
Published October 16th 2018 by Random House Audio
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3.63  · 
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"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
A mixed bag as any anthology... but with some serious gems inside! Notes on the favourite stories to follow
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jenny T
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
A majority of these stories are some of the best I've heard. Stellar group of authors.
Jacqueline Gatewood
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.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brian Liebenow
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.
Hands down, the best stories were by Garth Nix and Scott Lynch. Read it for those, at a minimum.
Joe Kessler
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Doug Lewars
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The trouble with rating collections, particularly when the stories come from multiple authors, is that there will always be some stories you get along with better than others. There was nothing in the book I'd rate lower than 3 stars, and there were definitely some 5-star contributions. I hav loved everything of Scott Lynches that I've read so far, so it's no surprise to me that his story was amazing. It was original and felt epic in a short space. More surprising were the contributions of Eliza ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gardner Dozois has gathered another nice collection of stories on the theme of magic and magic-users. He has a number of authors that I have read before (Tim Powers, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear) and some such as Andy Duncan that is not as familiar. Not every story will meet every reader's taste, but that is the nice thing about a short story collection, if you do not like it, skip it. The author intro's were key to placing the author's story in context to other work he/she has done. I will be ch ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shorts
I liked this one better than The Book of Swords (that one had a few standouts, but this one had a more stellar cast overall).
My favorites were probably the stories by Garth Nix, Tim Powers (for more about governors, check out the Murderbot Diaries!), and Scott Lynch (the best one!).
And I have to admit, I skipped George R. R. Martin and Lavie Tidhar (not my cup of tea).

If you want a book of shorts that will last you a while, then this is a good one to have on hand. (555 pages, you know)
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed bag -- some stories are pedestrian, others ring some interesting changes on the whole idea of 'wizards'. My favorite was the last, long story by Scott Lynch where there are several funny and pathetic twists and the narrative doesn't go at all where you think it might. A great Dying Earth pastiche by George R. R. Martin and some other good stories by Garth Nix, Eleanor Arnason, one of Andy Duncan's incomparable Southern folk-tale retellings, and Lavie Tidhar in full-on China Mieville mode.
I usually love anthologies and I usually love fantasy stories with magic at the forefront. But, I hate to say it, none of the first four stories grabbed me enough to keep reading at this current time. I found the first four stories okay at best and a little bland for my tastes. I may come back and pick it up again, but as of now I’ve decided that it’s a DNF from me.
Gary Weinman
This book started off slow. Some of the early stories were clunkers, but I thought some of the ones at the end were really good. I guess my biggest problem was I was looking for more fights using magic. Many of the stories were magical in nature, but didn't actually involve what I would call actual wizards. There was also too much urban fantasy stories for my liking.
Linda Shepherd
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I put a hold on this book because one of the stories was written by George R. R. Martin. I read the whole book. It is a delightful collection of fantasy. Some use humor. None are below 4 stars. I'll be looking for the other books that Gardner Dozois edited. I know we won't see anymore of his collections but I'll be looking forward to finding the others he edited.
Katrina Evans
Audiobook review.

Like all anthologies this has something for everyone.

I like that I can read outside my usual fare without too much investment.

Decent collection of stories.

Some of the narrators were excellent and really added to the story, others I felt detracted for the story.

I think I would have preferred to read this.
Patrick Hurley
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly fun, excellent collection of wizard and magic stories. Every one of the stories in here is a good read. My least favorite story was still quite good and my favorites... there are some stories in here that make me excited about writing fiction. Lovely collection.
Averaged out to a 3. Some good, some not. Admittedly skipped a few stories.
Lia Marcoux
Solid short story collection! My only DNFs were George Martin (because it was yucky) and Ysabeau Wilce (because it was unbearable).
Jay Gabler
Thank you Random House for the free book. The late Gardner Dozois curated a wyrd anthology of contemporary fantasy, with standout stories by Liz Williams, Garth Nix, and Andy Duncan.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great range of stories. Standouts for me were Megan Lindholm's Community Service, Garth Nix's The Staff in the Stone, and Kate Elliott's Bloom.
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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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