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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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This has been released in three shorter paperbacks but I went for the full on hardback version and it did take some getting through. There is a Game of Thrones short story which may well attract people but this is 20 or so short stories with the theme of women not to mess with. They are not all fantasy some are set in the modern day and some in the past. There were some I really liked and some I completely hated, but it would be pointless to name them as we all have different tastes and different views. But they are short enough that you just move on to the next one and start a new experience.
So, like many of these type of books, a bity hit and miss.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 December 2013
‘Dangerous Women’ is a story anthology that consists of 21 stories from which fans will probably be the most interested for one written by George R.R. Martin set in the Westeros world, around the two hundred years before the events described in ‘A Game of Thrones’ describing the Dance of the Dragons, the fierce war between two Targaryens over the Iron Throne.

And while the title of the collection suggests that the theme of included stories are women that make problems, threaten or destroy this is actually not entirely true.

Although reader on the anthology pages is going to meet all kinds of female protagonists that are far from being symbols of perfection or virtuous, most of them are characters that didn't want to leave their fate and lives to others...

What is characteristic of many anthologies especially in situations when they're of different genres - the unevenness of quality- happened in this case as well, resulting with a situation that some of the included stories are of exceptional quality, while there are some others that certainly are not of level that would be expected in such edition.

Also, the short stories as format are not popular with all the readers because they most of the times don't allow the full development of the characters and the reader often wonders why the author didn't made the effort to develop it into a book of novel length.

Personally I like to read short stories and I think that only the skillful writers succeed in this shorter form giving more than the others would manage to deliver on 200 or more pages.

It doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to read continuation or extended version of ‘Raisa Stepanova’ from Carrie Vaughn or Joe Abercrombie's ‘Some Desperado’ that among some others are the best stories in this collection.

Of course, understandable is publisher's decision to try selling few copies more by putting the world-famous name of George R.R. Martin, whose name is highlighted on the cover although besides editing, he wrote only one of its 21 stories.

But don't be afraid, this collection is not only about Martin's story, indeed even though I'm big fan of his works, in my opinion his story is the fourth or fifth ranked by quality, that means that this anthology is well-worth of reading.
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on 15 May 2016
On first impressions, you rather get the impression that George R. R. Martin has been enlisted in this venture as at least part marketing tool. Well, it worked - that's why I bought it.

And so, what of the flagship story; George Martin's novella titled The Princess and the Queen, or the Blacks and the Greens? Well, let's just say that it isn't the highlight of this compendium. I'm not saying that it isn't good (definitely not), and it certainly does what it intends to, but it left me a little ... frustrated. It is written in the style of a transcript, and done well in this sense, but we cover such a rapid and intriguing period of history in just eighty pages, that it feels rather distant. In all honesty, the story relayed could command a lengthy trilogy in its own right, so eighty pages was never going to cut it. I finished the story wondering if this is what it's like reading a synopsis, and in some sense that gave me heart; I now know the shape of the story, but that only makes me want to read the full intoxicating version more. It turns out that the journey is more important than the destination.

Regardless, this is a must read for George R. R. Martin fans, of which I count myself one. I'm glad I picked it up, and I hope George gets the chance to write the full literary version one day. I will certainly pick that up.

But what of the other seven hundred pages? What of the other short story offerings? Well, frankly, they were brilliant.

I have never read a short story collection before, but this has whet my appetite. It was so refreshing to jump from genre to genre, highly enjoyable, and the fact that each tiny morsel had to cut its own literary arc meant that the reading pace left you gasping; you couldn't leave a story unfinished. I really enjoyed this book.

As you may imagine, a book titled Dangerous Women tends to chronicle the activities of women with a talent for trouble; which I find refreshing. However, since reading this, I have looked at a couple of reviews where people complained that the women were not 'warrior elves with hulking great swords and cleavage to pierce your eyes'; but is that really what you want? This collection of stories gives a much wider sphere of female inertia, be it sultry, subtle, or downright kick-ass. There is certainly something for everyone in here, but if you're looking for a single blueprint, you won't get it in every story. But then, why are you buying a collection of short stories in the first place?

So - the highlights. I've had to think hard about this, but I think my favourite story in here is actually Megan Abbott's: My Heart is Either Broken. It is a story in the modern thriller genre, and the female lead cut a very subtle character. But when her claws were bared - and really only very subtly so - it was quite frankly chilling. It's not going to make me rush out and buy a load of psycho thrillers, but it was brilliant.

Closer to home, Brandon Sanderon's piece in here was a thorough delight. I have so far failed to indulge in Brandon's work (though it's definitely on my unwritten list), so I was pleased to get into something of his here. It was modern fantasy at its quintessential best - dark, with great characters, rugged surroundings, and a wonderful definition of the good stuff (magic). This has only served to expedite Brandon's place up my list.

And then, in the magical modern genre, two pieces that particularly stuck out for me are Jim Butcher's Bombshells, and Lies my mother told me, by Caroline Spector. Jim Butcher's work is in the Harry Dresden world, which I have also never delved into, and it was quite excellent. The protagonist had a very real sassy strength to her, and the ease with which Jim melded the mundane and the magical was delightful. Caroline Spector, on the other hand, writes about superheroes - but not as you know them. It's not something I'd ever considered reading before, with a quite incorrect assumption that superheroes came in broadly one flavour. But these unique superheroes (more like mutants) are very far from Marvel, and wonderfully complicated in their own right. My to read list is fleshing out nicely.

