A hoard of fantasy tales that proves damsels can be as dangerous as dragons.


French (Space Angel, 2019, etc.) and debut editor Craft bring 17 fantasy tales with feminist twists in this sword and sorcery anthology.

A spy in the service of the king returns to her old mercenary guild in order to solve the murders of four female warriors…and to confront her own troubled past. A mute slave working in the dungeons of a shadowy keep meets a priest and agrees to take the condemned man’s sword to his lover, though it means risking her life to cross a vast wilderness. A disabled girl is always the last one picked for games, despite the fact that she is the local princess, until some magic intervenes that turns the tables on all. In this collection of fantasy stories, the old archetypes are inverted and the women and girls who normally lack agency are placed center stage. The tone ranges from light to dark, and some entries even lean toward the hard-boiled-detective genre. One standout is “The Princess and the Dragon” by Robyn Bennis, which concerns a princess trapped in a tower who is conspiring with her dragon guard to win back her kingdom. “If one of those knights realizes it’s all a front,” warns the princess, “they could expose the whole operation.” Another is “Aptitude” by Matt Youngmark; the daughter of servants sneaks into the lord of the manor’s library to read his books only to stumble upon an attempt by a magical elf to rob it. The volume includes work by seasoned fantasists like Jody Lynn Nye, Raven Oak, Connie J. Jasperson, and Katie Cross as well as emerging talents like Edward J. Knight. Not every story is a home run, but the diversity of premises and worlds makes for a delightfully unpredictable reading experience. Though each interprets the anthology’s theme a little differently, this sentiment from Jasperson is representative of the volume’s self-assured, spellcasting ebullience: “Three weeks ago, I was a slave, afraid of shadows. Now I am Thorn Girl, friend of minotaurs and mages. Kerk was right. Inside of me is a woman who can do anything.”

A hoard of fantasy tales that proves damsels can be as dangerous as dragons.

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-944334-26-0

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Clockwork Dragon

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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