Spells and Swashbucklers by Valerie Griswold-Ford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If I had stopped reading this anthology about halfway through, I would have described it as a solid but unexceptional collection of stories - only one or two duds, but nothing that particularly grabbed my attention, either, with the exception of A.D.R. Forte's "The Goddess Clause," which had a very satisfying fleshed-out fairytale feel. Right about "William Did" (Erik Amundsen), though - the terrible pun-ness / rhyming-ness of the title and content notwithstanding - the quality of the stories takes an upturn. The remaining stories in the anthology are in general much richer, with some inventive worlds and unusual circumstances.
In general, I think this anthology suffers from the fact that many of these stories feel like - and in a handful of cases, actually are - sequels, but they don't quite satisfy as they are. The strongest stories are those that contain a complete arc, including the chilling "The Vengeance Garden" (Laurel Anne Hill).
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