Shards and AshesFeatured
The world is gone, destroyed by human, ecological, or supernatural causes. Survivors dodge chemical warfare and cruel gods; they travel the reaches of space and inhabit underground caverns. Their enemies are disease, corrupt corporations, and one another; their resources are few, and their courage is tested.
Powerful original dystopian tales from nine bestselling authors offer bleak insight, prophetic visions, and precious glimmers of light among the shards and ashes of a ruined world.
Anthologies are ever a mixed bag. Rarely will a reader love every single story, and, in this case, I didn't even like most of them. However, I can give this anthology some higher praise than some where I liked more of the stories: it's more consistent. The stories are all easy to read and fast-paced. Generally, there's at least one story that's like pulling teeth to get through, but, even the ones I didn't like, moved right along and kept me entertained. Marr and Armstrong's anthology keeps the reader engaged and moving forward.
Shards & Ashes is a very easy read, and considers a wide variety of dystopian/post-apocalyptic scenarios. If you're a reader who usually avoids dystopian stories because you don't like science fiction, this might be more up your alley, since most of them are more fantasy-based.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The downside of a lot of these stories was the focus on romance. In a short story, there's just not enough time for world building and setting up a convincing romance, and I think that in a post-apocalyptic anthology, the world building should be the first qualification. Romance can be present, but it should be added in later, not the central focus. Obviously, a couple stories didn't focus on romance at all, like Kami Garcia's, but the bulk of them did.
The Final Verdict:
The ideal audience for Shards & Ashes consists of those who loved the books of most of these authors. It's a nice quick read, and I think the stories will meet with approval from the fan base. If you're primary qualification is a world building, you might want to pass on this one.