Review – Fearsome Magics edited by Jonathan Strathan

Posted: October 15, 2014 in Fantasy
Tags: , , , ,

A sick ten month old and some truly disturbed sleep has keep me on the short story path this week but what an interesting journey it’s proving to be. Delving into another of Solaris’ anthologies, this time Fearsome Magics I read two stunning tales by two authors I will definitely be keeping an eye out for in the future.


The first story I read was Safe House by K.J. Parker, a fantasy tale with an intriguing, magical setting. It’s a tale that twists and turns through a post-war landscape of magicians, weaving around the ‘safe house’ and what it means to the world Parker has created. Transported here, we’re quickly introduced to the Studium and one of its adepts, on a mission to find a natural magician who may be under persecution by the local, less-than-friendly-to-wizard population.

It’s a wonderful piece of writing, packed full of humour and told in the voice of a brilliant character. The story unravels the world with some insightful touches and the ideas behind it are very engaging. I’m not going to say much more but as I don’t want to spoil such a great fantasy tale but the eponymous house is, it’s fair to say, anything but safe.

Much like K.J. Parker’s story Migration by Karin Tidbeck does an equally excellent job of creating a whole world in just a few brushstrokes. Using hints and clues that point to all manner of ideas, Tidbeck’s tale is an enthralling trip into a weird world of silos, ‘caretakers’ and forgotten histories.

Tidbeck’s writing is simple yet enticing, employing an uncertain protagonist at the heart of the story, making for an evocative journey. The fantastical strangeness of it all is captured with subtlety and the end puts a punch to the tale. Both Tidbeck and Parker have got my attention and I’ll definitely be reading some more from Fearsome Magics.

Review copy
Published by Solaris


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