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Unfettered: Tales By Masters of Fantasy | [Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Jacqueline Carey, R.A. Salvatore, Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, Shawn Speakman (editor)]

Unfettered: Tales By Masters of Fantasy

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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:

  • Foreword by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Introduction: On Becoming Unfettered
  • Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks
  • How Old Holly Came to Be by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams
  • Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn
  • The Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey
  • Mudboy by Peter V. Brett
  • The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian
  • The Coach with Big Teeth by R. A. Salvatore
  • Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood
  • Heaven in a Wild Flower by Blake Charlton
  • Dogs by Daniel Abraham
  • The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne
  • Select Mode by Mark Lawrence
  • All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham
  • Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth
  • Nocturne by Robert V. S. Redick
  • Unbowed by Eldon Thompson
  • In Favour with Their Stars by Naomi Novik
  • River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
  • The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The Duel by Lev Grossman
  • Walker and the Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks
  • The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman

    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.

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  •  
    Anthrotales 06-14-14
    Anthrotales 06-14-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    17
    2
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    Story
    "An Agonizing Listen"
    Would you try another book from the authors and/or the narrators?

    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.


    What was most disappointing about the authors’s story?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    There were a few gems in this series. Kevin Hearne's story for example, There are others, but they are rare.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    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.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pseudonymous CA United States 02-26-14
    pseudonymous CA United States 02-26-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    6
    6
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    "Depressing"

    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.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber 06-20-15
    Amber 06-20-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I guess I'm not into short stories"

    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.

    SIDE NOTE
    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carmen OFallon, MO, United States 06-06-15
    carmen OFallon, MO, United States 06-06-15 Member Since 2011

    Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    143
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    65
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    5
    5
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    Story
    "A lot of good stories"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew R Ude Eau Claire, WI, USa 03-12-15
    Matthew R Ude Eau Claire, WI, USa 03-12-15 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    Story
    "50/50"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gonzalo MIAMI, FL, United States 02-20-15
    Gonzalo MIAMI, FL, United States 02-20-15 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    "Mixed bag of 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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Jones wisconsin 02-07-15
    D. Jones wisconsin 02-07-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Love sifi and fantasy, this not so much."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The endings of some of the stories were abrupt. Other stories were just mediocre. .


    Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

    A few of them yes.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    for the most part


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    no 01-06-15
    no 01-06-15

    I enjoy reading fantasy, crime and mystery thrillers, as well as historical novels.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
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    8
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    "Great stories, great authors"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris's Card Winchester, Virginia 11-20-14
    Chris's Card Winchester, Virginia 11-20-14 Member Since 2014

    Chris W.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    32
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    1
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    Story
    "The Gathering of Great Writers"
    What did you love best about Unfettered?

    Each writer shares a very interesting story ! From trolls, dragons to baseball + dogs !! Something for everyone !


    What did you like best about this story?

    From Imaginary Friends to the Unfettered Knight. All well written !!


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Each narrator enlightened every story. I like each narrator, equally !


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Twenty-three stories, at one sitting !


    Any additional comments?

    Nice if it were whisper sync. So if one felt like reading a bit, too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 11-08-14
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 11-08-14 Member Since 2013

    BJS

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1382
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    634
    460
    FOLLOWERS
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    250
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful collection for a great cause"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Unfettered to be better than the print version?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    This was put together for a wonderful cause. The authors put together some great stories too. I know I'll listen to again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Chris
    Mansfield Woodhouse, United Kingdom
    12/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Something for everyone in here."
    Would you listen to Unfettered again? Why?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    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.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A collection of different worlds, and some stories from with them!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    DISS, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great introduction to a variety of authors"
    If you could sum up Unfettered in three words, what would they be?

    Collection of Short Stories


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unfettered?

    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.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    The narration of each chapter seemed to suit the material quite well.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The story of the cats I found really enchanting.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Euan
    5/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's basically Russian roulette"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    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.


    Do you think Unfettered needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    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


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • H. J. Cazaly
    gran canaria, spain
    12/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A book for children"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A better story


    Has Unfettered put you off other books in this genre?

    Made me very cautious


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    Not really


    What character would you cut from Unfettered?

    The lot


    Any additional comments?

    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

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    WORCESTER PARK, United Kingdom
    2/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant!"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lindsay Kay Caddy
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    2/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I expected better, disappointed"
    What would have made Unfettered better?

    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.


    What could the authors have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Needed better more engaging stories, some of them sounded as though they'd knocked them up in 5 minutes.


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    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


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointed


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Geoffrey
    Great Dunmow, United Kingdom
    2/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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