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The Book of Witches, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Review copy provided by the publisher. Several authors published herein are friends or cordial professional acquaintances.

Jonathan Strahan knows how to put together an anthology. I mean, you might think, he ought to by now, he’s done enough of them! But sometimes repetition solidifies bad habits rather than good, and that is not the case here. The focus is broad enough to allow for a wide range of stories but narrow enough that it’s interesting as an anthology topic and can draw out worthwhile stories authors might not otherwise have sat down to write. The stories have an admirable range of subject, tone, style, setting, and cultural background. Basically this is a case study for how to do a well-constructed anthology.

I don’t think there was a dud in this mix, but several standouts–each very different from the other–included P. Djeli Clark’s “What I Remember of Oresha Moon Dragon Devshrata,” “Catechism for Those Who Would Find Witches” by Kathleen Jennings, “So Spake the Mirrorwitch” by Premee Mohamed, Emily Y. Teng’s “The Cost of Doing Business,” and the beautiful finale to the book, “John Hollowback and the Witch,” by Amal El-Mohtar. Here you will find good witches, bad witches, morally conflicted witches, witchhunters of every stripe, modern witches, postmodern witches, fairy tale witches, secondary world witches and witches from all around our globe. If you like fantasy short fiction, unless you actively dislike witches in every form and possibly even then, I think you’ll find something to love in this.

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