Review: Swords, Sorcery & Self-Rescuing Damsels

Twenty bestselling and award-winning authors offer enchanting tales of women and girls forging paths through darkness and peril. Cleverness, curiosity, and determinations make worthy heroines in fantastical new worlds.
This line from Editor Lee French's notes says it all: that the term "damsels in distress" reduces women to poorly-dimensioned plot points "useful as nothing more than a prize for defeating the enemy." "This depiction sucks," Lee adds.   Yeah, it does.  Like all those sci-fi movies we used to watch as kids when the group is being chased by monsters the woman would always trip & fall over something, slowing everyone down.  Hell, even in the first Mortal Kombat movie they reduced Sonya Blade- Special Forces Team Leader who just killed Kano- to eye candy & fluff.
15159570676_8c33abc48b_b She was saving this outfit for just such an occasion...
Like all anthologies, it's hit and miss with the stories.  Some are pretty good, others seem to end just when you're getting caught up in them and some you don't know what the heck's even supposed to be happening.  Makes for an intriguing yet uneven mix.  The central theme, of course, is women of all stripes and ages taking their destinies into their own hands.  Not always exactly a HEA, but they're seizing control of their fates. Some of my favorites here were Ashna's Heart, She Remembered, Princess Last Picked, Falconer's Apprentice, Alive, Thorn Girl, Calamity, Hope beyond Death & Balancing the Scales.
Only real complaint here is it seems like some stories were edited down to the point that choppiness & uneveness were the end result.  But other than that, a good solid read about women & girls who get the job done.
3.5/5 stars