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Shawn Speakman

Författare till Unfettered: Tales by Masters of Fantasy

20+ verk 914 medlemmar 26 recensioner

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Verk av Shawn Speakman

Unfettered: Tales by Masters of Fantasy (2013) — Redaktör — 401 exemplar
Unfettered II: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy (2016) — Redaktör — 121 exemplar
Unfettered III: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy (2019) — Redaktör; Bidragsgivare — 107 exemplar
Unbound (2015) — Editor, Contributor — 103 exemplar
The Dark Thorn (1975) 63 exemplar
The King-Killing Queen (2023) 22 exemplar
Song of the Fell Hammer (2009) 12 exemplar
The Undone Life of Jak Dreadth (2021) 10 exemplar
Unbound II (2022) 6 exemplar
The Unlocked Tome (2014) 3 exemplar

Associerade verk

Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues (2015) — Bidragsgivare — 77 exemplar
Evil Is a Matter of Perspective: An Anthology of Antagonists (2017) — Bidragsgivare — 73 exemplar
MECH: Age of Steel (2017) — Bidragsgivare — 16 exemplar
Grimdark Magazine #6 (2016) — Bidragsgivare — 5 exemplar
Scoundrels: A Blackguards Anthology (2) (2019) — Bidragsgivare — 4 exemplar
Grimdark Magazine #7 (2016) — Bidragsgivare — 2 exemplar


Allmänna fakta




Ok, so, I read the original short "The King-Killing Queen" (which is part 1 of this novel) in an anthology that I Kickstarted and read last year. At that time, this was one of my favorite entries and I remember saying I wished it was a full novel. Lo and behold, shortly after that, a Kickstarter was announced for a novel-length version! I backed it, and with shipping from the UK, this book cost me about $65.

I say all this because the cost of the novel does play into my disappointment with it. It's probably one of, if not the most, expensive books I own and damnit, I'm MAD about it.

Almost as soon as I started reading this book, I wondered what I liked about it the first time. Suddenly, the writing felt overly simplistic and painfully repetitive. After I'd finished part 1, I grabbed my copy of the anthology to compare the two. I thought maybe the initial short story had been (poorly) reworked as part of the novelization. I was wrong. I spot-checked quite a bit of part 1 and the original short, and they appear to be, word-for-word, the same.

How could I have liked it so much 6 months ago, and now feel both bored and frustrated by it?! I don't know, but that's what happened.

I didn't like any of the characters, the dialogue is painful, the plot is slow-moving and predictable, and the writing is so frustrating! I felt like I was being talked down to, or that maybe this was written for children (in a way that didn't feel compelling, because actually I love a lot of children's books and this is not a diss on the genre), except that people sometimes say "fuck" or try to kill each other. Normally, I would have DNF'd this at the halfway point, but I'd spent too much money for that and plodded on.


I should have known. But I was taken by surprise and didn't even get any closure in terms of the plot. I don't know if I'll read the rest of the books - I certainly won't be backing any more Kickstarters; if they're traditionally published and eventually make their way into my library system, maybe I'll give them a read...but maybe not.

I would still be annoyed with this book if it had cost me a more typical amount of money, so I realize that some of my anger is tied to how much I spent and that's 100% not on the author. But damn, I really wanted to love this and I really didn't.
… (mer)
MillieHennessy | Apr 1, 2024 |
I liked it. It was interesting, and involved the Fey, which is a theme I really love reading about. I'm not usually a fan of real world/fantasy crossovers that link our world with another. That being said, Terry Brooks' [b:Faerie Tale|43919|Faerie Tale|Raymond E. Feist||1285020]remains one of my all time favourites.

Shawn Speakman's story kept me coming back, the characters were interesting...I'll definitely look for his next book when it comes out.… (mer)
Zehava42 | 2 andra recensioner | Jan 23, 2024 |
Originally posted on Just Geeking by.

Content warnings:
Content warnings for each story:

‘Imperial Court’ by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson – Violence, gun violence, blood, death, poisoning by insect bites, and betrayal. As a result of betrayal and poisoning, a victim becomes disabled, losing bodily function and putting them at the mercy of an abusive family member. Discussion of off page scenes of death, bombing, death by fire, loss of a family member, poisoning, and assassinations.

‘A Poor Reflection’ by Peter Orullian – Religious tyranny.

‘The Shadhavar’ by Saara El-Arifi – Poaching, hunting, blood, violence, death, and branding.

