Published: April 30, 2019
Publisher: Orbit Books
Series: Swords and Fire #3
Pages: 560 (Paperback)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The final volume of the Gemmell Morningstar Award-shortlisted Swords and Fire fantasy trilogy, in which political scion Amalia and her bound fire warlock Zaira must save the Empire from a ruthless, magical enemy. Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce, The Queen of the Tearling, and Uprooted.
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 Raverran Empire forever, earning the enmity of those in power who will do anything to keep all magic under tight imperial control. But in the season of the Serene City’s great masquerade, Ruven executes a devastating surprise strike at the heart of the Empire – and at everything Amalia holds most dear.
To stand a chance of defeating Ruven, Amalia and Zaira must face their worst nightmares, expose their deepest secrets, and unleash Zaira’s most devastating fire.
The Swords and Fire trilogy is one that has taken me by surprise – I truly had no idea what to expect when beginning and it has ended up being one that has blown me away. I’ve absolutely enjoyed every page, staying up far too late on several occasions so I could get past a critical plot point. This being said, I would highly recommend checking out the first book, The Defiant Heir, and also warn against possible spoilers in the paragraphs below.
Unbound Empire was a solid and rather satisfying conclusion to the Swords and Fire trilogy, however…. Yes that’s right, there’s a bit of a caveat here… it wasn’t as epically amazing as the second book. That particular installment was really in a league of its own. Unbound Empire was a great continuation of those events – battles, the Witch Lord gathering, a volcano nearly blowing up half the country.
Amalia Cornaro continues her fight for the Falcons to have their freedom while at the same time she’s trying to outmaneuver the witchlord at her country’s borders. Ruven has been trying to infiltrate the city through any means and his mind control potions and his chimeras are quite terrifying. I continued to find Kathe and Amalia’s courtship to be one of simultaneous delight and UTTER FRUSTRATION. Good grief, so much waffling back and forth! The whole book was rather full of emotion and action and ended on a pretty satisfying note.
Overall, I was pleased with the book and the series as a whole. It definitely ended up being a series I enjoyed far more than I initially expected I would. The characters were likable and the plot was engaging to the point that I was a little bit mad when I finished reading them because it meant a year wait until the next one!