Unbound by Jim C. Hines continues the Magic Ex Libris series where your local library might have skills beyond his crazy filing skills because he can reach into books and pull out whatever items fit through the pages. Isaac’s adventures have gotten really crazy in Unbound, so there will definitely be spoilers for the events of Libriomancer and Codex Born below and I recommend you check out my previous reviews instead :D. I am absolutely loving the momentum of this series because Unbound doesn’t have Isaac dealing with any small-town mysteries anymore. Nope, now the entire world is changing and Isaac is dealing with some very severe consequences *hugs him*.
Note: I received a finished copy of Unbound from the publisher.
Unbound by Jim C. Hines (Magic Ex Libris #3)
Published by DAW on Jan. 6th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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For five hundred years, the Porters have concealed the existence of magic from the world. Now, old enemies have revealed the Porters’ secrets, and an even greater threat lurks in the shadows. The would-be queen Meridiana, banished for a thousand years, has returned in the body of a girl named Jeneta Aboderin. She seeks an artifact created by Pope Sylvester II, a bronze prison that would grant her the power to command an army of the dead.
Michigan librarian Isaac Vainio is powerless to stop her, having been stripped of his power and his place among the Porters by Johannes Gutenberg himself. But Isaac is determined to regain his magic and to rescue his former student Jeneta. With no magic of his own, Isaac’s must delve into the darker side of black-market magic, where he will confront beings better left undisturbed, including the sorcerer Juan Ponce de Leon.
With his loyal fire-spider Smudge, dryad warrior Lena Greenwood, and psychiatrist Nidhi Shah, Isaac races to unravel a mystery more than a thousand years old as competing magical powers battle to shape the future of the world. He will be hunted by enemies and former allies alike, and it will take all his knowledge and resourcefulness to survive as magical war threatens to spread across the globe.
Isaac’s choices will determine the fate of his friends, the Porters, the students of Bi Sheng, and the world. Only one thing is certain: even if he finds a way to restore his magic, he can’t save them all…
- My favorite thing about Unbound is that Isaac’s loss of magic from the end of Codex Born isn’t just immediately fix. There is no wand that can be swished to restore everything to how it was and he is very much impacted by the loss. Isaac’s depression and anxiety have very good plot reasons, but his actions that are motivated by those internal struggles are so much more than a plot device. It is clear to me that Hines understands how it might feel to suffer depression following such a substantial loss of who Isaac considers himself to be. These consequences also made it clear that anything could happen and no one was safe. Hines wasn’t going to be nice and save the characters we liked from pain!
- Unbound has really made me feel connected to Isaac so many secondary characters more than even the first two books. In Unbound we see these deep layers within each character from Isaac’s hidden self-doubt and depression to Lena’s fear of losing who she has become, to even Ponce de Leon and Gutenberg having pasts that are much more complicated that Isaac first assumed. Unbound shows us the humanity beneath the outer shells that so many of these characters have put up to face the world and I love them for what we find.
- In between chapters of Unbound are text artifacts from the world, either news reports or blog posts or FBI files, etc. These snippets are sometimes amusing, sometimes painful, but always very insightful at what kind of changes might actually happen if the world suddenly discovered magic was real. I loved the imagination that Hines used to build his world so broadly.
- We’ve always focused previously on the magic of libriomancy where items can be created from books, however there is a lot more magic out in the world than just libriomancy despite what the Porters would like to pretend. In Unbound, we get exposed to the many other forms of magic and twists on libriomancy and they are all REALLY cool :D.
- I apparently have become addicted to urban fantasies that focus on a world like our own with hidden magic when that magic is suddenly revealed and Unbound is an epic example of that. Just EPIC okay?!
- I was a bit surprised when the boss fight was suddenly over and everything was figured out or at least starting to be fixed by someone else. Things seemed to be wrapped up a bit too neatly for how out of control they had seemed previously. I’m content I suppose, but I like clever revelations and felt those to be missing.
- Most of the interludes between chapters I liked, but a couple were more distracting that informational. There were a couple of times when things were dark and dire and then the news report was funny and upbeat and I just wanted to skip it because FEELINGS.
Unbound is an excellent continuation of the Magic Ex Libris series and an indication that if you haven’t started this series yet you should definitely get on that! Book one did a wonderful job of introducing us to the magic of libriomancy, book two started revealing that there were dark secrets within the Porters, and instead of toddling along with small mysteries, Unbound just tears the shadows away and exposes a whole lot of bad that has to be dealt with to prevent the end of the world. I don’t know what book four could possibly do to top Unbound, but I’m damn excited to find out!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Unbound by Jim C. Hines
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