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Unbound (Magic Ex Libris, #3)
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(Magic Ex Libris #3)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  3,220 ratings  ·  332 reviews
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 pri ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by DAW Hardcover
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Bel Riddle YES, now even more, knowing that they can use e-readers. And there are some pretty popular fics out there that MAY be useful.

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 ·  3,220 ratings  ·  332 reviews

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Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The third in this very clever series about libriomancers (wizards who pull their magic out of books). This one is action packed and the author never holds back in his inclusion of magical characters. There are fire spiders, dryads, a gorgon, a harpy and of course vampires and were wolves and lots more besides. All good fun. I also love the constant literary references when Isaac uses books to source his power. Usually of course they are fantasy novels - is there a Wheel of Time reader out there ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, paranormal
This series is very addictive and so much fun. I love the concept of libriomancy (the magical ability to pull useful items out of books) and the references to popular fantasy and sci fi books (guaranteed to have most nerds drooling!)

Isaac Vainio, the main character is a librarian and libriomancer. He used to work as a field agent for the powerful libriomancy group called the Porters, but then he had his magical ability taken away. Now he's depressed and concerned about Jeneta, a young girl entru
Sandra (LadyGrey Reads)
Thanks to Gutenberg, I could no longer pull wands, potions, and light sabers out of books, but when it came to research, give me a well-stocked library and I was a goddamned Merlin.

Isaac Vaino has lost his magic - right when he needs it the most, because without it, how is he going to find his student, Jeneta, who was possessed by a queen hellbent on ending the world?
Oh, and save the world. That too.

In this third book of the Magic Ex Libris series, we meet a more desperate Isaac than in the
Lauren Stoolfire
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that Isaac Vainio is one of my all time favorite characters. I mean, he's a librarian and fan of sci-fi and fantasy, and he can magically pull items out of books. And, he has a pet fire spider. How cool is that?! The tables are turned here as Isaac can no longer access his powers. Given the circumstances, this makes him a little desperate and reckless. Even though Unbound is a bit different than the previous installments, I still enjoyed it just and I particularly liked getting t ...more
Sometimes you go into a book with expectations, and the book blows those expectations all to hell.

The first two books in the Magic Ex Libris series were fun, pulpy romps through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (and through the annals of great fantasy and sci-fi literature). We followed librarian cum libriomancer, Isaac Vainio, a man who can use magic to pull things out of books, as he fought off all mess of troubles. As a member of the Porters, a secret society of magic users developed by Johan
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbound is the third book of the Magic ex Libris series by American author, Jim C. Hines. Isaac Vainio feeling guilty and depressed that a young teen in his care, Jeneta Aboderin has disappeared. And because Johannes Gutenberg has locked his magic, his efforts to find her need to be even greater. But, as handicapped as he is, Isaac’s determination, with a lot of help from his dryad lover Lena Greenwood and her lover, Dr Nidhi Shah, finally leads to the identification and location of the spirit w ...more
Pretty good continuation of this contemporary fantasy series - at least this one didn't end on a near-cliffie like the previous book.

For some reason, this book is not as good as the first two in the series. It’s not a bad book, but there is something almost lacking. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
The really great thing about the book is that Isaac is surrounded by strong women who are strong in different ways, but none of whom needs Isaac to save them. In fact, he usually needs them. (And before someone starts wondering about why Isaac is the central character – well Hines did do the Princess novels).
It’s an enjoyable
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, paranormal
4.75 stars

Unbound is the best book in the series so far and a game changer - (view spoiler) and Porters fight to keep the things under control.

There is so much to like about this book. Like previous two books, it is catnip for geeks. From Firefly to Back to the Future, from Star Wars to Star Trek, from Ray Bradbury to Frank Herbert, the novel will make you insanely happy if you have a single geek bone in your body. The very idea o
Amy Aelleah
Jun 12, 2018 marked it as ugh
DNF - PG 107


*weeps inconsolably*

I consider Hines one of my favorite authors. This dud hasn't changed that - though it has cooled my burgeoning interest in urban fantasy.

Anyway, Isaac Vainio annoys the stuffing out of me in this book. In the previous two, he was mostly likable in a typical 'aw-shucks, nothing special but really superspecial' typical UF lead. His friends, who he was seldom away from, humanized him. But in this book... He's depressing, depressed, got his head shoved up his own
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarybooks
Issac Vainio, his fire-spider Smudge, and the tree dryad warrior Lena are back in a brand new adventure in the Magic Ex Libris Universe! When Issac's apprentice Jeneta is possessed by a magical ghost named Meridiana who plans to use her libriomancer powers to bring an army of the dead to life with the books through her e-reader, Issac must figure out a way to stop the ghoul before people die. Can he trust the Porters again after Gutenberg sealed his magic as well as the Sorcerer Juan Ponce De Le ...more
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
As I recall, I thought the first two books in this series were entertaining, and at least somewhat original. This third, I think concluding, book, however, was pretty weak. Silly and contrived, and superficial its treatment of suddenly shallow characters, with far too much deus ex machina plot fillers and superpowered capabilities on the part of the suddenly heroic protagonist. Disappointing in comparison to the earlier books.
Terri M.
I waited almost a year to read Unbound. Why? Well, the pesky #ShelfLove Challenge last year and then before I knew it I was being offered an ARC of Revisionary, book 4 in the Magic Ex Libris series, and I thought I had better get cracking.

