Jane Yolen’s THE EMERALD CIRCUS is the best book that Brandon Sanderson has read in a long time

Jane Yolen’s THE EMERALD CIRCUS continues to garner praise.

On OMNIVORACIOUS, The Amazon Book Review, Brandon Sanderson names the collection as one of his favorite reads of 2017.

The first story on my list here is the best book I’ve read in a long time, and is curious because the author (Jane Yolen) is one of those authors I was reading as a teen—and worried I’d run out of books like hers to enjoy. THE EMERALD CIRCUS is the one I want to recommend to you today. It’s a delightful short story collection from one of the best writers in sf/f—and is an at times whimsical, other times very grounded, take on mythology and fairy tales. If you haven’t looked into Jane’s books yet, do yourself a favor and read this one. It comes out around the same time as OATHBRINGER, so by the time you’re reading this, you should be able to get it.

For THE BOOK LOVER’S BOUDOIR, Pamela Scott praises the book.

I’ve read the author’s work before, in various anthologies but this was my first time reading something complete.

I loved the stories in THE EMERALD CIRCUS.


I’d highly recommend this collection of stories.

Rebecca Herzog at SLOTH READS recommends the volume.

I am a big fan of Jane Yolen’s children’s books. So I was excited to be able to read some of her adult work as well. This book did not disappoint. My experience with short story collections is that they are usually a mixed bag–there are a few great stories mixed in with some not so great stories. That was not the case with THE EMERALD CIRCUS. Almost every one of Jane’s stories knocked it out of the park for me. 

Just as each act in a circus can be enjoyed on its own but also serves to make the whole circus better, each story in THE EMERALD CIRCUS is satisfying by itself while also enriching the whole. Jane is a master storyteller and I would highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys storytelling at it’s finest. 

Photo: Jason Stemple

For TOR.COM, Yolen contributed Five Books that Rewrite Magic, Myths, and Ballads.

In some ways, we authors all write fan fiction, mirroring (or windowing) our favorite books. We may borrow quotes, characters, settings, even whole plots. We create a lending library of fairy tale novels, Border Ballad reprises, Arthurian rip-offs, Biblical exegesis disguised as short stories, etc. I have done it myself in my latest collection of stories: The Emerald Circus (Tachyon) where I cheerfully plunder Poe, Baum, O’Henry, Arthuriana, all of Wonderland, Neverland, and more.

Publishers lists are full of mash-ups, Jane Austen and Abraham Lincoln battling monsters or solving mysteries. And of course Sherlock and other dicks—private and public—solve loads and loads of fantasy mysteries. And many of us cannot get enough of such books.

My favorites, though, I return to again and again.

T.H. White’s THE SWORD IN THE STONE, where he rewrites Arthurian mythos—recreating, decorating, excoriating, and lifting it into another firmament. Sword is first (and in my mind the best) of the four books that make up The Once and Future King. White, a fairly closeted and self-loathing sexual masochist, turned his agony into a marvelous books that focuses mostly on the young Arthur—called Wart—and the wizard, Merlyn, who lives backwards in time. The scenes where Merlin changes Wart into a succession of animals—fish, hawk (White was a falconer) snake, owl, badger—set up brilliant lessons. Wart learns things that will serve him for the rest of the quartet. It is a stunning recreation, not only of the Arthurian storyline and characters, but of early medieval life, against the perfect embroidery that is White’s own take on the tale.

For more info on THE EMERALD CIRCUS, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover design by Elizabeth Story