‘Gladys and the Whale’ by Kevin Hearne – Deforestation, and animal death.

‘Moonflower Alchemy’ by Jordan Ross – Slavery, death, blood, violence, betrayal, murder of women (off page), war, massacre of families and children (off page).

‘The True Adventures of Gilgamesh and Enkidu’ by Dyrk Ashton – Violence, captivity, and adult humour.

‘Samantha vs. the Shadows in the Basement of the Captain Riddle House’ by Kristen Britain – Blood, jump scares.

‘Last of the Red Riders’ by Django Wexler – War, blood, violence, gun violence, death, and knife violence.

‘Heart-Eater’ by Anna Stephens – Prejudice, ignorance, unwanted sexual attention, and reference to children sold into servitude.

‘Sandra and Me’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky – While this story does not contain abusive or controlling relationships, some aspects of it may be triggering.

‘Shadow’s Daughter’ by Jon Sprunk – Violence.

‘The Sheriff’s Daughter’ by Tamora Pierce – Violence, attempted murder, misogyny, physical assault, attempted sexual assault, reference to animal abuse off page, drug use, knife violence and verbal abuse.

‘Solomon’ by Mark Lawrence – Violence, threats to a baby’s life, death, blood,

‘A Knight Was Once Sent on a Quest by Her Master’ by Anna Smith Spark – Violence, blood, and animal death.

‘The Last Arrow of the Autumn Huntsman’ by Shawn Speakman – Grief, reference to death of a loved one (off page), death of a loved one, reference to war and the death of children (off page), PTSD, and suicide attempt.

With stories from a wonderful selection of SFF writers, Unbound II: New Tales By Masters of Fantasy also offers a short story by editor Shawn Speakman in memory of his father. Out of the seventeen authors, I had only previously read work from five of them, although I was familiar with quite a few of them by name. This anthology was a great chance for me to finally read some of their work.

Despite featuring so many well known SFF authors, Unbound II: New Tales By Masters of Fantasy was only a three-star read for me. That isn’t to say that the stories were not good quality, just that this anthology includes such a wide variety of genres, content and styles. While some of them were interesting, others just did not catch my attention at all.

The ones that stood out above the rest for me are:

The second story, ‘A Poor Reflection’ by Peter Orullian, is a dense read due to the scientific jargon, but it is one that is worth sticking with for the clever conclusion. I tipped my hat to Orullian when I finished this one, very well done. It’s followed by an equally clever tale by Saara El-Arifi, an author whose name I’m familiar, although I’ve yet to read any of her books yet. If ‘The Shadhavar’ is anything to go by, I need to remedy that pronto. El-Arifi’s story is a slick, enticing tale of hunters trying to find a legendary beast.

Kevin Hearne’s story was one of my most anticipated, as it promised to tell the origin story of the mysterious Gladys, a character from his Ink and Sigil series. While this story can be read alone, it is one that readers of that series will enjoy infinitely more. The story did not disappoint, and is Hearne at his absolute best. It’s a must-read for anyone who is reading the Ink and Sigil series.

‘Moonflower Alchemy’ by Jordan Ross is a gorgeously gothic fantasy story filled with dark magic. I loved everything about this and would love to see this world explored further in a book. Anna Stephens also delivers an incredible and heart-warming story in ‘Heart-Eater’. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Tamora Pierce that I’ve never loved, and the ‘The Sheriff’s Daughter’ is no different. It was particularly interesting to see her write urban fantasy instead of fantasy, and I hope she writes more in the future!

The final story of the anthology is ‘The Last Arrow of the Autumn Huntsman’ by editor Shawn Speakman and is a beautiful tribute to his father that reflects his father’s struggle with PTSD. It’s linked to a previous story Speakman wrote in Unfettered II to commemorate his mother. I loved that he wrote the first story for his son to learn about his grandmother through his eyes, and reading this story with that in mind just makes it even more beautiful. It is also a brilliant fantasy short story in its own right, and I’m very excited to read Speakman’s upcoming novel, The King-Killing Queen.

