My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Anthologies, written by various authors, are always a tough chore. For one thing, you need to present a coherent theme over a bunch of short stories. The second problem is that you have to ensure all of the authors carry with them a sameness while ensuring each one is allowed to do what they do best. It’s a tall order to fill under the best of circumstances. The Book of Emissaries, was, in my opinion, a very good collection.
The stories are written in what I would call a classic ‘story telling style’ which gives you more the feeling of mythology than anything else, which is what they were trying to do. So, on that aspect they hit the mark. The stories were compelling. There were only a few which I found to be a little disjointed in spots. I’m not going to give you the names of these stories because you might be tempted to skip them and you might have a different reaction them than I did.
The story telling is imaginative and has some great depth to them. The images were vivid and the characters were believable. That is essential for me, I have to actually believe the characters or I would be tempted to close the book and move on.
There is a continuing story that is really a thread which runs through the book where one god-like creature is trying to hunt down something that is stolen from them. I actually found this thread to be the most interesting aspect of the book. I almost wanted to hear more about this chase through time.
One thing I didn’t personally like was that it seemed to take me a while to get into the throws of the stories. I had a hard time really finding my footing in the first few stories, but the writing carries it along as it is actually well written. Eventually I picked up the story line, and then away I went. That was a minus in my opinion, but then again, this is a collection of stories and you have to be willing to accept a little disjointedness.
There was one story that I just didn’t like. The last one takes place on Mars, and while I understand the purpose it serves, it really did little for me. It was, itself, well written, and probably would make a great story all by itself. But, it seemed forced to me into the book.
Again, these are just my reflections and you may not agree with me. All-in-all, I was glad I bought and read The Book of Emissaries. The writing is solid and the editing is well done.
-Your Humble Servant, Bryan the Writer