It seems to be the thing these days to give away short stories packed with a teaser for a novel. Sometimes (as in Peter F. Hamilton's If at First . . .), the teaser is longer than the story.
I think this is a great idea. The reader gets free stories, and information about where to get more from that author. It works particularly well with anthologies like this one.
What I don't like is that many publishers aren't particularly upfront about what they're doing. I like to know what I'm getting. If (as with Hamilton) it's primarily a marketing tactic, fine. But when I open an anthology, I expect it to be mostly stories.
To be fair, in this anthology, Tor does include a note about the authors' debut novels, but the table of contents shows only the stories. I was expecting more story, less novel. Caveat emptor, but if the publisher had been more clear about what they offered, I still would have downloaded and read the book, just with lower expectations.
Here, the novel excerpts are largely related to the stories. In fact, I assume that most of the stories were written specifically for this particular marketing device. That's not bad, but some of them feel more like prefaces than true stories.
My opinion seems to largely track that of other commenters.
- Leigh Bardugo "The Witch of Duva" is the best piece here, and the only one that tempted me to follow up on the author. While it was nice to see a faux-Slavic setting, it wasn't entirely convincing.
- Marissa Meyer's "Glitches" was also a nice piece, though in contrast to others, it seemed to work best as a short story. I'm not sure I'd be interested in the novel.
- Anna Banks' "Legacy Lost" had some positive points, but it leaned far more toward romance than fantasy, and the novel excerpt only confirmed this.
All in all, a decent free way to check out the writing style of some new authors.