A review by ejpass
The Book of Dragons, by Jonathan Strahan


4/5 stars
Recommended for people who like:
anthologies, dragons, short stories

This isn't a bad anthology, in fact, I liked pretty much every story I read from it. It is, however, a large anthology, clocking in at over 500 pages and each story is dedicated to one subject: dragons. I think if the anthology were shorter or had a more ambiguous theme (i.e., death, the end of the world, fairytales, etc.) I would've been able to finish it, but as it is I did start to get bored dealing with dragons about halfway through. Also, some of the short stories are quite long for an anthology.

I might come back to this some day, but I think for now I have to DNF it.

What Heroism Tells Us: Jane Yolen
4/5 stars

Yolen gives us a nice poem to start the anthology. I like how it offers different ideas of heroism.

Matriculation:: Elle Katherine White
4/5 stars

I liked the steampunk-fantasy elements of the story. The world was interesting and I liked how much the magic was entrenched into everything. The ending was kind of sad.

Hikayat Sri Bujang, or, the Tale of the Naga Sage: Zen Cho
4/5 stars

I thought this one was kind of funny. I liked the image of a dragon sage commuting to and from home and his spiritual mountain. I wasn't really a fan of the rest of his family, but I suppose Sri Bujang was fairly in his own head as well, so it balances out.

Yuli: Daniel Abraham
4/5 stars

Abraham did something interesting with this one by switching between a hardened mercenary and the dialogue of boys playing DnD. I liked how the two mirrored each other and, despite having the two storylines, I couldn't predict the ending.

A Whisper of Blue: Ken Liu
5/5 stars

Liu has a way of writing that is both beautiful and heartbreaking. I liked the little dragons and how the story focuses on how different people perceive them. The ending was bittersweet and a little bit like dull horror, but it fits.

Nidhog: Jo Walton
4/5 stars

The rhyme was good, but I'm not sure what the rhythm was supposed to be and that threw me off.

Where the River Turns to Concrete: Brooke Bolander
5/5 stars

This one is similar to Yuli. I liked the switch between past and present. Joe's story definitely kept me on my toes and the ending felt right for the story, but also like there was still plenty of potential for more.

Habitat: K.J. Parker
5/5 stars

This story is fairly humorous, all things considered. The narrator has a light and easy way of looking at things, even when they would otherwise be grim. I also love Parker's take on how dragons reproduce/repopulate. It's an interesting idea and one I haven't seen before.

Pox: Ellen Klages
5/5 stars

This was a very sweet story where a young girl gets to go adventuring in San Francisco with her aunt and her aunt's friend (possibly girlfriend). The little girl is obsessed with dragons and the story goes to describe the different 'dragons' you can see in the city. I also liked the hints of magic that we get.

The Nine Curves River: R.F. Kuang
5/5 stars

This story offers an interesting look at sisterhood and monsters. It talks around the main event for a bit before getting into it. There's a good twinge of regret and rage along with introspection.

Lucky's Dragon: Kelly Barnhill
5/5 stars

This one was pretty funny. I liked Mrs. Hollins a lot, and the other scientists. The science teacher was a bit intense, but it meshed well with the story. Barnhill's foreshadowing was good too. The ending reminded me a bit of Liu's story.

Make Myself a Dragon: Beth Cato
4/5 stars

Good poem, went a direction I wasn't expecting.

The Exile: J.Y. Yang
4/5 stars

Another one that went a direction I wasn't expecting. I liked the sci-fi nature of this one and the focus on terraforming and what constitutes life. The story also makes a good statement on choice and government and free will.

Except on Saturdays: Peter S. Beagle
3.5/5 stars

This was well-written, but it was kind of weird in a way I don't really like. It was an interesting dragon myth though.