Top positive review
Legends are not born, they are written.
on February 12, 2003
Robert Silverberg's idea to collect short stories and novellas from some of this era's most notable and talented Fantasy authors is pure cream-filled joy for fans of the Genre. Despite having read the pertinent series by Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, and Orson Scott Card, this book opened up new worlds to explore and new chapters in some of my favorite series.
My favorites were the ones by King, Williams, Silverberg, Feist, and McCaffrey. I have lost all interest in Terry Goodkind mostly because I find his characters to be wooden and uninteresting, and this story was no more compelling than the last book of his that I read. Goodkind also has a penchant for the "gotcha" ending, something that is frustrating to any reader who struggles to find logical connections between events and character motivation.
The best of this book, however, is The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin. I had never heard of Martin when I picked up Legends, and the first thing I did after finishing The Hedge Knight was to go pick up his novel "A Game of Thrones." Thanks to this book, I am now a fan of what may be the best epic fantasy series ever written, and yes, that includes Tolkien, Goodkind, and Jordan. The Hedge Knight is a simple tale of a young man recently knighted trying to make a name for himself in a tournament. The plain and honest style of Martin's prose hooks you in, and suddenly you care very deeply about this hedge knight, Dunk, and what is to become of him as he runs afoul of a vain and dangerous prince. Set approximately 100 years prior to the events that begin in "A Game of Thrones," this tale is a wonderful introduction to Martin's Westeros and the rich mythology and history he has built into it.
I was also intrigued by Feist's The Wood Boy, a tale that, for all it's positioning and setting as a chapter in a tale of strange alien invaders, is about nothing more complex than human nature and the compulsions that make us what we are as a species. Silverberg's Majipoor is also a very intriguing world, and I will be investigating it in the future.
Terry Pratchett's entry is also a key one, showing that not all fantasy need to be deadly serious or take itself very seriously at all. Pratchett almost recalls Douglas Adams' contributions to Science Fiction.
I think most Fantasy fans will be very happy with this book, largely becuase it is not a one-trick pony. There's something in here for every fan of the genre. Are you into fantastic worlds of extremes and mythology? Try Majipoor. Do you like to read tales that chill you and freeze your blood? The little sisters of Eluria are your ticket. Curious about an America that might have been? Orson Scott Card is yor man. Into knights and jousting, intrigue and politics? Martin and Jordan are for you. You can hardly go wrong buying this book, because if even one of the stories catches your interest, there's a new author for you to love. Thank you, Robert Silverberg.