Finally, special mentions to other works that particularly tickled me (but in no way lessening the other stories that I very much enjoyed): Raisa Stepanova by Carrie Vaughn, which is a quite brilliant short story about pilots in the second world war; The hands that are not there, a great sci-fi snippet that leaves you wondering; and of course, Joe Abercrombie's Some Desperado, which tells the story of Shy South, the star of Red Country - this is typical Abercrombie.

So, all in all, I highly recommend this book. Highly recommend it. Thanks Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin.
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on 23 December 2013
I love short stories when done properly. Alas, this collection is not one of those times. When I first heard about Dangerous Women, I bought it as fast as I could - an anthology of kickass female characters in fiction AND another GRRM short story? Hell yes, I thought. However I've found most of the stories to be quite dry and uninteresting, and I've found it difficult to read a lot of them all the way through. It was also difficult to bond with any of the characters - they seemed to be two dimensional, with the writers unable to flesh them out quite enough in the pages allowed, with one or two in particular coming to conclusion without really reaching any sort of point and leaving me wondering what on earth I just read and why. Also there are two stories that focus on the stereotype of strippers with hidden agendas luring unsuspecting men into a trap, which doesn't really make me think 'dangerous women'. Melinda Snodgrass' story was one of them - wonderfully written as always, but a predictable premise. The Dance of Dragons short story came across as a summary of events, more of a wikia plot summary than the captivating story you'd expect, which I was really disappointed by.

Short version - there are one or two gems in here but sadly I didn't need to buy the entire tombstone to read them.
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on 17 November 2015
I brought this as there were two stories I really wanted to read, one by Sharon Penman and one by Diana Gabaldon. I wasn't sure about the other stories as I was unfamiliar with the authors, but I really enjoyed all the stories. This is a fabulous collection, the stories were all very well written, and certainly left me wanting to read more by all the authors.
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on 17 January 2016
As with any anthology, there are some more favourable stories than others but a great collection. Something for everyone and it has introduced me to some new authors whose other books I will definitely be checking out. Some of the stories definitely left me wanting more.
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on 1 December 2013
This surprised me as an excellent anthology. It's a collection varying in scale. From the first story, Joe Ambercrombie's "Some Desperado", set in a tiny village. To the final story, George rr Martin's "The Princess and the Queen", covering the entire of his fictional kingdom Westeros, the variety of excellent work to sample here should be acknowledged.
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on 17 August 2015
Anthologies can usually be a bit of a risk (I've been burnt before) but this is one that shows the best elements of the "genre". There are several authors I will be checking out thanks to their samples presented here. I don't think there was a single "bad" story present although there were some that didn't gel with me eg Lev Grossman's tale and Carrie Vaughn. The most pleasant surprises for me were the non-fantasy (or low-key) stories eg Megan Abbot, Lawrence Block and Joe Lansdale. I also need to move Robin Hobb and Jim Butcher further up my reading list - although the Jim Butcher story should have come with a massive spoiler warning as it ruins what I'm sure would have been a massive development in the main series.
In terms of GRRM's instalment (which was the main draw besides the cheap price)it's "ok". It reads a bit more like a well put together wiki overview or a real history which is clearly the intention. While it's a great info dump I can't help but feel how powerful it could have been with GRRM's well known ability for drama. Obviously it'd never have been completed but it almost makes me wonder if some elements of ASOIF could be handed over to other authors in the same way of "wild cards". The book also provided my first taste of Wild Cards and I think that's another series I need to check in on.
The audiobook has to be one of the best produced I've encountered. There are some well known voice actors - some in roles I wouldn't have expected eg Jake Weber who I now would love to see in a noir role. All the narrators were really compelling and it reminds me of how lazy other audiobooks can be at times.
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on 17 May 2016
THIS BOOK CONTAINS A MASSIVE HARRY DRESDEN SPOILER

The description to the book reveals a huge spoiler for anyone who hasn't finished the series. If you're ever considering reading the Dresden files then skip this part entirely, as both the page long editorial and short story itself aren't meant to be read until you have finished the series.

I'm staggered that this wasn't mentioned. How hard would it have been to have included a line saying 'Spoiler ahead- do not read unless you have finished the Dresden files series.'?

Other than that the stories in this book are very good, I've enjoyed most of them and skipped those that I did not enjoy.
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on 2 July 2015
Being an anthology obviously not every story will appeal to every reader, but after thoroughly loving almost every story in the similar 'Rogues' collection and being a huge fan of stories featuring interesting women, I was surprised by how frequently disappointed I was by this collection. The stories I liked, I loved - 'Some Desperado' was a great opener, and 'Raisa Stepanova', 'Bombshells', 'Neighbors', 'Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell', and 'The Girl in the Mirror' really stood out to me. I would have given this five stars if all the stories were as good, but I still say it's worth four stars for how good it can be.

There were a few stories that properly disappointed me, being less about 'dangerous women' and more about the men who wanted to have sex with said women, the tired old 'femme fatale' trope that I hoped this book would avoid - 'Wrestling Jesus' and 'I Know How to Pick 'Em' were particularly bad for this. 'Wrestling Jesus' bored me, frankly, and 'I Know How to Pick 'Em' made me put my Kindle down in disgust after finishing it. There's a persistent theme of sexual violence through a lot of the stories that bothered me.
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