brewergnome's review

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4.0

An excellent collection. I enjoyed all the stories, and some of them were truly excellent!

emmapetersen_'s review

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4.0

4*

It feels odd to rate a book where I know a few of the authors - some personally and some only by name. But anyway! This was a good read. All the short stories are very different and very diverse and that's refreshing. I definitely found a few new female heroes in this one!

peregrineace's review

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3.0

Very mixed story quality.

captainsparklefists's review

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2.0

2.5 if you squint. Some high points, especially in the later half, but a lot of these stories are only sort of average.

morgandhu's review

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4.0

Athena's Daughters, edited by Jean Rabe, is another in the growing list of sff anthologies featuring short fiction with a focus on women as the protagonists - an anthology described in its Introduction as "completely written, illustrated, and edited by strong, competent women—about strong, competent women." Like a number of other recent projects aimed at providing a venue for the publication of underrepresented voices and stories about women, people of colour, queer authors, and other marginalised peoples, Athena's Daughters was crowdfunded. The publishers, the creative collective Silence in the Library, have announced a companion anthology, Apollo's Daughters (short stories featuring female protagonists written by men) and a second volume in the Athena's Daughters series.

I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of the stories in the anthology. My most favourite selections included:

Mary Robinette Kowal's First Flight, about a woman who travels a very long way to witness the firsts flights at Kity Hawk;

Commando Bats by Sherwood Smith, in which three elderly women are granted heroic abilities of a sort by the goddess Hera;

The Songbird's Search by C. A. Verstraete, featuring a travelling wise woman who takes on the task of showing two young women with incredible power how to control and use that power wisely and well;

Cynthia Ward's Whoever Fights Monsters, which brings together elements of Bram Stoker's Dracula and the murders committed by the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper, with hints of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond;

Millie by Janine K. Spendlove, which addresses one of the greatest aerial mysteries of the 20th century;

Vicki Johnson-Steger's Burly and Cavendish Blend, a steampunk tale which features a protagonist delightfully reminiscent of Indiana Jones and a plot interwoven with Egyptian antiquities (and, unfortunately, a lot of unexplored colonialism and Orientalism, which I must acknowledge even as I enjoy reading it);

Jennifer Brozek's Janera, which is not really a story, but the opening chapter to a YA sf novel that Brozek has not yet published. I hope she does so soon, because both situation and protagonist grabbed me instantly. It's a "lost heir" story, but so far, it's a really good one.

Maggie Allen's "Lunar Camp" is reminiscent of the Heinlein juveniles of my youth, with young kids having adventures and finding their inner courage when tested. And that's a good thing. Here, Bee loves plants and doesn't want to spend her summer away from them - but when she's tested during an emergency, she forms bonds that make her realise there are things for her to learn and enjoy even on the moon.


tregina's review

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2.0

I really wanted to love this, I did, because the idea of the anthology is so solid and I wanted it to be excellent. And there were a couple of real highlights, but they just weren't enough to bring the average up. A lot of the stories just had too much clumsy exposition or not enough narrative drive, and a surprising number were parts of a larger story that didn't entirely stand on their own. Worth it for the good ones, but I was hoping for so much more.

menshevixen's review

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4.0

A fun, diverse anthology.
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