by Laurell K. Hamilton
Narrator: Kimberly Alexis, Holter Graham
Length: 13 hours and 8 minutes
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.0x
A collection of sixteen sci-fi and fantasy stories edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton and debut author William McCaskey.
A girl who will go to any lengths to save her newborn brother. A woman who is stuck in a continuous loop, reliving her life after being murdered over and over again by the same man. Martyrs who make the ultimate sacrifice for humanity.
In this anthology, sixteen authors have weaved together brand-new stories that speak to the darkness and despair that life brings but, above all, the hope that shimmers within it.
Today Sophia Rose is here to share an anthology; Fantastic Hope by Jonathan Maberry, Sharon Shin, Larry Correia, Kasey Ezell, Griffin Barber, Kevin J. Anderson, John G. Harkness, Patricia Briggs, Robert E. Hampson, L.E. Modesitt,Jr., Patrick M. Tracy, M.C. Summer, William McCaskey, Michael Z. Williamson and Jessica Schlenker, Monalisa Foster, and Laurell K. Hamilton. Buckle in and enjoy!
Sophia Rose’s Review
There was no doubt in my mind that I had to grab up this anthology, and not just because one novella was from a favorite series. I love trying new to me authors particularly in these genres and it was no hardship since I’ve seen glowing, enthusiastic reviews from fellow booklovers. Fantastic Hope took me on a journey through riveting, engaging, and often emotional stories from this world and beyond.
Twilight Falls by Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger Rogue Team International Adventure #10.1)
A crack black ops team are up against bio terrorists who have already hit several locations. A source sends them into the heart of Africa on a mission to save the world.
Loved the craggy and lethal lead character and the taunt action. 5 stars
Not in This Lifetime by Sharon Shinn
A reincarnation story about a woman who meets familiar faces down through time- including the man who always kills her right when she makes close friends and finds something else. She’s tried everything to change fate, will this time be any different?
Simple, but poignant. Nice finish with that twist. 4 stars
Mr. Positive, the Eternal Optimist by Larry Correia
A sci-fi that is hilarious when an average guy encounters what he thinks is a mugging and turns into a bizarre series of attempts to shoot him and not kill him. And, the ‘mugger’ might not even be human.
Big points for the fun way of telling a curious sci-fi. 5 stars
No Greater Love by Kacey Ezell
A historical paranormal that focuses on a young Mormon pioneer girl who makes the decision to stay behind with her father’s second wife having a baby to help her while the rest of their group including her family goes on. Her sacrifice introduces her to the Loup Garou and she continues to sacrifice herself for love of others.
Emotional and sweetly tugging at my heart. 4 stars
Broken Son by Griffin Barber
Futuristic sci-fi that follows a crime boss serving his sentence on a space mine. His money and his ingenuity get him privileges. A mysterious scientist arrives to study an anomaly, but not after one of the ‘broken’ starts spouting gibberish that jibes with the scientist’s study.
Strong, wry narration voice and engaging character 4.5 stars
Heart of Clay by Kevin J. Anderson (Dan Shamble, Zombie PI Adventure #6.1)
Shamble a zombie PI and his human cop best friend, McGoo, come across the murder of golems who work at an unnatural Renaissance Faire while Shamble is taking his ghost girlfriend and vampire daughter to the fair.
This unnatural world sounds fun and I’m definitely hunting out the series. 4 stars
Reprise by John G. Hartness (Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter Adventure #17.5)
A walk through Central Park has Quincy Harker blinking at the sight of a group of hooded figures attempting to call up a demon. He magically sabotaged this, but then his attention is caught by the face of one he thought tragically killed. This dredges up painful memories, but also makes him determined to intervene in the cabal who are not deterred in summoning the demon.
This sequel variation on the old Dracula story and all new adventures for a magic-wielding hero caught my attention and I want more. 4.5 stars
Asil and the Not Date by Patricia Briggs (Alpha and Omega Story #5.5)
Asil is an old werewolf who’s sanity is on shaky ground. His friends decide to help him. He is challenged to participate in five anonymous dates all through different dating agencies. His latest is through a non-dating agency and he meets her at a restaurant. Can a date for Asil be less than an adventure?
I love this side character in the main series and was tickled that he got a story. Nice twist and well-developed as usual. 5 stars.
In the Dust by Robert E Hansom
Following the life of Winn and Jenny from childhood through the years, this poignant and thoughtful futuristic story leads from his discovery of a hidden door to various milestones and life events together. And a quiet, determined man can accomplish much.
At first I was unsure where and when the story was taking place, but I loved experiencing it moving through the years and fleshing all that out. Winn and Jenny are engaging characters. 5 stars
Fallen by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
A traveler enters time at crucial moments and attempts to complete his quest, but is always thwarted by the opposition. They battle over such profound human tenets as faith, knowledge, and choice though the actual battle is over libraries (knowledge) of books. There is another scene taking place elsewhere with two great powers battling for control of something mysterious.
In the end, it all makes sense what it was about and ringing with the author’s call to the reader. An allegorical sci fi perhaps? 4 stars
Working Conditions by Patrick M. Tracy
A young man newly changed as a vampire pleads to keep his job at the convenience store- this bit of normalcy when everything else in his life is upended. The convenience store owner has a choice to make and receives a surprising gift.
It was more of a snapshot or vignette than finished story, but it was poignant and engaging. It also described vampirism in a visceral way that left me wanting more from this world. 4 stars.
Last Contact by MC Summer
When Dr. Fetherstonhaugh (Fanshaw), wakes up one crisp February morning in St. Louis, all the world is glued to whatever news-streaming device they have because an alien ship is now hovering over Milwaukee. His day only gets weirder when he’s picked up from his university and taken to a different location.
A story with classical sci-fi overtones that had me curious and thoughtful by the end. 4 stars.
Ronin by William McCaskey
A teddy bear hero slays nightmare monsters in a little girl’s dream world and is her stuffed companion by day. He was once her troubled father’s dream hero, too. But does he have enough magic to help an adult’s nightmares?
Unique and engaging magical story that hit the emotions. 4.5 stars
Skjoldmodir by Michael G Williamson and Jessica Schlenker
In the old days of Viking saga, a woman loses her home to invaders and is given in marriage to defray the family’s burden. She is content and births a misshapen son, Grindel, whom she loves well. His uniqueness grows with fits and extra strengths. The village is scared of him and it is only in her darkest hour that a legend begins.
A retelling of Beowulf and Grindel the Wolf that stunned, amazed, and broke my heart in its triumph. 5 stars
Bonds of Love and Duty by Monalisa Foster
A human geneticist is ordered to destroy her Donai, genetically enhanced race. They are dangerous and bred for war, but they are her children that she brought into being. She just can’t destroy them all so she runs with one nearly adult Donai and two precious cargo boxes donai eggs. Andre is entrusted with the future of his race from the woman he looks on as his mother.
Futuristic sci-fi survival story full of emotion and premise of what it means to be a person. 4.5 stars
Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamiliton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #26.5)
A couple in anguish accuse Anita of getting their daughter pregnant- okay, not personally, but one of her raised zombies. Impossible, she thinks. But, as curious as the issue is, that daughter is now losing her life as it is drained in a connection to a zombie that shouldn’t exist. Anita, her cop and shifter partners must chase the issue to the source before it’s too late.
My first go at the series. It was exciting, creative, and an urban fantasy world that I wouldn’t mind visiting again. 4.5 stars
I experienced Fantastic Hope in the audio edition with Kimberly Alexis and Holter Graham taking turns doing the narration work. It was my first time listening to either so I was suitably impressed by their combined talent. Both had flexible voices that could do a large colorful cast of characters, situations, tone, and pace so well. They also impressed me with how they had such a repertoire that this collection of stories didn’t get confusing or struggle with the same voice sound. Just amazing work.
All in all, this was a sensational collection of sixteen sci-fi and urban fantasy stories. They ran the gamut of settings, tone, emotions, and pace. It was an incredible variety and some clever plots and creative work with strong development. I either really liked or absolutely loved all of them. I’ll be going back for many of the author’s backlist works. Highly Recommend to sci-fi and urban fantasy fans!
I just finished this and loved it so much, I googled to find a listing of authors so I could try to find more of their materials. This lead me to your fabulous page (which I subscribed to) and a convenient listing so I can add more of these writer’s tales to my reading wish list. Thanks for the great breakdown, I love finding new authors to enjoy.
Thanks so much for the kind words!
This sounds so good! I rarely read anthologies but I’ve been meaning to try some to get a feel for different authors than what I typically read. I’m definitely adding this anthology to my TBR!
Happy to put it on your radar, Vee! I enjoyed the sampling.
Wow! What a fantastic rating for all these stories and there are some really impressive names here:)). Thank you for sharing – I’ll mention it to Himself, who really enjoys short stories.
Haha! Glad to slip you a rec for Himself. It was a fabulous.
It’s been a while since I haven’t read an anthology
Time to grab one up. 😉 I know you don’t do much sci-fi, but this has a good variety that might work better for you, Melliane.
Anne - Books of My Heart
I LOVED this anthology. I read and enjoyed all but a couple. Excellent review!
Wasn’t it fabulous! I had some that were amazing and some I liked, but they were all good stuff and I really need to track down more from so many of those authors.
fantastic review sophia
I had a great time with it, Sherry. Thanks!
Lover of Romance
I love how this group of books runs through a variety of elements that we all love and adore about the genre. So happy to see it worked so well for you.
Great reviews you have here.
Yes! I love how each took the ‘Hope’ theme and did their own thing and even set it in different times and places. There were several that really resonated and I plan to look up their backlists.
pretty interesting set of stories this time. Glad you enjoyed it
It sure was, Ailyn. I enjoyed it as a great sampler.
Sounds like you had a good time with the collection. Like you I love to try new authors. Great review, Sophia.
There wasn’t a dud in the package and now I have a bunch of new to me authors to pursue more of. 🙂