The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso
I would like to thank Melissa Caruso and Orbit Books for sending me a prerelease copy of The Unbound Empire in exchange for an honest review.
Following on from the conclusion of The Defiant Heir we find Lady Amalia now at home in Raverra. In addition to the other political duties that the Cornaro heir would have to perform, she is looking to compose the Falcon Reform Act. This Bill would allow the 'mage-marked' certain rights and elements of freedom. They are currently seen by all as little more than weapons of magical destruction that are owned and that will be controlled by The Serene Empire should war occur. The Witchlord and Skinwitch Ruven who rules Kazerath has been quiet recently due to the winter snows but the delay is only temporary and he remains a constant threat in his quest for invasion and to conquer all. We also have to wonder what the other Witchlords are plotting in their own domains of Vaskandar too...
This may be a shorter review than my analysis of the prior books as I don't wish to repeat what I've said previously regarding the world, themes, certain relationships, previous plot points etc... Simply put, this is one of my favourite political fantasy trilogies from recent years. Looking back two years ago, I only started Caruso's debut as I couldn't decide what to read next and liked the cover. Yet, when I have received the two follow-ups they have instantly been promoted to the top of my to-be-read list and I have completed them before the release dates. I've got a gigantic reading list featuring hundreds of books that I'll probably never get to so I think this projects how much I admire Caruso's work.
In The Unbound Empire, Caruso really has exceeded all my expectations. It's a gorgeous narrative that intertwines war, love, political intrigue, betrayal and it's anything but predictable. The pages are brimming with highs and lows that pulled at my heartstrings and occasionally made me an emotional wreck. This tale is overflowing with excellent characters that I have invested a lot of quality time with and really cared about. Some of my favourites were the Fire Warlock Zaira, the Mysterious Witchlord and mind game loving Kathe, the ever reliable and honourable Marcello and even new characters such as the aide Lucia and the bantering Heartguards. It also features one of the most terrifying, sadistic yet overpowered characters I've ever read about.
Although this series does have elements of YA this entry is much darker. There is still romance, friendship and frivolity but these elements are mixed with complete catastrophic destruction, both physical and mental torture, and lots of other nastiness. The Unbound Empire is full of excellent set-pieces, three of which stood out in particular to me. One of these is a stunning, engaging showdown towards the end of the narrative. The payoff here is great. It all wraps up nicely (for some more than others) and I would love Caruso to return to this world as quite often it seemed like a living and breathing character in its own right. I'll be following this author's career closely as I think she is sublimely talented.
A phenomenally well-written, engrossing political fantasy series with fine dialogue throughout. Swords and Fire is a series that many more people should add to their reading list.
This The Unbound Empire book review was written by James Tivendale
All reviews for: Swords and Fire
The Tethered Mage
Swords and Fire #1
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled - taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army. Zaira has lived her life...
The Defiant Heir
Swords and Fire #2
Across the border, the Witch Lords of Vaskandar are preparing for war. But before an invasion can begin, they must call a rare gathering of all seventeen lords to decide a ...
The Unbound Empire
Swords and Fire #3
While winter snows keep the Witch Lord Ruven's invading armies at bay, Lady Amalia Cornaro and the fire warlock Zaira attempt to change the fate of mages in the Raverra...
Have you read The Unbound Empire?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Unbound Empire reader reviews
9.2/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Ursula Le Guin
As a young dragonlord, Ged, whose use-name is Sparrowhawk, is sent to the island of Roke to learn the true way of magic. A natural magician, Ged becomes an Archmage and hel...
The Kingkiller Chronicle
"I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my l...
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him wh...
Year of the Unicorn
Far from the besieged home of Simon and Jaelithe, in peaceful Norsdale, we meet Gillan, who longs to leave her dull life in a secluded country abbey. But when her wish come...
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her...
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off...
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School
When her mother finds her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is sent to Drearcliff Grange School in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular 1920s boarding school, Amy...
The Lightbringer Trilogy
Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. His strength, wit and charm are all that preserve a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exac...
The Saga of Recluce
LE Modesitt Jr
Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circum...
Great fantasy books published in 2019
A Brightness Long Ago
Guy Gavriel Kay
International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay's latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose li...
The Raven Tower
For centuries the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by a god known as the Raven. But in their hour of need, the Raven speaks nothing to its people. It is into this unres...
The 10,000 Doors of January
Alix E Harrow
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut....
The Priory of the Orange Tree
A world divided.A queendom without an heir.An ancient enemy awakens.The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen S...
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.Meet Dodger, his twin. Numb...
The epic conclusion of the internationally bestselling Nevernight Chronicle from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.The greate...
The Hod King
Thomas Senlin and his crew of outcasts have been separated, and now they must face the dangers of the labyrinthine tower on their own in this third book in the word...
Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.THEY CAME AGAINST HER AS A CHILD. NOW THEY FACE THE WOMAN....
A Little Hatred
War. Politics. Revolution. The Age of Madness has arrived... The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep a...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: