BOOK REVIEW: DANGEROUS WOMEN PART 3 / AUTHOR: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: TOR BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Commissioned by George RR Martin, and edited along with sci-fi author Gardner Dozois, comes the third in the Dangerous Women series. Made up of seven short stories, and introduced by Doziois, who provides a historical, mythological and pop culture context which stresses the importance of women in wartime in particular.
Despite the book selling itself on Joe Abercrombie’s ‘all-new’ story Some Desperado, itself based on his Red Country novel, it’s utterly underwhelming. The dreary prose is far from the sparse, stripped-back style he’s been lauded with, instead loaded with just as many tropes and pitfalls as any David Eddings’ novel. It’s not without charm, and for Abercrombie fans this’ll be reason enough to pick up a copy.
Diana Rowland’s City Lazarus is a strong entry, with tight description which flirts with noir. A crime thriller pumped up by Rowlands real-life detective and mortuary experience, and it shows. Though nothing you won’t have already read in a Patricia Cornwall novel, it’s a smart and sassy story with a deadly sting in the tale.
Melinda Snodgrass’ The Hands That Are Not There is the strongest of the bunch. A space opera with plenty of substance, Snodgrass makes good on her time as story editor for Star Trek: The Next Generation, giving us an intuitive sci-fi world filled with fascinating characters.
Jim Butcher’s Bombshells is spun out of his popular Dresden Files series and, following the death of main man Harry Dresden, focusses on his spunky protégé, Molly. She’s easily the most compelling character in the collection, with plenty of light relief amidst the supernatural crime.
Pat Cadigan’s Caretakers is the most effortlessly enjoyable story, with the sisters’ interaction beautifully integrated into the plot. It’s witty, though desperately and distractingly modern. Cecelia’s Holland’s Nora’s Song is a pleasant if dull historical short, but the weakest of the seven is, by far and away, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Hell Hath No Fury, a syrupy paranormal romance based ‘on a true legend.’
Dangerous Women Part 3 is a noble effort from some of the genre’s heavy hitters and while gathering together some of the most popular authors in their fields, the collection falls flat, with the majority of the stories, and their protagonists, sadly, forgettable.
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