You define life or it defines you. In Shawn Speakman’s case, it was both. Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That’s when New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell to help alleviate those bills - and suggested he ask the same of his other writer friends. Unfettered is the result: An anthology built in order to relieve that debt, featuring short stories by some of the best fantasy writers in the genre.
Twenty-three tales comprise this incredible collection, and as the title suggests, the writers were free to contribute whatever they wished. Here is the table of contents:
With the help of stalwart friends and these wonderful short stories, Shawn has taken the gravest of life’s hardships and created something magical. Unfettered is not only a fantastic anthology in its own right, but it’s a testament to the generosity found in the science fiction and fantasy community—proof that humanity can give beyond itself when the need arises. After all, isn’t that the driving narrative in fantasy literature?
©2013 Shawn Speakman (P)2013 Audible Inc.
Listening to this series of stories is like trying to recover valuables from a home after it's been ravaged by a tornado. You labor to move heavy beams, walls, and cement blocks. Finally you find what looks to be a cherished item, only to discover it's broken in some way. You move, disappointed and disillusioned through the recovery process, searching for the next item. Only after painstaking effort do you find a small collection of valuable items and cherished memories.Listening to this book is much like that recovery effort.
Most of the stories in this collection go nowhere. Oh, they are well written and most paint very realistic worlds, but listening to them is like driving alone around the Monaco race course. While the scenery may be interesting you're going nowhere and there's no purpose.
There were a few gems in this series. Kevin Hearne's story for example, There are others, but they are rare.
I'm thoroughly disappointed in this collection. While listening, or reading, collections can be iffy, and there's always one or two, even by a favorite author, that are less than satisfactory, I didn't expect most of a collection to be so devastatingly disappointing.
A very depressing compilation of senseless stories. Perhaps Masters of Fantasy can't write short stories because they don't have space to build the worlds.
It's hard to judge a book when there's so many different authors. The sentiment behind it seems to be well illustrated. However, I found it hard to get into any of the stories. I found myself drifting off rather than continuing reading. I guess this might be for the fact that it takes me a good three or four chapters in any book to really understand the characters and feel the surroundings. I believe as most fantasy readers would probably agree it takes a lot more than a couple of pages to set the scene of a true story.
If you purchase this book to understand more of the King killer trilogy, do NOT! The only story put in by Patrick is a bout a tree and how the tree stands. Moral of the story a tree will outlive us all. Don't buy this book for the specific reason being you want more of the King killer story, because it's simply NOT here. If you like Patrick's writings and you want to purchase this book go ahead. I just don't want you to have a misconception about it. The story is more of something to meditate on rather than a fantasy story.
Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy
These stories were put together by Sean Speakman in order to defray costs for cancer treatment, so good cause and definitely worth getting for that reason. That being said,I did not give it 5 stars because some of the stories are excerpts from bigger stories which end abruptly and hence are not satisfying. All is not lost,there were several stories that appropriately dealt with loss or illness that could be cathartic for some. Heaven in a Wildflower dealt with how hard illness is to a parent. In this world the parent literally suffers when a child suffers the illness. It reminded me of a friend whose daughter suffered from cancer and how much he suffered as a result. All the Girls Love Michael Stein was about what happens in the afterlife of a cat. Anyone who has lost a pet would find that story comforting. There was also a story that likened the fighting of an illness to the fighting of a dragon in a way that would bring hope to a young person. Additionally, the narration was the real star of this anthology. The narration of Game of Chance by Dina Pearlman was beautiful. I have laughed out loud at her narration of funny stories, I have bit my nails to her reading scary stories and this time I was touched by the range of emotions. Also Scott Brick, am I right ladies.
some of the stories were really good. some where terrible. about 50/50. worth getting. but don't be afraid to skip some of the stories.
A collection of short fantasy stories that, unfortunately vary in quality. There were some imaginative and fun stories but many that I had a hard time listening to. Some, while admittedly having fantasy elements, are most certainly not what I consider fantasy, but are rather bleak commentaries on life. The readers are generally good, not real complaints there.
The endings of some of the stories were abrupt. Other stories were just mediocre. .
A few of them yes.
for the most part
I was left unsatisfied after the majority of the stories. A few of the stories (about 5) were quite enjoyable and entertaining. The rest I could have done without.
I enjoy reading fantasy, crime and mystery thrillers, as well as historical novels.
Great stories, great authors and a multitude of top class narrators doing top notch readings. This collection is one of the best fantasy collections I have ever read. It was great to see so many authors and readers come together to help a fellow author and reader in need. Fantasy fans can't go wrong with this collection edited by Shawn Speakman who also contributed a story from his Annwn Cycle series.
Each writer shares a very interesting story ! From trolls, dragons to baseball + dogs !! Something for everyone !
From Imaginary Friends to the Unfettered Knight. All well written !!
Each narrator enlightened every story. I like each narrator, equally !
No. Twenty-three stories, at one sitting !
Nice if it were whisper sync. So if one felt like reading a bit, too.
