Friday Review: The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest, Ellen Dalow and Terri Windling, Editors

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Green Man is a mythic figure that recurs in many different forms in many different folklores. He goes by many names, but he is the embodiment of Nature and its power. In this anthology, Datlow and Windling have gathered some of the best fantasy writers of the day to pay homage to the myth of the Green Man. It contains stories and poems by authors such as Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Emma Bull, Charles deLint, and Tanith Lee, among others. It is classed as YA, so the stories are themed and written to appeal to that demographic.

Most of the stories are quite good, as would be expected from the caliber of writers employed here. There are one or two that perhaps lag a bit or don’t quite work, at least for me. But that could also be due to the YA slant. I can be a bit picky on the YA I read, so finding a story or two here that didn’t hit all the buttons wasn’t a surprise. There are no real failures, just some less interesting to me. Most are probably best described as urban fantasy, and are more modern takes on the Green Man legend. Again, for most, that idea works quite well.

I like anthologies because I can read at my own pace. Short stories can be consumed as bites, one at a time. They generally can be read quickly and taking a break doesn’t lose any continuity with a longer plot.

I enjoyed the book, even with a few less than perfect tales. If you like mythology, nature stories, urban fantasy, or are fans of any of the authors here, this book is worth looking at.

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