Review: Epic: Legends of Fantasy edited by John Joseph Adams

February 18, 2013 5 stars, Book Review 2 ★★★★★

Pabkin’s One Liner: A better way to get acquainted with the genre, I cannot think of!


From the creation myths and quest sagas of ancient times to the megapopular fantasy novels of today, this quintessential anthology of epic fantasy is adventurous storytelling at its best. With rich and vibrant world building, readers are transported to antiquated realms to witness noble sacrifices and astonishing wonders. Gathering a comprehensive survey of beloved stories from the genre, this compilation includes stories by such luminaries as George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robin Hobb, and Tad Williams. Inspiring and larger-than-life, these tales offer timeless values of courage and friendship in the face of ultimate evil and express mankind’s greatest hopes and fears.

Epic was a perfect title choice because that is exactly what this anthology was! If you’ve never read an epic fantasy -these are some of the best fantasy authors in the business and one exquisite sampling indeed.

Homecoming by Robin Hobb
This one was the whole package for me. It has self discovery, exile into the unknown, death, madness, a sunken city, a touch of magic, heaps of treasure and of course love. The character Carillion starts out with the kind of personally that I loathed but I went with her on a journey that completely changes almost everything about the person she once was. A most excellent start to this anthology.

The Word of Unbinding by Ursula K. Le Guin
An extremely short read of barely 7 pages, yet it managed to keep my rapt attention from the first and tell a complete tale. This is a real wizard!

The Burning Man by Tad Williams
Wonderfully descriptive, I did enjoy it though the story dragged at times and didn’t seem to capture my interest entirely. It took a long while to get to the point of the tale.

As the Wheel Turns by Aliette de Bodard
Achingly sad and very effective at connecting the reader to the heroine. The atmosphere was so well done that I fled to a better lighted room to escape the darkness her tormentors made her feel. I can’t wait to read more by this author!

The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi
A world I could fully imagine and immerse myself into. The Alchemist was so well thought out, I couldn’t even begin to guess what was going to happen. I will definitely be picking up one of his books! I love the relationship between the father and daughter!

Sandmagic by Orson Scott Card
A fatalistic journey caused by the violence of men and ended by the vengeance of another. It was saddening yet still very entertaining.

The Road to Levinshir by Patrick Rothfuss
Hands down the best short story I’ve ever read. It felt so real it brought tears to my eyes. I totally fell for this hero! *swoon* One of the last scenes I believe could be interpreted to speak volumes about the death penalty.

Rysn by Brandon Sanderson
At only 8 pages I felt this was more like a scene out of a short story, rather than a story itself. It definitely did hint at a world that I would love to visit again but I didn’t quite connect with the characters like I usually do with this author’s work.

While the Gods Laugh by Michael Moorcock
A quest filled with action, adventure monsters, a beautiful woman and a tormented anti-hero. One thing for sure something was always happening. I’m really curious now to read the series this comes from. Bring it on albino warrior!

Mother of All Russiya by Melanie Rawn
A very engaging story. I loved the extra bit at the end of the story telling the reader about the historical facts. Beware a mother’s wrath!

Riding the Shore of the River of Death by Kate Elliott
A world worth visiting again, this ended in a way I completely didn’t expect! So well written you can’t help but sympathize. Just what lengths would you go to in order to escape a fate you don’t want? And would you sacrifice someone you love to achieve that?

Bound Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
A warrior, a mother, torn out of her time and thrust into another. Thoroughly enjoyable but lacked some indefinable thing for me that would have made it great rather then good.

The Narcomancer by N.K. Jemisin
One of my favorites in this anthology. Loved it, seriously, just read it OK?!! I ache for Cet and the internal struggle he goes through. It manages at the end to be both sad and uplifting.

Strife Lingers in Memory by Carrie Vaughn
Is a hero turned King still great if he has weaknesses? If he is haunted by fear and phantoms of his own mind? Here we learn the price of victory and all the possible spoils that come with it.

The Mad Apprentice by Trudi Canavan
Why does the abused so often submit to the hand of their abuser? I was so torn between loving and hating this story. Mostly because I believe in the fight, and that all of us should have some fight in us. Maybe that’s just the soldier in me…

Otherling by Juliet Marillier
Eerie, sad, lonely and so wrong in some ways but when all of these things came together they literally sang! But then it is about a Bard.

The Mystery Knight by George R.R. Martin
I’m not heavily in the Martin camp. I enjoy Song of Ice and Fire as much as the next person but I would have enjoyed this more if it really were a short story unto itself.

Tabitha the Pabkins

Epic: Legends of Fantasy

Find: Amazon | BD |Goodreads
Follow: Website | Twitter

• This book was personally purchased. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

Stalk me!

Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
Stalk me!

Latest posts by Tabitha (Pabkins) (see all)

2 Responses to “Review: Epic: Legends of Fantasy edited by John Joseph Adams”

  1. [email protected]

    This seems like a great way to meet some new authors. I’ve been curious about Robin Hobbs her books for such a long time, so reading a short story might be the best way to see her writing-style. The same for Patrick Rothfuss. I see a lot of familiar names of authors I have on my wish list or TBR pile and I can’t wait to read Juliet Marilliers short story. I adore her books. She is a magician when it comes to writing. Thanks for sharing this and I’m going to check it out! 😀

    • Pabkins

      The Robin Hobb one was soo good. The Patrick Rothfuss one too. I loved this anthology, definitely worth checking out!