I loved the audio version, but the printed version does have extras, IE; Forward, Introduction etc Explaining why the book was put together. Also at the start of each short story there is a note from the author stating why they submitted this story for the collection. (It would have been nice if that was added to each story, but I'm not complaining.) Still a great collection of stories by many writes I know and some I don't.
Out of the 23 stories I have to say I enjoyed most of them the one's I enjoyed most (not in order) are: Imaginary Friends, The Old Scale Game, The Martyr of the Roses,Mud Boy, The Sound of Broken Absolutes,Keeper of Memory, Heaven Is a Wildflower, The Chapel Perilous, All the Girls Love Michael Stein,Strange Rain, Nocturne, Unbowed, River of Souls,The Jester, The Duel, The Unfettered Knight. I just listed MY favorites.
This was put together for a wonderful cause. The authors put together some great stories too. I know I'll listen to again.
"Something for everyone in here."
Yes, although I may skip some of the stories now I've listened to them once. This is the reason for giving the book 4 stars. Some of them I would have given 5, but others within the collection would only have got 2 or 3.
Some of these stories are great, others didn't tickle my fancy as much, but I would say that if you're even vaguely interested in fantasy then there'll be something in here for you.
As always with an audiobook the narrator has a big hand in the quality of the finished product, some were new to me, others I'd heard before.
As a reader of their other work "How Old Holly Came To Be" and "Mudboy" we good (always helpful when you're familiar with the "world")."The Unfettered Knight" was excellent, as was "Keeper of Memory", "The Sound of Broken Absolutes", "Unbowed" and "In Favour with Their Stars". The surprise for me was "All the Girls Love Michael Stein", which I enjoyed greatly, even though after reading it, had you described to me what it was about I wouldn't have expected to do so.
As always for me the emotion and the ability to give the characters a bit more life through differing voices are the key to any good narration. They can help to set the scene with the tone of their voice, even before they've started uttering the actual text.
A collection of different worlds, and some stories from with them!
"A great introduction to a variety of authors"
Collection of Short Stories
The stories are unrelated and cover a lot of different styles. I must admit a couple of stories did not engage me that much, but as they are all short, it is no great hardship.
The narration of each chapter seemed to suit the material quite well.
The story of the cats I found really enchanting.
If you really enjoy one of the tales, it isn't easy to identify which author wrote it, and there is a really bad edit in one chapter (3rd from last if memory serves).
Highly recommended - especially if you like a short story to fill in time.
"It's basically Russian roulette"
Because they are all short stories, if you like fantasy you will enjoy at least one of them, most likely a few. However there are some absolute howlers in here. Quite a few are not even fantasy. Patrick Rothfuss's one was the single worst thing I have listened to on audible, and after terry brooks insulting ( to me as someone who went through childhood leukaemia ) opener I nearly gave up. However I persevered and am enjoying new authors I would no have if I had not listened to this.
Some were good. Most were awful. I assume because it was for charity they were not willing to spend a great deal of money on a good narrator or two, but the result is dreadful. It took me halfway through the mark Lawrence to realise it was his ,as the character is 13-15 from somewhere in a post apocalyptic Europe. but instead the narrator is simple reading the story with his 40 something full blown Brooklyn accent. That's just one example.
If all the authors put in some effort other than just a few and decent narrators were brought in then I would happily listen to a second volume
In you in two minds about it then get it. If you don't like a story in the first 5 mins then skip it there will be something on there you do like, and it is all for a good cause anyway.
"A book for children"
A better story
Made me very cautious
This is a children's story book and not very good at that. I bought it because on Kindle I had read Patrick Rothfuss's The Wise Man's Fear which was a nice story. I searched on Audible for another of his books and bought this because of the Kindle book. I am getting older and my eyes are fading so an Audible book is preferred to a Kindle one. I should have previewed it first, my fault
A great collection of stories, some fantastic some ok some a bit odd but the collection itself is well worth getting. I got it as a lot of my favorite authors have included a story but it has also introduced me to some new ones who's stuff I'll be checking out. The cast is also very strong.
"I expected better, disappointed"
The stories just aren't very interesting, I found it difficult to actually engage as it was just so boring I would be distracted. Perhaps 10% of the stories are bearable.
Needed better more engaging stories, some of them sounded as though they'd knocked them up in 5 minutes.
Better narration needed. There is a story with Irish characters read by an American half heartedly trying to sound Irish and failing hard. I cringed until I had to stop listening
I really wanted to like this book because of the story behind its conception but the writing was so bad I just couldn't. I am a Patrick Rothfuss fan and like short stories but this just wasn't any good unfortunately. I haven't finished the book and will be asking for a refund.
"So this is fantasy?"
I'm going to keep this short because the review above is really good. I haven't read any fantasy for about twenty-five years, and when I saw this I just thought - why not? There are some great stories here. Imaginary Friend and All the Girls Love Michael Stein are amazing. That said it hasn't won me back over to the genre, but I have enjoyed listening to this a lot.
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