This is one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read. If you like Arthuriana, this is a must read. If you like anthologies just for the variety, this collection is a winner. I don’t think I will ever give an anthology five stars, because I’ve yet to find one where I like every story, but this one comes pretty close. There were only two stories in here I didn’t like.
What makes Sword Stone Table so great is that the authors chosen really had their creativity flowing. Maybe it was the challenge they were set. This is a collection that features retellings, reimaginings, and stories inspired by the King Arthur mythos, with emphasis on queer, multiracial, gender-focused voices. You know, all the people left out or done dirty by the original stories. Not a single story, even the ones I didn’t like, felt predictable or rote. They really felt reimagined. I five starred a bunch of them, which is super rare for me with anthologies.
I’ve just copied and pasted my mini-reviews for each story below, which I posted as statuses to Goodreads:
“The Once and Future Qadi,” Ausma Zehanat Khan — An outsider is brought in to judge Queen Guinevere’s fidelity. It took me a little bit to see what this story was doing, but the ending brought it all together. A good start to this anthology! 4/5 stars
“Passing Fair and Young,” Roshani Chokshi — The writing itself was too flowery for me for the most part, but I liked the story. I always get annoyed how everyone has such a tragic ending in Arthuriana, and this subverts that in a lovely way. 4/5 stars
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Read Harder Challenge 2022: Read an anthology featuring diverse voices.