The full list of stories in Unbound II: New Tales By Masters of Fantasy is:

‘Imperial Court’ by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
‘A Poor Reflection’ by Peter Orullian
‘The Shadhavar’ by Saara El-Arifi
‘Gladys and the Whale’ by Kevin Hearne
‘Business in Great Waters’ by Ken Scholes
‘Moonflower Alchemy’ by Jordan Ross
‘The True Adventures of Gilgamesh and Enkidu’ by Dyrk Ashton
‘Samantha vs. the Shadows in the Basement of the Captain Riddle House’ by Kristen Britain
‘Last of the Red Riders’ by Django Wexler
‘Heart-Eater’ by Anna Stephens
‘Sandra and Me’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky
‘Shadow’s Daughter’ by Jon Sprunk
‘Homecoming’ by Patrick Swenson
‘The Sheriff’s Daughter’ by Tamora Pierce
‘Solomon’ by Mark Lawrence
‘A Knight Was Once Sent on a Quest by Her Master’ by Anna Smith Spark
‘The Last Arrow of the Autumn Huntsman’ by Shawn Speakman

… (mer)
justgeekingby | 1 annan recension | Nov 26, 2023 |
The Dark Thorn is an urban fantasy story with a profound basis in Arthurian legend, Celtic mythology, and the Catholic church. While I had a few quibbles, it's a fine start to what I hope will be a series of the Yn Saith knights.
Richard McAllister is the knight guarding the Seattle portal to the land of Annwn, where the fairie world was forced by humans centuries ago. A wide variety of characters, both Seelie and Unseelie, live there. Philip Plantagenet, son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine is also there, sent by his father in a Crusade to conquer the land. However, he now has plans for further conquests aided by a vast army of halfbreeds and Templar knights. Bran is a young homeless man who crosses paths with Richard and accompanies him to Annwn to meet with the forces opposing Philip. Meanwhile, the Vatican is also making moves, wanting to keep Annwn secret from the rest of the world.
Mr. Speakman does a fine job interweaving Arthurian and Celtic tales, and I very much enjoyed those book sections. His history wasn't quite as successful; I'd argue that Henry II had a tempestuous relationship with the Church and only gave Crusader vows as reparation for the murder of Thomas Becket. And a son, Philip, comes from one doubtful source and probably died young if he existed. These are quibbles; this is a fantasy, after all.
Also, I wouldn't say I liked the character of Deidre. She seemed too modern for a woman in a fantasy/medieval-ish world, and the love triangle didn't work for me.
As I said previously, I'd like to see the series continued. Annwn is an exciting world, and I could see revisiting it.
… (mer)
N.W.Moors | 2 andra recensioner | Sep 17, 2023 |

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Associerade författare

Todd Lockwood Cover artist, Contributor
Peter Orullian Contributor
Terry Brooks Contributor, Foreword
Mark Lawrence Contributor
Naomi Novik Contributor
Brandon Sanderson Contributor
Lev Grossman Contributor
Robert Jordan Contributor
Carrie Vaughn Contributor
Tad Williams Contributor
Seanan McGuire Contributor
Scott Sigler Contributor
Rachel Caine Contributor
Anthony Ryan Contributor
Jim Butcher Contributor
R. A. Salvatore Contributor
Delilah S. Dawson Contributor
Jennifer Bosworth Contributor
Kevin Hearne Contributor
Blake Charlton Contributor
Jacqueline Carey Contributor
Peter V. Brett Contributor
Eldon Thompson Contributor
Patrick Rothfuss Contributor
Daniel Abraham Contributor
Tim Marquitz Contributor
Sarah Beth Durst Contributor
J. A. Pitts Contributor
Dave Wolverton Contributor
Charlaine Harris Contributor
Aidan Moher Contributor
Erin Lindsey Contributor
Django Wexler Contributor
Don Maitz Illustrator
Janny Wurts Contributor
Marc Turner Contributor
Jason Denzel Contributor
Ramon. Terrell Contributor
Deborah A. Wolf Contributor
Callie Bates Contributor
Anna Smith Spark Contributor
Kaitlund Zupanic Illustrator
John Gwynne Contributor
Kevin J. Anderson Contributor
Patrick Swenson Contributor
Megan Lindholm Contributor
Ken Scholes Contributor
Cat Rambo Contributor
Brian Herbert Contributor
Anna Stephens Contributor
Kristen Britain Contributor
Kat Richardson Contributor
Harry Connolly Contributor
Sam Sykes Contributor
Brian Staveley Contributor
Jason M. Hough Contributor
John Marco Contributor
Joe Abercrombie Contributor
Mazarkis Williams Contributor
Brian McClellan Contributor


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