I typically really enjoy reading short stories and those that are collected based on a theme generally have a story or two that will really appeal. This book, then, fits my criteria for something that I would enjoy. And I did. …But much too late…
The theme of dragons and/or killing dragons is certainly not a new one, but I looked forward to this because I list of authors that I was mostly not familiar with (Janet Morris being the only one known to me) and I enjoy ‘discovering’ new authors. I also had a sense that this wasn’t just going to be a series of ‘heroes against dragons’ stories and that appealed to me. I wish I could tell you why I felt that, but I can’t. But all of this came true. New authors (to me). Interesting different takes on what the dragons are like, and how a variety of different people went up against dragons.
And to be fair, there weren’t any bad stories here. Nothing was a complete dud. But I never really felt engaged in any of the stories until “Wawindaji Joka” by Milton Davis. This story had some of the best character development and interactions and I was actually sorry to leave the story behind.
We’re nearly 3/4 of the way through the book once we read the Milton Davis story, but my interest in the stories picked up after this.
“Red Rain” by William Hiles struck me as very unique among the dragon mythos as the dragon in the story appears during the American Civil War. This theme caught my attention the most.
And for action, I really enjoyed the final piece, “Sic Semper Draconis” by Mark Finn.
As with almost any anthology, there were stories that appealed and stories that didn’t quite get to me. For the most part, this was the latter and I can’t help but think of this as a very average collection of dragon-themed fantasy stories.
This collection includes:
“The First Dragon Eater” – Janet Morris and Chris Morris
“Legacy of the Great Dragon” – S.E. Lindberg
“Bring Your Rage” – Janet Morris and Chris Morris
“Aquila of Oyos” – Walter Rhein
“The Wyght Wyrm” – Cas Peave
“The Old Man on a Mountain” – Jack William Finley
“Of Blood and Scales” – A.L. Butcher
“Night Stalkers” – Travis Ludvigson
“Forged” – Tom Barczak
“The Rhyme of the Dragon Queen” – JP Wilder
“The Dragon’s Horde” – Joe Bonadonna
“Wawindaji Joka (The Dragon Hunters)” – Milton Davis
“Against the Sky Tomb of the Earth Kings” – M. Harold Page
“Red Rain” – William Hiles
“La Betaille” – Beth W. Patterson
“Arctic Rage” – Bruce Durham
“Sic Semper Draconis” – Mark Finn
Looking for a good book? If you want new stories with a dragon theme. Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters, edited by Janet Morris, might be what you’re looking for. There’s nothing bad here, but very few outstanding stories.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters
editor: Janet Morris
series: Heroika #1
publisher: Perseid Press
paperback, 436 pages