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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

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on 4 January 2017
I love this book. Bought originally for the dunk and egg short story, which for that alone it is worth buying.
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on 27 August 2015
I bought this as a Granny Weatherwax fan. That Pratchett story was fine, but rest not to my taste.
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on 19 March 2017
as advertised and prompt delivery
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on 11 June 2015
great item and looking forward to reading it. Thank you
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on 14 September 2016
as described
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on 5 June 2000
I bought this as there were some authors that I would like to try out. Anne McCaffrey and Tad Williams very disappointing, but good Terry Prattchett and Robert Jordan stories and a brilliant story by George RR Martin.
A must-have for any Prattchet fan (Granny Weatherwax being "nice"!).
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on 4 January 2000
I can't believe no one has written a review of this book yet. I bought it on a whim - being a big fan of both Pratchett and Jordan - and found it difficult to put down. "The Sea and Little Fishes" (Terry Prachett) is about the witches and I found it to be one of his better short stories. "New Spring" (Robert Jordan) provides insights into the relationship between Moiraine and Lan which makes it an essential for all those following the Wheel of Time. The other three stories are by authors whose names I knew (Anne McCaffrey, George R R Martin and Tad Williams) but I had not read any of their work. I found them all fabulous and will definately be looking to read more of their works.
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on 1 December 2000
This book is the sort of thing that will ruin your life. You'll buy it because you like one of the authors Anne McCaffrey for example - and then you'll feel compelled to buy all the books by the other authors. Definitely dangerous to your pocket.
Reviewing the stories; The Terry Pratchett one is about Granny Weatherwax and is excellent, he seems to be better at short stories than books these days, the Pern story by Anne McCaffrey is also good, especially if you've read the rest of them; Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time story details when Lan met Moiraine and is unmissable if you read that series though I'm not too sure how somebody who hasn't read it might feel about it; George R R Martins Song of Ice and Fire story is good but very different in both tone and style to the books. It's set 100 years before and isn't too connected with the series though we get to meet some of the Targaryons; Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thorn story is likewise set over 100 years earlier and is very good.
The first volume ends here but I might as well review volume 2. Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth story...well I don't like that series but the story is better than the first book (the only one I've read.) Likewise for Raymond E Feist. I didn't like the first book, never read any more but this story is creditable, a lot more so than Magician in my opinion. Robert Silverberg's Majipoor story is good, set just after Valentine Pontifex and showing something of the uneasy relationship between Humans and Shapeshifters after the war. Orson Scott Card puts in a good effort with Davy Crockett meeting up with Alvin Maker and Arthur Stuart. Stephen King's Dark Tower story is a bit slow and a bit of a let down in my opinion. Ursula K LeGuin's Earthsea story isn't bad but I never really liked Earthsea (Heresy I know, but there it is.) On the whole, I preferred volume 1
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It's interesting sometimes to see how people's tastes vary, and I'm going to disagree with various of the other reviewers over various of the stories! This edition contains 5 of the 11 novellas that were collected together for the original single volume. As with one of the other reviewers, I bought this for the Pratchett, being a huge fan of his adult Discworld books. Granny Weatherwax is probably my least favourite of his regular main characters, which isn't to say I don't like her. She is, though, a bit of a cardboard cut-out at times. Nevertheless, whilst I wouldn't say this is Pratchett's best work, it's a decent enough tale.

I can never fathom out why the Pern books have never appealed to me, but they never have. The chance to read a Pern story was therefore not unwelcome, since it's here anyway. Unfortunately, if this is anything to go by, I shall never read another. There was far too much dull exposition about the Runners, and the "twist" in tale was so shockingly obvious, it entirely spoilt the rather lame climax. Altogether, rather disappointing from an author of such high repute.

