Dangerous Women – Edited by George R. R. Martin

About the Book

The Dangerous Women anthology contains following stories:

– Introduction by Gardner Dozois
– “Some Desperado” by Joe Abercrombie – A Red Country story
– “My Heart is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott
– “Nora’s Song” by Cecelia Holland
– “The Hands That Are Not There” by Melinda Snodgrass
– “Bombshells” by Jim Butcher – A Harry Dresden story
– “Raisa Stepanova” by Carrie Vaughn
– “Wrestling Jesus” by Joe R. Lansdale
– “Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm
– “I Know How to Pick ’Em” by Lawrence Block
– “Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell” by Brandon Sanderson
– “A Queen in Exile” by Sharon Kay Penman
– “The Girl in the Mirror” by Lev Grossman – A Magicians story
– “Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress
– “City Lazarus” by Diana Rowland
– “Virgins” by Diana Gabaldon – An Outlander story
– “Hell Hath No Fury” by Sherilynn Kenyon
– “Pronouncing Doom” by S.M. Stirling – An Emberverse story
– “Name the Beast” by Sam Sykes
– “Caretakers” by Pat Cadigan
– “Lies My Mother Told Me” by Caroline Spector – A Wild Cards story
– “The Princess and the Queen” by George R.R. Martin – A Song of Ice and Fire story

This book was provided for me to review by the publisher. 

Published on December 3, 2013
Published by Tor

George R. R. Martin’s name is a powerful one. I think we’d all be fools not to realize that his name is the reason why many people will read this anthology, but those people will soon realize that he’s not the only reason this anthology should be read. All Martin really has to do is look in the general direction of authors and they will flock to his side. With Dangerous Women he’s used the power of his name to gather together some incredibly hard-hitting, very well known (for good reason), powerhouse authors.

Anthologies tend to be hit or miss by nature. More than that, anthologies seem to have a hard time selling. A lot of readers don’t want short stories, they want novels full of details and plenty of space for characters and worlds to grow and develop. Short stories just don’t have that room, and so a lot of readers pass on them. They just don’t scratch our itches. In this respect, Dangerous Women is no different. Perhaps the only real difference is that many of these stories take place in already established worlds, or involve already established characters (Like Shy in Joe Abercrombie’s story, “Some Desperado”). That being said, they are still stories, and that will either please or displease readers. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Dangerous Women spans the gamut of the genre. Some stories are fantasy, some are SciFi, some are urban and some are historical. It’s a real hodgepodge collection that, in my humble opinion, was smart of Martin. It shows strong women in a range of genres, and handled by authors of various stripes, with diverse talents. Strong women are in all genres, not just fantasy, and I applaud Martin for including all genres in his anthology. Furthermore, I also applaud Martin and the authors in the anthology for showing strong women in numerous roles. Not all women show their strength by holding a knife. For example, in “The Queen in Exile” by Sharon Kay Penman, a well known historical fiction author, the protagonist Constance has a quieter, more subtle form of strength, but the story is shockingly powerful despite that.

Dangerous Women opens with a story by Joe Abercrombie, a noted and well-known grimdark fantasy author, called “Some Desperado” and, in the anthology, this is the story that probably sticks out to me the most. Sam Sykes story “Name the Beast” shows all the things I love about him as an author – he’s bold, and dark, but his writing is haunting and his characters are incredibly real and memorable. Lev Grossman is an author who is always a delight to read, and his story “The Girl in the Mirror” will remind his tried and true fans why he’s such an incredible author. “Bombshells” by Jim Butcher was good enough to make me want to give his books another try.

Then you get the stories from authors whose books I’ve never read, like “Raisa Septanova” by Carrie Vaughn, “Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm, and “Lies My Mother Told Me” by Caroline Spector. These are stories that make me hungry to read the books these authors have written. The thing is, that’s what short stories should do. They should reach out and grab the reader and make them hungry for more, and that’s exactly what almost every story in this anthology does. They make me want to expand my genre horizons and see what else is out there.

That might also be where the anthology’s greatest downfall is. It spans a wide range of styles and caters to a ton of different tastes. I enjoy sampling all of the different styles the genre has to offer, but not everyone does. Some readers might find Dangerous Women to be too disjointed. They might think that the theme, “dangerous women” doesn’t unify the stories enough. Truthfully, there’s not only a wide range of writing styles here, but there’s just as many different strong, capable, and dangerous women in this anthology. Not every “dangerous women” is physically dangerous, either. Some of the characters are quieter, and their strength is subtler. While I ate this anthology up, the diversity will probably be off-putting to some who might prefer more unified content.

That being said, with a list of authors as well known, and as well loved as those in this anthology, there will be something here for anyone.


4/5 stars

P.S. You might be thinking, “Hey, Sarah, you haven’t mentioned anything George R. R. Martin wrote yet.” You’re right. The reason is because I haven’t read anything he has in this anthology yet. Not because I don’t want to, but because I won’t let myself read anything he wrote until I finish reading A Dance With Dragons and I can’t review what I haven’t read.

3 Responses

  • I can’t wait for this one to arrive. So many authors I love have stories in this one, usually anthologies have more unknown than known to me. Gah, where is my copy.

    • I hope you get it soon. The book is HUGE, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this impressed by an anthology before.

  • I love mixing styles and genres and such when reading anthologies – plus its such an awesome way to break outside your box even if you’re still staying within your genre box so to speak. I really hope to get my hands on this and find time to read it sometime!

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