cover image Unfettered III

Unfettered III

Edited by Shawn Speakman. Grim Oak, $30 (768p) ISBN 978-1-944145-23-1

This powerhouse addition to the Unfettered series continues the tradition of donating proceeds to authors struggling with medical bills and boasts an incredible lineup of stories by pillars of the fantasy genre, many of whom contributed works set in the fictional worlds for which they are best known. Readers not familiar with those series—including Frank and Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s Dune franchise, Anna Stephen’s Godblind series, Cat Rambo’s Tabat books, Lev Grossman’s Magicians novels, Terry Brooks’s Shannara Chronicles, Anna Smith Spark’s Empires of Dust, and Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time saga—will find it difficult to connect with the prologues, B sides, and deleted scenes included here, though introductions provide some useful context. Standalone stand-outs include Seanan McGuire’s “Stripes in the Sunset” and Naomi Novik’s “Seven,” both of which explore the costs of human hubris. Though some readers may be disturbed that many stories include scenes of women and children being assaulted, molested, and murdered, this massive tome will easily find a home with fans of grimdark, military, and epic fantasy. (Mar.)