cover image The Book of Dragons

The Book of Dragons

Edited by Jonathan Strahan. Harper Voyager, $35 (576p) ISBN 978-0-06-287716-1

There is not a single false note among these 29 stories and poems of dragons collected by Strahan (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year, editor). Strahan’s passion for the mythological creatures is infectious and evident in his selections, which draw from many different myths and cultures, and paint portraits of dragons ranging from terrifying to heroic, even metaphorical. With “Cut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz,” Garth Nix provides a clever quest for a dragon’s horde, while Brooke Bolander craftily marries high fantasy, climate fiction, and organized crime in “Where the River Turns to Concrete.” Among the more emotional tales are Sarah Gailey’s “We Don’t Talk About the Dragon,” a powerful portrait of familial dysfunction, and R.F. Kuang’s “The Nine Curses River,” about sisters facing the painful prospect of becoming a sacrifice. “Lucky’s Dragon” by Kelly Barnhill joyously embraces the connection between a young girl and the dragon she accidentally adopts when her science project goes awry, while the protagonist of Patricia A. McKillip’s “Camouflage” envisions a very different magical school experience. The dragons inhabiting J.Y. Yang’s otherworldly planets in “The Exile” are poetically alien, while those of Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky’s “We Continue” function as a hive mind. With myriad approaches to its subject, this wide-ranging anthology is a treasure trove of wonder. (July)