Dangerous Women edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

Dangerous Women - George R.R. Martin,Gardner R. DozoisUnlike some of the other anthologies I’ve read, this one is so varied in interpretation of the theme and contributors that I couldn’t rate the whole thing as one. Yes, the interpretation of what it means to be a dangerous woman did greatly contribute to my rating. There was one that I couldn’t even finish. Altogether, they averaged a 3.5 star rating, which is what I ended up giving it on other sites.

Here’s the list of stories and the individual ratings I’d give them:

  • Some Desperado  Loved it, just everything
  • My Heart is Either Broken An interesting look at a bereaved mother. Creepy, but captivating.
  • Nora’s Song It was nice to listen to but could have been more to it. Maybe I just didn’t get the dangerousness, though.
  • The Hands That Are Not There Not really about the woman. There’s a dangerous one there, but it’s not about her. Disappointing.
  • Bombshells  Interesting characters. Complicated but not too complicated. Part of a bigger world in the Dresden files.
  • Raisa Stepanova The kind of story I started listening to this for.
  • Wrestling Jesus An interesting story about a boy and his mentor but not as much about the dangerous woman as I would have liked for an anthology with this title. Not my kind of story when it comes to the women, but the relationship between the man and the boy keeps its entertainment value for me.
  • Neighbors  An interesting story with great writing. I don’t get the end in that same “I don’t get how Lost ended” kind of way, but really great writing and it help my attention even though I have no idea what’s really going on.
  • I Know How to Pick’Em I don’t normally do this, but I just couldn’t. Another story that seemed to be more about a man allowing himself to be manipulated and then blaming a woman for what he did. Don’t know if that’s really where it went, but it was getting weird and creepy and I just couldn’t. I almost stopped listening to the whole book on account of it.
  • Shadows for Silence –  I enjoyed it. The dangerous mother-daughter team is pretty awesome and the fantasy setting was interesting, not what I’m used to.
  • A Queen in Exile Based on the true story of Queen Constance of Sicily. Check out her wikipedia page. Dangerous or not, she was definitely a badass. The writing was great and that it was a true story made it even better, like most true stories I’ve read. This was a story that I originally thought of as a 4 star but sat with me long enough after that I had to change the rating by the time I was done with the rest of the book.
  • The Girl in the Mirror  Good but not earth-shattering or enlightening. Fun to listen to.
  • Second Arabesque, Very Slowly Interesting kind of dystopian, sort of like the Mad Max world, but not as insane. There’s a beauty in the idea of the story.
  • City Lazarus This one surprised me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but the end wrapped things up well. I really liked it.
  • Virgins I loved this one. Lots of fun.
  • Hell Hath No Fury –  This is probably my favorite. It combines mysticism and history and wisdom with some bad ass women on all sides of the matter. I wish I could get a whole book for this one. It also uses this amazing Crazy Horse quote.
  • Pronouncing Doom –  This one is pretty awesome. It really teeters on 5 stars, but it wasn’t quite there. Another one that I could read a whole book on.
  • Name the Beast –  Nothing wrong with it but nothing particularly compelling.
  • Caretakers –  Interesting and entertaining, but also not particularly compelling.
  • Lies My Mother Told Me –  This was a ridiculous amount of fun. I love their powers, they’re kind of ridiculous but make total sense. It’s brilliant. I could read a series of these superheroes.
  • The Princess and the  Queen –   I like it. First of all, I love that it was read by Iain Glen. It was the combination of him and the way it is written that got me. The story isn’t written with a point of view character. It’s written like a Westeros history lesson or story  telling around the campfire.  It’s a part of Game of Thrones but it’s lore from way before the series. That makes it interesting in a different way. Still, I don’t particularly like stories that read very “once upon a time in a land far away…” and are fairly detached from the characters. At the same, using Jorah’s voice to narrate gave it that from a storyteller feeling. It’s interesting, but not a favorite.

 

Overall, I just didn’t like the ones where the women weren’t complex or real. By that I mean, I hate stories where women are based on the impression they leave on a male protagonist, stories that promote the idea that some of us have some supernatural power over men, or that the best bad girls control men and make them do their bidding. These women exist solely to torture protagonists and don’t do much on their own. I hate it. A lot. It’s Estella all over again. It’s not even good villainy. I would normally not finish a book that does that, but given that there were so many, I persevered despite some stories being this way. Except that one. I just couldn’t take it anymore. There were several stories that start off sounding that way, that have male protagonists and are taken by the women or whatever and then something makes it so that we see the woman as real or complicated or actually dangerous in her own right. Those were fun.

Altogether it was a good read, well, listen. There were more stories that I like than that I didn’t and a few that I wish had a whole book or series, some that did have series that they were associated with. I had listened to the 32 hours of audiobook and the many narrators. Each story was read by a different narrator and they were all wonderful, some with well known voices.

I got my copy from the library but it can be found at Amazon and  the Book Depository.

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