The trouble with story collections

I don’t mind reading story collections, but they can be troublesome if I want to write a review about them. Do I give comments about each story or do I give a more general overview of the quality and themes of the stories? One does want to prevent repeating oneself and as I try not to spoil a short story can contain too little that I can’t say more than one or two general sentences about them. So I am always in doubt if I want to write a review or not. It’s easier when it’s a story collection from one author, because that gives you some space to tell more. When you have an anthology of many authors it is much harder. An example of this is a recent acquisition: Songs Of The Dying Earth (2009), a story collection in honor of Jack Vance. Over 20 stories and different authors with a somewhat unique difference. All of the stories take place in the same universe created by Jack Vance. In that way they are connected and also because the authors aim to present a story ‘like Jack Vance’ which provides some measure to which I can write a possible review. I am a big Jack Vance fan, so it doesn’t require special effort for me. At the moment I am still unsure if I will write a review for this book or not.

Next to this story collection I purchases two other novels. One is The Rose Of Dekama (1836) by Jacob van Lennep, a historical novel set in mediaevil Holland. Jacob van Lennep is called the Dutch Walter Scott as he wrote many romantic historical novels. Of course in that period this was a big genre. The Rose Of Dekama is actually one of the few novels by Van Lennep that have been translated into English.

Last up is an epic fantasy novel, King’s Dragon (1997) by Kate Elliott, the first book of the Crown Of Stars series. I have seen the series around for some years, but deemed it to be too mainstream to pick it up immediately. At the local second hand bookstore I found a good copy of the first novel for a good price so I decided to try it out. If it is good enough I will pick up the other novels. One can’t always read the best if one wants to keep reading, so I don’t mind doing a bit of mainstream (if the novel proves to as I expected) series once in a while if it is written well enough to entertain me.

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