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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.

What listeners say about Unfettered

Average Customer Ratings
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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.

119 people found this helpful

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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.

70 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent writing. Great cause.

This book is well worth reading for the quality of the writing. The bonus is that it's for a great cause. Hooray for you wonderful writers, artists and readers! And man are there some amazing readers in this audiobook. It's always great to help a brother out.

Several of these stories are so good that I have placed the author's books on my wish list. So it's a great introduction to these authors if you are not already a fan. If you are a fan, you won't be disappointed with these great tales, some set in the worlds you already know. All of them are well-written.

HEAD-SCRATCHERS
Rothfuss: Haven't read his books. Maybe something about that would have made it better. Otherwise: What the...?
Salvatore: Um, OK. Weird.
Orullian: If you were a band geek you might like this one. I wasn't a band geek. I got lost in all of the musical references.
Grossman: Sophomoric.

INTERESTING
Brooks (Shannara)
Jordan/Sanderson: Love the Wheel of Time books but it's been a while for me. Maybe that's why I didn't connect with it.
Hearne

GREAT
Brooks (Word/Void): A charming tale.
Brett
Vaughn: Interesting premise well carried-out.
Lawrence

OUTSTANDING
Carey
Abraham
Lockwood: A great story that is far better than his first novel.
Charlton
Redick
Durham: Really imaginative! And just a really nice story.
Bosworth: Intriguing story with an electric ending.
Williams: I smiled all the way through this great one.
Thompson: I really enjoyed the characters in this one and want to read the novels.
Novik: I tire of dragons sometimes but this story rekindled my interest. I put her novels on my wish list.
Sullivan: My favorite story by one of my very favorite authors. If you are unfamiliar with Michael J. Sullivan go buy his books. All of them. NOW. You won't be disappointed.
Speakman: Great characters in a compelling world. Made me want to read more.

36 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Mixed feelings

I wanted to love this compilation of short stories. It was written for a pure, altruistic purpose. The contributors included some of my favorite authors, and many more about whom I had been curious for some time. Some of the stories were engaging, but many were not. Many were downright sad and left me not knowing how to feel, what to think, or what the author was even trying to convey with his or her words.

The compilation receives three stars because of those gems hidden inside. I enjoyed Rothfuss' quirky tale. A couple more - one about a viola, another about saving a library from war (I don't recall the authors) - were interesting despite the deep sadness in the tale.

I took away two stars because of the lack of consistency. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe it was unfair to expect to be entertained by every story in such an eclectic compilation. But I wasn't expecting entertainment, so much as I was hoping to be inspired, to have my curiosity piqued, or to just hear stories that I could appreciate (at the very least) for their literary value, if not for the tale itself.

I understand the sadness that permeates many (most?) of these short stories. It was moving at times - leaving me shaken and changed - but I also found myself often pausing the book and stepping away because it was just too much.

The narrators are fantastic. They were well-selected for each story and each performs beautifully. I think only one story stood out as "less-well-narrated" - but it was near the end and not significant enough to recall specifically. With so many stories, and so many narrators, that is a job well done in my eyes.

This book is certainly worth the one credit. I'd buy it again, and I'm tempted to buy the hard copy, if only for those special stories tucked amid the less-inspiring.

34 people found this helpful

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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

28 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

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

No. I would not recommend this book. There were more mediocre stories then not. Some were just plain bad. Others didn't make any sense. Umm...Patrick Rothfuss what the heck was that?!! Loved his books; hated his short story. I couldn't even finish it. I guess it was an attempt to be artsy or something. Well, not a fan. There were a couple stories that I did enjoy. It's hard to review in a lump because there are so many authors involved but overall, I'd say pick something else.

Any additional comments?

I do appreciate the thought behind this book. That's why I bought it. I wanted to support the cause. However, I just can't recommend it as a good read.

26 people found this helpful

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Dissapointed

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you enjoy thoughtful introspective stories or WTF moments, and if you don't mind a compendium of stories that feature only a handful of resolutions go for it.

Has Unfettered turned you off from other books in this genre?

It has definitely warned me away from short story compilations. This was my first... probably my last.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Most of the narrators did a pretty good job... there just wasn't much to bring to life.

What character would you cut from Unfettered?

I think that in the case of a short story compilation, a more appropriate question would be, which stories would you cut.

I would cut all of them but the music one, and the one about the keeper of memories.

Any additional comments?

Meh.

25 people found this helpful

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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.

24 people found this helpful

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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...

21 people found this helpful

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Boring shit

What disappointed you about Unfettered?

A place for great authors to unload their crap that they would not normally publish

What was most disappointing about the authors’s story?

Everything

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Unfettered?

The lot

Any additional comments?

Don't waste your money or time

21 people found this helpful

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  • Euan
  • 05-14-14

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.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Eva O'Donnell
  • 09-24-16

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.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia Gascoigne
  • 09-21-16

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Finn
  • 10-11-21

Gems and coal

There are a couple of great little stories in this collection and a couple that I did not enjoy.
The last one: The unfettered knight was excellent. The jester also a great story and a few others that I enjoyed. Some of the others weren’t anywhere near as good and many where simply depressing. Some performances were tolerable but the harsh American accents made others hard to get through.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr C Waterhouse
  • 11-27-20

not for Patrick Rothfuss fans

I bought this purely as I read it had a background to one of Patrick Rothfuss character's from Kingkiller chronicles, it doesn't, don't bother!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Davidw101
  • 12-21-17

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.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 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 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Caz in Maspalomas
  • 12-05-14

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 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 07-07-14

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lindsay Kay Caddy
  • 02-22-14

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 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • 08-14-14

A worthy cause, average content

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I think the stories have been written by excellent writers, it just doesnt "sound" as good as it probably looks on paper. Some of the stories are complex and it doesnt bode well for me personally as an audiobook.

What was most disappointing about the authors’s story?

Its many stories in one book. I liked some, not others. The best one for me was about a dragon, the worst one, was probably by one of my fave authors :(

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

Its many different narrators, all of them good.

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

N/A

Any additional comments?

Nope!

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • 05-07-21

Extremely Disappointed

I don’t usually write reviews, but I feel I must to warn others. This was mostly disappointing, many of the stories were awful.
That said there were a few gems contained within. The one shining light was the ever brilliant Mark Lawrence. His tale “The Select” was set within his “Broken Empire” trilogy and was nearly worth wading through the rest.
For those considering this book, do yourself favour and avoid it completely. I would highly recommend “Prince of Thorns” by Mark Lawrence instead. Or “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfus .

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-04-19

Very underwhelming

I am a huge fan of this genre. Especially in short story form. But these stories were horrible. One or two were moderately enjoyable at best. The other 20 were a complete chore. Trust me, skip this book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • V. Thurlow
  • 01-15-19

not all subjects I am interested in

I really enjoyed some of the stories, subject, writing style and narration. Others did not interest me. I think I would have preferred to read the short stories instead of listening, so I could scan ahead in stores more readily to see if I wanted to read on to the end. And it would have made it easier to be able to see the authors names. I would give it 3.5 if I could

.