The other 3 authors only started to become names as, or after, I started to lose interest in Fantasy, hit by the double whammy of brick-thick books that were invariably 40%+ padding, and always "First / Next in the stunning new series of..." *yawn* No thanks, not falling for that! Having said that, I have read George Martin; I have his Tuf Voyaging, a collection of SF shorts about the eponymous hero. It's pulp, but enjoyable enough pulp, so I was quite looking forward to this. However, it's written in a very ordinary, colloquial, modern style, intended to be light-hearted & easy-reading, I don't doubt. After struggling to get into their story, I found myself so uninterested by the fate of Dunk & Egg, that I simply never finished it. Perhaps another time...

The stand-out story of the collection is Tad Williams, whom I have never read before. It's a dark tale, told in first person by an old woman of a time in her youth. Williams uses an archaic style of language, which is not always easy to use consistently, but he does it flawlessly throughout. Unlike the Pern story, at no point here did I have the faintest idea what was going to happen next, or how the story would end. I shan't say a thing about the plot, except to say it was excellent, consistent, & believable, throughout, didn't require lots of dull explanation, and didn't leave anything out.

Which brings me to Robert Jordan. He I also have never read, and probably never will again. I know of him as the author of the endless, or possibly interminable, Wheel of Time series. Lord knows how it ever made it to 14 books, judging by this. I found his writing faulty, two horrible pieces of deus ex machina, where characters conveniently turn up not for any good reason, but because the author needs them to be there for the sake of the plot (which is something I loathe; incredibly clumsy & amateur); and an in-built presumption that you would already have read enough WoT to know what the heck was going on. Obviously, I didn't, and only Silverberg's intro gave me any clue at all. This was a bad choice for an anthology like this, particularly since the author must have approved its use. There's a reasonable story in there somewhere, heavily concealed beneath poor authorship.

Rating the authors individually, despite not finishing it, I'd give Martin 2* (it wasn't awful, it just didn't engage me), McCaffery the same (it was dull), and Jordan too (distinctly average pulp that does not make me want to read any more of his work). Pratchett is a solid enough 4*, and Williams obviously a starring 5, which all neatly averages down to 3* overall. If you don't simply buy the complete 11 story edition, this is certainly worth having for the Pratchett & Williams tales. If you are a less critical reader than I, or already a fan of any / all of the other 3 authors, you will surely enjoy their stories more than I did. Whatever the case, it is a book worth having. Now to go & put some Tad Williams on my Wish List...
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on 8 February 2004
This is one half of the orignal legends, the other containing short stories by Raymond E Feist, Stephen King, Terry Goodking, Orson Scott Card, Ursula Le Guin and the editor of the anthology Robert Sliverburg. This volume contains five stories, although the quality is high.
Each author has a short section detailing their works at the date of publication (1998) before their short story.
Terry Pratchett starts the book with The Sea and Little Fishes, a short story featruing Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. A pannel of withces want to stop Granny from entering the Witch Trials, as she always destroys the competition by winning spectaculary. The story is well-writen and very funny. Verdict: 5 Stars
Next comes The Runner of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. Not a reader of science fiction, I found this tale to be the worst in the book. It felt a bit patched togehter. Verdict: 2 Stars
The book's second masterpiece is George R R Martin's The Hedge Knight (soon to be realeased in graphic novel format). The tale is set around a century before the events of A Game of Thrones. It is very well writen and sometimes quite humourous as it descibes a Hedge Knight, Dunk and his squire, Egg. Verdict: 5 Stars
Tad Williams adds an extra episode to his slow-moving Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. The Burning Man shows none of the slowness that plauged the first book of the trilogy. Verdict: 4 Stars
Finally we come to New Spring by Robert Jordan (recently released in an extended prequel to Jordan's series). The story is actually writen quite well, and features the stlye of Jordan's earlier books. A nice addition to a long-fading series that helped to boost fantasy interest to its current height. Verdict: 3 Stars
Overall, this half of legends is a good anthology. The two stand-outs are the stories from George R R Martin and Terry Pratchett. (The Hedge Knight returns in Legends 2), with Anne McCaffrey being the least powerful story.
I would recommend this book, as well as its other half and the sequel. It does use some mainstream and/or bad authors, but the good outweights the bad.
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