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Unfettered

Tales By Masters of Fantasy
Length: 20 hrs and 16 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (110 ratings)
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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.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

The good bits aren't good enough to carry it.

Any additional comments?

I like Patrick Rothfuss in particular and fantasy in general and I thought this collection might introduce me to some new authors. Maybe I missed out on something but I couldn't finish the collection. Some of the stories sounded more like enthusiastic but unskilled fan-fic than the work of real authors. The tone of a few of the stories was confused, somewhere between self-aware, post-modern and traditional fantasy. The final straw was a terrible attempt at accents in "The Chapel Perilous" by Kevin Hearne. I gave up at that point, maybe all the good stuff happens in the second half.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • Mansfield Woodhouse, United Kingdom
  • 12-12-14

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Penelope
  • BEDFORD, United Kingdom
  • 19-11-18

Some excellent some not so good

As in most collections of short stories some were excellent and some not so good. The last one, the unfettered story was an excellent end. Most of the narrators were excellent, I think the most disappointing was the first story with bad content and narration, perhaps the first two. But they definitely improve.

I also enjoyed discovering some new writers (new to me) so I have built up my wish list for audible future listening. Some I couldn't trace so they may have used pseudonyms.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Avoid! This is terrible

I don't want to give negative feedback, especially for a good cause but in my view this audio book is terrible.

This is mainly due to the very poor narration, which in my opinion would score less than 1, but it is not possible to put this on the review score!

There are one or two stories which score a 2 in my view, but overall the story telling is poor and not worth listening to. Where there is a good story it is ruined by the narrators.

Sorry if I'm missing something here with fantasy writing (which I have enjoyed from other audio books such as Game of Thrones and The Name of the Wind), but this audio book iis not worth the money in my view and I will be seeking a swap if audible allow it, as although I have given this book a good go, I have only been able to bear listening out one full story.

Sorry guys, but this is a poor production in my view. If the narrators hand;t been so annoying, the stories may have got more of a chance for my continued listening.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Dull

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Did not enjoy any of the stories I heard. Narrators were fine but the material was poor.

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

More interesting and entertaining, less trying to be clever.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Happy with the narrators I heard.

What character would you cut from Unfettered?

The whole book!

Any additional comments?

May be good for others but not for me.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great collection of stories

If you could sum up Unfettered in three words, what would they be?

Sample Many Authors

What did you like best about this story?

Nice variety of writing styles and narration. Most of the tales are exerpts from full novels, A fine way to get some Ideas on where to spend your next credit!Thats not to say each chapter doesnt stand as complete in its own right.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Vast majority of the narrators are excellent, none of them are poor.

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

Short stories N/a

Any additional comments?

Worthy complement to your listening library, Good choice if you fancy short bite size chunks rather than a 20hr marathon.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

different stories

It was an unusual book as I was expecting a whole story but I don't remember reading about the book. It was not a disappointment and I found it enjoyable as I could listen to a story then get back on and do something because I get so engrossed in a story that I try to listen to the whole book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Randall
  • 21-12-18

A TRULY BAD COLLECTION OF DOGS

After reading a review of this book I expected the stories to be a " hit and miss collection " of short stories. This collection of dogs is abysmal. Only two of the stories worth listening to (The Jester by Michael J Sullivan and Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman). The rest seemed to be a bunch of leftover crap by various authors .

I would have returned this book, except it was on sale (therefore cheap) and I was warned it was a hit and miss collection. I guess sometimes you lose in a gamble.

37 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • shannon
  • 17-07-18

Not very good

there were only 3 or 4 stories in this whole book that I enjoyed it sucks to pay for something that is not very good

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 29-04-17

This is why I never get anthologies

If I had listened to this in order to see if I liked the authors, I would have missed out on books that I currently have and enjoy.

Were I to grade the stories, Patrick Rothfuss had to come in at the bottom, but not by much. Robert Jordan's story only made sense if you were well versed in the Wheel of Time series, even then it was not that good... but I at least remember some of it.

I only hope this went for a good cause...

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • C. B. Pemberton
  • 02-10-16

Disappointed

1 or 2 decent short stories buried in the dross. Disappointing to see well known authors send in their barrel scrapings for this worthy-sounding cause.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • King
  • 19-11-15

Fell flat

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this book because the short stories were not satisfying. A few of them I could not finish. Some of them seemed like it needed a better introduction so I had no idea what was going on. Have read most of these authors and they are great at novels but seem to be bad at short stories.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Melanie
  • 20-10-15

Painfully hit-or-miss

Some of the stories are amazing, and I found a couple new authors to check out after enjoying their short story in this collection. However, a LOT of these stories are BAD. Either radically out of sync with regards to tone and genre (to be expected, given the authors had zero guidance when writing) or honestly, objectively not good at all. I had to skip multiple stories. Eventually I gave up. I hate the crapshoot of not knowing whether I'll like a story, and I really, really hate having my time wasted by a bad story,

Also, you know how I mentioned above that the collection introduced me to some new authors? Well, even that was hit-or-miss. Because this collection was "unfettered" and they could write whatever they wanted, a lot of authors wrote something very different from their usual work. If you hear their short story and expect their regular work will be similar, you'll probably be disappointed.

My suggestion: Look at the list of authors. If you know you like a lot of authors in here, buy the collection and just listen to the ones you like. Otherwise, save your money for a safer bet.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • D. Jones
  • 07-02-15

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Richard Ceasor
  • 04-11-18

extremely mediocre.

Steph last 2 stories were pretty good but the rest not so much! It was almost like a writing class

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ajapasha
  • 02-07-18

Hit and Miss

Some of the stories are very engaging, some are alright. The narrators do well. It is exciting to hear some familiar voices.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lyn
  • 15-03-17

ehh

Would you try another book from the authors and/or the narrators?

There are some great stories in this book and some that leave you scratching your head about how anyone published them. Particularly bad are The Coach With Big Teeth, Mud Boy and Dogs. My advice just skip those.

On the other hand The Sound of Broken Absolutes is wonderful.

Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

Some yes others never.

Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

yes

Was Unfettered worth the listening time?

Some of it was and some of it wasn't.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful