Review - Fantastic Hope edited by Laurell K. Hamilton and William McCaskey

Fantastic Hope edited by Laurell K. Hamilton and William McCaskey
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Date Read: March 2, 2020
Length: 432 pages
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
A collection of sixteen sci-fi and fantasy stories edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton and author William McCaskey.

A child’s wish for her father comes true. The end of the world has never been so much fun. Conquering personal demons becomes all too real. It’s not always about winning; sometimes it’s about showing up for the fight. It’s about loving your life’s work, and jobs that make you question everything.

In this anthology, seventeen authors have woven together brand-new stories that speak to the darkness and despair that life brings while reminding us that good deeds, humor, love, sacrifice, dedication, and following our joy can ignite a light that burns so bright the darkness cannot last.

Laurell K. Hamilton and William McCaskey are joined by Kevin J. Anderson, Griffin Barber, Patricia Briggs, Larry Correia, Kacey Ezell, Monalisa Foster, Robert E. Hampson, John G. Hartness, Jonathan Maberry, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Jessica Schlenker, Sharon Shinn, M. C. Sumner, Patrick M. Tracy, and Michael Z. Williamson in this collection.
 My Review

I really enjoyed this collection of stories.  I am sometimes a little hesitant to pick up short story collections since I have had mixed luck with them in the past.  When I saw the group of authors that contributed to this collection, I knew that I had to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this group of wildly varied stories.  I loved the fact that there was a little bit of everything in this book and had a great time reading all of the stories.

Twilight Falls by Jonathan Maberry - 3.5 stars
This was entertaining. This story was about a group of three men on a mission. There is a group that believes that in order to save the world 90% of its population needs to be exterminated. The trio goes to investigate a wiped-out village and stumble upon something they didn't expect. There was a lot of action and some pretty big surprises in this story.

Not in this Lifetime by Sharon Shinn - 4 stars
I really enjoyed this story. Sasha remembers all of her past lives and her past friends which she seems to keep finding in each life. She also remembers how she dies in each life. There is one thing that she doesn't seem to remember though.

Mr. Positive, the Eternal Optimist by Larry Correia - 4 stars
This was a fun little story. Someone is trying to kill Stanley and he isn't just going to let it happen regardless of how polite his assassin might be. There was a lot of action and the twist at the end was well done.

No Greater Love by Kaey Ezell - 4 stars
Jennilee stays behind with one of her mother's who is in labor while her family continues on their dangerous journey. Jennilee is just a teenager but it is up to her to help her mother deliver her baby and keep them safe. When things go horribly wrong, she makes the only decision she can and is still able to protect her family.

Broken Son by Griffin Barber - 3 stars
This is a futuristic story where prisoners are sent out into space to work. A scientist has a theory that could change everything and goes along with a crew to investigate. It was interesting to see exactly what their discovery was able to do.

Heart of Clay by Kevin J. Anderson - 4 stars
I have read the first book in this series so I was familiar with the characters. It was nice to see Dan and his crew solve the case of the murdered golems and find a missing sword. The Renaissance Faire was filled with interesting characters and it was fun to see how everything fit together.

Reprise by John G. Hartness - 4 stars
This is a Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter short story. I haven't read any of the books from that series but would definitely give them a try after reading this story. This story follows Quincy Harker as he tries to stop what is going on in the local park while coming to terms with seeing a ghost from his past. I liked the characters a lot and found the story very interesting.

Asil and the Not-Date by Patricia Briggs - 5 stars
This was a great story! I love Asil and the idea of him going out on these not-dates brought a smile to my face. Tami was an interesting character. There were some pretty big surprises in this story and I loved that in the end, Asil was a hero. There was even a hint of humor to go around.

In the Dust by Robert E. Hampson - 4 stars
I thought that this story was very well done. We see Winnie and Jenny at key points in their life starting in their childhood. Winnie likes to tinker in the old museum while Jenny seems to have more going on in her life but they have a wonderful connection. There is a pretty big surprise in this story which I thought was very well done.

Fallen by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. - 2 stars
This one was kind of confusing. The story jumps around a lot and I had a hard time keeping up. We see the main character, Estafen, in a lot of different situations but things often switched abruptly.

Working Conditions by Patrick M. Tracy - 4 stars
This was a really quick story about a young man that never misses a day of work. Now that he is a vampire, it changes a few things in his working environment. I enjoyed this one quite a bit and really liked the twist.

Last Contact by M.C. Sumner - 4 stars
This was a very interesting alien story. The main character is faced with a very difficult decision that can change his life forever. I really liked the descriptions and how everything played out.

Ronin by William McCaskey - 3.5 stars
This was a fun little story about a warrior that I never expected. The story did go in a direction that I didn't expect which was a big plus. I did enjoy this one quite a bit.

Skjoldmodir by Michael Z. Williamson and Jessica Schlenker - 4 stars
I really liked this story. I hate to admit that I have not read Beowulf but it seems that this is a Beowulf story from another point of view. I felt for this mother and everything that she has been through. Her love for her son was very evident. This was very well done.

Bonds of Love and Duty by Monalisa Foster - 4 stars
This was a really big story. I loved the idea of these created soldiers. This is a story of survival and fighting until the end. I thought that Andret and the wolves were all fantastic characters. This was a very entertaining read.

Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton - 4 stars
I love Anita Blake in all of her necromancy glory. This is a story of one man that was raised from the dead a little too well and the impact that has left. I thought that this was an exciting story that would work very well for new readers and fans of the series.

I would definitely recommend this book to others.  I had a lot of luck with almost all of the stories in this collection.  I enjoyed reading the stories of the authors I was already familiar with such as Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Kevin J. Anderson and finding a few new authors that I would like to read more of in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.
About the Editor

Laurell K. Hamilton is a full-time writer and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and the Merry Gentry series. She lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her family.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


  1. I rarely seek out short story collections but there have been a couple that I've enjoyed. There are some big names included in this one! Plus it's always an easy way to possibly discover a new author that you want to read more from. Glad you enjoyed it, Carole!

  2. I have not read short story collections in a while but it looks like you picked a good one.

  3. Its always a delight to pick up a story collection that you love. I get nervous with them too, I never know if I will like them or not unless its a group of authors I trust.

    Great reviews Carole

  4. i do like collections, though i have to be in the mood for them. glad you enjoyed these so much
    sherry @ fundinmental

  5. I usually read short story collections when I'm in a reading slump. I find the brief nature of them really helps to trick my brain into reading again!

  6. Short story collections can be so hit or miss. It sounds like this was mostly good. I'm hoping my library will get it.

  7. I'm curious about this one as well. I really enjoyed Anita Blake for a while. But I admit they became too much of the same thing for me. I wonder if she'll ever branch out and write something different. I do think this is one I'll pick up. Thanks for the great review.

  8. I always enjoy a short story collection even if I don't enjoy all the stories and this sounds like perfect reading for right now! Glad you enjoyed most of the stories!

  9. This sounds like a great collection of short stories. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  10. I am definitely wary of short story collections too, but it is always lovely when the good outweigh the average!

  11. I really enjoyed these stories so much. I would also recommend them to anyone; I just wish I could have spaced out my reading a little more. Excellent review! I didn't go into as much detail as you or as specific ratings, I just put it into groups. Interestingly your least favorite ones were also my least favorites. And I didn't read this until today (2 days after writing my review)

    Anne - Books of My Heart


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