Lisa's Reviews > Sword & Mythos

Sword & Mythos by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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's review
May 23, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: sff, horror

4.5 stars

In this vibrant anthology, horizons shift at the turn of a page. I loved the variety of locales and cultures. As I read, I found myself sorting the stories into two categories: romps and plots. The "romps" were episodes of discovery or battle, whereas the "plots" told fuller stories. (since I'm not well-versed in sword & sorcery or mythos, this categorization is definitely a YMMV thing)

Among the romps, "Black Caesar: The Stone Ship Rises" by Balogun Ojetade was easily my favorite, a thrilling combination of what the author calls steamfunk and sword & soul. A black superhero, his adoring warrior wife, their supernaturally precocious baby girl, top-hatted robots...this story had everything I didn't know I wanted. Other standouts are Graham Darling's "Jon Carver of Barzoon, You Misunderstood" and "The Bones of Heroes" by Orrin Grey, both of which, in just a few pages, completely subvert their source material.

Of the plots, my favorite was "Truth Is Order and Order Is Truth" by Nadia Bulkin, a shrewdly told-tale of contested royalty and empire building where the power is not at all where it appears to be. I loved that the narrator, a deposed princess, endures a grueling trek with her devoted followers, sharing their trials but keeping her own counsel. Other standouts were "And After the Fire, A Still Small Voice" by E. Catherine Tobler and "Spirit Forms of the Sea" by Bogi Takács. Both featured a complicated relationship between an older and younger main character, as well as a strong sense of the narrator's history as only one of many cultures in flux.

The one sour note for me was "The Call of the Dreaming Moon" by Thana Niveau. I couldn't tell if the setting was supposed to be Southwest Native American or Andean. A certain lack of specificity (and the repeated use of the word "tribe") made me think these were generic "Indians" that the story idea--a good one--had been grafted onto.

Also included are several essays regarding connections between sword and sorcery and other genres, as well as S&S in Mexican pop culture. These were a very welcome bonus for a newbie to the genre like me.

I backed the Indiegogo for this anthology, and I'm so glad I did.
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Reading Progress

May 23, 2014 – Started Reading
May 23, 2014 – Shelved
June 18, 2014 –
page 280
88.61%
June 18, 2014 – Shelved as: sff
June 18, 2014 – Shelved as: horror
June 18, 2014 – Finished Reading

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