While winter snows keep the invading armies of the Witch Lord Ruven at bay, Lady Amalia Cornaro and the fire warlock Zaira attempt to change the fate of mages in the Serene Empire forever. But on the night of Raverra’s great masquerade, Ruven executes a devastating surprise strike at the heart of the Empire – threatening 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 ravaging fire.
Blimey, the finale to the Swords and Fire trilogy is a perfectly formed rollercoaster ride of a read, pulling together all the events of the previous novels and throwing our much loved characters into a maelstrom of often quite literal fire and fury.
Be warned, once you get a certain way into The Unbound Empire it becomes almost impossible to put down, every quiet moment Melissa Caruso offers here ends with a BOOM moment where Amalia and Zaira face yet another fight for not only their lives but just about everyone’s.
That said, the more personal dramatic moments are the heart stopping one’s, Amalia faces impossible choices at almost every turn, not just in matters of life and death but in love, both romantic and otherwise. This book throws it all at you, the author has taken time and talent to make this world and it’s inhabitants very real, so as we come to the end it is breathtakingly absorbing.
The world building is incredibly creative over the entirety of the trilogy, the political landscape complex and layered. Magic and mayhem abound throughout but there are many thought provoking themes on society and how we treat those who are seen as different which adds a huge amount of depth to the fantasy based narrative.
On a side note I adore Kathe, the Crow Lord, with the passion of a true convert, by far my favourite character even as I loved them all. I kind of hope Melissa Caruso might write a Kathe based book one day, I would LOVE to see his life before. Or after. Prequel or sequel I care not. We’ll see…ANYWAY…
Overall this is pretty much perfect. I have loved and lived every book in the series and every moment was enthralling. From the tangled interpersonal relationships, family, friends, enemies, to the world around them infused with a sense of the unknown, the addictive quality is difficult to describe.