JohnDesu Reviews

Unfettered Part 2


This is the second part of my review of the Unfettered fantasy anthology, edited by Shawn Speakman. In each of the articles in this series I’ll be reviewing 2-3 of the stories from the collection.

I hope you enjoy the reviews.

Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn

Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn was written in a unique style. The story is written from the point of view of a character that might not be considered significant otherwise. It adds an unique twist to the story when one of the least obvious characters becomes the protagonist. Clare, our protagonist, may not be the most powerful person in the story but she is still interesting and still has the potential to change the world.

Clare lived a very normal life at one point. That changed one day when she left her home for a short walk and ran into Gerald and Major. They had a question to ask her. “What do you think about when you look at the flame of a candle?”. Her answer, “I think of birds playing in the sunlight. I wonder if the sun and the fire are the same. I think of how time slows down when you watch the hands of a clock move.”, changed everything for her. She joined Gerald, Major, and their band of unseen activists who were able to change the fate of people in small, subtle ways. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much, but this group hoped to shape the world by making changes that would alter the outcome of it. However, they couldn’t interfere in the world too directly or they would die. For once someone like Clare left her world, she could never be a direct part of it again. Just an observer that had the power to see patterns and potentially influence things.

I found this story fascinating. It took me a few pages to fully understand what the aforementioned group of activists sought to do, but once I did, I was captivated. I only wish the story was longer or could be built out into a standalone novel or series. There were a lot of unique ideas in this story that I hope to see Carrie Vaughn some day expand upon.

The fact that the group could only change the fate of people in subtle ways was a concept supremely interesting to me. It reminds of the butterfly effect—also known as chaos theory—which is the theory that a small change in the world, such as the flap of a butterfly’s wings, can set off a chain of events that can result in large differences to the world at a later time. I’ve always found that to be an interesting thought and idea and enjoyed seeing it being used as the basis for this short story.

The Martyr of the Rose by Jacqueline Carey

Enjoyable read, but it is based on an existing series, Kushiel’s Legacy, and I didn’t exactly follow all of the details. I think that readers of the series this story is based on would get a lot more out of it than I did.

And that’s it for part 2 of my Unfettered review. Next time I’ll be taking a look at the next three stories in the anthology:

  • Mudboy by Peter V. Brett
  • The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian
  • The Coach with Big Teeth by R.A. Salvatore# Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn

Until next time!