deadgoodbookreviews's review

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Full review and more up on my blog:



I mean. I have reviewed quite a few anthologies this year, all of which tend to have some kind of theme and this was the first one where that theme called to me 100%. It’s no secret that I adore female characters and stories that are women centric. This was a wonderful addition to my reading schedule and I need everyone to read it.

I have to add that this is a fabulously diverse collection as well. It’s clear that the editors have considered an intersectional approach which is another thing an anthology like this needs to have.

My favourite story of the whole collection, and one which I cannot stop talking about, is the first story: Seanan McGuire “Riding Ever Southward, In the Company of Bees”. Imagine Mad Max: Fury Road but instead of fast cars, explosions and chastity belts (I laughed so hard at that part of the film. Chastity belts- pah!) it’s bees! It’s the most wonderful concept and the writing is phenomenal and I cannot fathom how it is not an entire book for me to devour at once!

There are some other wonderful stories in there too, there’s an elderly circle of knitters who…let’s just say have more potential than they think, there are epic shootouts and Cleopatra retellings. Not every story is a winner, as is true of pretty much every anthology, but there are definitely more good stories than there are bad ones.

Normally at the end of an anthology I breath a sigh of relief, finally finished. With this one I found myself begging for more. I’m going to have to look up each and every one of these authors and read everything they’ve ever written. Oh my poor TBR!

My rating: 4/5 stars

By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

utopiastateofmind's review

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I loved the fiction in this anthology and the idea behind it - to embrace our more powerful emotions, but it lost me in the other pieces of writing - such as the biographies. Maybe if it had been more organized, I totally understand the reasons behind it, but it was just a little stop and start to have larger pieces of fiction then small biographies

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

stackwoodlibrary's review

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I'll call this Mostly Read - and I'll likely go back over time & finish all the stories. Anthologies can be tough to rate/review, but I like the premise, many of these authors are faves, and I got it from my library. How terrific is that?

theknightswhosaybook's review

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*I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

This rating is the average of all the ratings I assigned for the individual stories (and those ratings varied widely. I had some of each star ranking, from one to five, with most being about 3).

A few notes to begin with:
The blurb notes that the anthology contains "approximately 20 meaningful stories". There are actually thirty pieces here, and they include short biographies of historical women, creative nonfiction, and scifi/fantasy short stories. I didn't realize that going in, so I was caught off guard to suddenly be reading basically an except from a textbook about Harriet Tubman when I thought this was a fiction anthology.
I wouldn't have minded these nonfiction bits so much, once I got used to them, except that the biographies tended to be, well, boring. They weren't written to be detailed, so if you already know about these women (and I had read about most of them before, in more detail) they don't offer anything new. They also weren't written to tell their histories in entertaining ways; they were simply dry. Again, they might offer more interest to a reader who hadn't studied any of these women before, but I didn't find them interesting.
The creative nonfiction pieces were more promising, and I did enjoy some of them.

I won't review each short story individually here — just check my status updates on the book for the thoughts I left as I finished each one. As an overall review, I will say that they varied widely in quality. Some were original and well-written, others felt like something I'd read plenty of times before, and still others were wildly creative but written with no skill or explanation for anything (*cough* shapeshifting half-snake dragon-riding Cleopatra *cough*). Maybe it was just that I was reading it as an ebook (not my favorite book form), but the book seemed to crawl by at a snail's pace. If I were in the editor's place, I would have severely cut the book down. Plenty of these stories deserved to be weeded out.

The book has strongish bent toward diversity and representation, which it should as a self-proclaimed feminist anthology, but I probably wouldn't read it specifically seeking representation. For example, while there were a few stories about gay women, I can't think of a single one that ended with both of those women alive (while plenty of male-female couples survived intact to the ends of their stories).

Rather than end on a negative note, I'll pick out my favorite pieces here so everyone can bask in their glory.

Riding Ever Southward, in the Company of Bees by Seanan McGuire: in a dystopia where bees are all but extinct, guarded caravans of the last surviving hives cross the country to sell pollination for a profit.
A Wasteland of My God's Own Making by Bradley P. Beaulieu: a gifted warrior is tortured by the hunger of a god trapped inside her, punishment for a childhood mistake.
She Keeps Crawling Back by Delilah S. Dawson: a young woman arrives in a New York City ravaged by giant crocodiles and even huger killer robots and befriends a trainer with a haunted past — but neither women is exactly as they seem.
The Unlikely Turncoat by Michael R. Underwood: a genre-hopping secret agent must prevent a tear in the very fabric of the universe by thwarting a betrayal in Cold War-era Copenhagen.
This Is Not Another "Why Representation Is Important" Essay by Monica Valentinelli: the only creative nonfiction piece to make it onto my favorites list, and a good start for explaining the movement for diverse books to people who havn't thought about it much