Mudboy by Peter V. Brett
This is a short story that started out as part of Brett’s Demon Cycle series. In the introduction, Brett states that when he adds a new POV character to the series he tries to take the reader back to their childhood in order to reintroduce the demon world though their eyes. Brett wanted to do the same thing for the character Briar, but found that his story didn’t quite align with the main plot of the series, so set aside what he written for that character. When asked by Shawn Speakman to write for Unfettered, Brett knew he had found the perfect fit.
From what I gathered in this short story, the world Briar is growing up in is full of demons that can’t be in the sun. Briar’s home is protected by magical wards that prevent the demons from entering and attacking. Briar is the youngest child in his family and is picked on a lot by his other siblings. The morning this story begins, Briar’s dad decides it is time for him to see a demon up close and master some of his fear, so he takes him outside onto the porch while the sun is still rising. As a demon approaches the wards protecting their porch, Briar’s dad teaches him some tricks to evade demons should he ever face one. Briar doesn’t know it at the moment, but that information will come in use very, very soon.
This may be my favorite story in the anthology up to this point. The plot and setting are just crazy awesome to me. The whole story has a very dark and creepy feeling to it. I definitely plan to read more of the Demon Cycle series very soon.
Unfettered in General
All in all, I’m definitely enjoying this anthology so far. Though I had lofty ambitions to review each and every story as I read, I’m finding I don’t have enough time in my life to reasonably do that. So what I plan to do instead is continue reading, take some notes, and then write a general review once I’m done and also more in-depth reviews of my favorite 4-5 stories from the remainder of the collection.