Unbound is book three of the Mageborn saga. My review for book one can be found here. My review for book two can be found here.
Spoiler Free Summary: In The Archmage Unbound, Mordecai has become a powerful figure in politics as well as a powerful mage. That power makes him a threat to those who should appreciate him. When his position and status is pit against his love for his friends and family, Mort has to do something that will change the face of his nation forever.
Character: This is where the characters stole the show for me. I’d said in other reviews that the driving force behind reading this saga was to see bits of how Embers of Illeniel connects. While Mort and Penny were engaging characters, this is where I truly felt a connection to them. Rose and Dorian are equally lovable. Their struggles and their journey drag the reader through a powerful book.
Exposition: This was seamless. Other books in this series can get a little weighty in the data dump category, but this book had the perfect mix of explanation and action.
Worldbuilding: This isn’t the book where we see the direct connection to Illeniel, but it’s a fine book all by itself. We learn more about archmages and the shining gods. We get introduced to, two pretty cool new characters. We get a sense for what Mort is capable of, and that has some wonderful foreshadowing elements.
Dialogue: In his previous book, I said Manning found his rhythm, and he only continued to get better. The exchanges in this novel are powerful, snappy, and fun (well, maybe not all at once, but still good.)
Description: I like the fight scenes the best. I’m a sucker for a good action-packed novel, and this book gives me the detail in a fight that I enjoy. It also provides a nice benchmark where I see what I must, and my imagination is allowed to do the rest.
Overall: I know I said the last book was my favorite, but I was wrong. Looking back at my notes and reading what I even posted on Goodreads, I can say with certainty (I promise) this is my favorite. Book 2 was fun and powerful. The last book had a scene or two that made me tear up, but this book is the winner in my opinion. I couldn’t put it down, and it seemed like every page had something that was just plain cool.
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