First of all, I’m happy I waited because it meant I got to jump right into book 4 after finishing Unbound. Unbound doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but a lot happens to crack magic wide open and there are lots of implications for non-magic users (muggles/mundanes)
I enjoyed this much more than Codex Born as it was more about advancing the overall plot, than a running fight scene. It also did a lot more world-building and world-explaining than its predecessor. I'm looking forward to the final book in the series being published next year. ...more
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was ok

I tried, I tried. Maybe I should read it a third time just to make sure, but this was a very *very* disappointing third entry in a series that had the potential to be one of the best. I now see that a fourth entry is planned with a title that possibly suggests time travel? It would be the only way to undo many of the meta-plot occurrences, but I really hope that isn't the solution.

I was amazed at just how predictable Unbound was. I admit that I am hard on this series because of how cool the ent
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the third installment of this book series- Magic Ex Libris. For those readers that are not really a fan of Science Fiction / Fantasy, this is a "must" read series (best to start from the first one). The imagination that Jim Hines used to intertwine his stories with history is absolutely superb and brilliant. Who would have thought to use the words of a book as magic to wielded by someone.

You have an evil woman trapped within a very intricately designed metal sphere of bronze that was des
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

I love this series. But then, I would. It is an urban fantasy where the hero is a librarian who loves SF and fantasy. Isaac Vainio is someone who I would want to know. Hell, someone I would want to be, as long you throw in a gender swap.

This series is all about the magic in books, and the way to literally draw that magic out and make it act in the real world. Unfortunately, not all magic users, just like not all people in general, are hero material. Some ar
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This one marked a huge change in the order of things. Betrayals, turns, risks, trust, a whole range of things going on and secrets being revealed. Hines juuuust keeps things from feeling overpowered and ended on a fantastic note that leaves me wondering just what will happen next. I'm enjoying the direction of this series.
Fangs for the Fantasy
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Isaac is in a difficult place – his magic bound by Gutenberg, he has suffered a terrible loss. Without his magic he is helpless but he is determined to try and find Jeneta, especially as the Porters are far more distracted by the Followers of Bi Sheng who have exposed them – and magic – to the world.

Meridiana, an ancient threat that has been long imprisoned, is using Jeneta to her own ends – the conquest and domination of the whole world with the aid of her Ghost Army. It’s a terrible threat to
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, contemporary
The Magic Ex Libris trilogy about librarians who can do magic with books concludes with this book, and it's a solid finish! I really enjoyed the premise built around a love of reading and geek fun, especially when it could have gone a completely silly route with adventures solved by clever use of books, but Hines took a more serious approach instead. I appreciate the flawed magic system in this book, flawed because it's created by flawed people and because there is no way to please everyone. The ...more
Oda Renate
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
pretty good book.
I still say the first book is the best in the series still its not boring.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
So I want to state that I love this series if only because it reminds me of why I love books; it's the ability to take you away to other worlds and other lives, letting you live out fantastical adventures and meet amazing friends.

And frankly I love the idea of being able to pull items out of fiction and making them real because let me tell you my house would be wall-to-wall lightsabers, Lantern rings and power batteries if I could.

Now that being said, this wasn't my favorite book of the bunch.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
It should be noted that I have not yet read the first two books in this series, and so I can base my review on the book itself without truly knowing the full back story. I missed that this was the third book in the series, which was my mistake, but a happy one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I was a bit confused at first, due to not having read the prior two books in the series. However, Jim Hines did a very good job of providing enough back story to allow me to have an idea of what
Steve Tetreault
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Feb 2015:
I have really been digging the Magic Ex Libris series, and I'm hoping it's not just a trilogy. The premise is thrilling to a bibliophile like me - imagine if you could reach into a book and pull objects and characters from it into the real world. And now imagine that you were part of the group charged with keeping this ability secret from the rest of the world, while keeping the world safe from those who would abuse the ability.

I was pretty frustrated by the shackles put on the main c
Text Addict
One of the hazards of being a bibliophile is that books one wants to read sometimes vanish into piles of other books one wants to read.

This is what happened with this ARC that I received last year. Sorry about that.

Anyway: I felt it dragged a bit during the middle, but it definitely made up for it by the end. Still very much a bibliogeek wish-fulfillment series. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Isaac's enthusiasm upon seeing amazing things is part of the book's charm, and I particularl
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really struggled with my feelings on this book. I can't help feeling that the author has lost control of his world. It's like he didn't want to write the series he started, so he's tried to morph it into something else. I can appreciate an author who resists milking a fat premise to death, but the massive changes and reveals in this book just seem too much to come back from.

(mild spoilers)

Aside from all of the world changing events, the main character is revealed to be just... not the man he
Deby Fredericks
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book picks up a scant month after the finale of Codex Born, with Isaac depowered and struggling to cope. His protégé, Jeneta, is possessed by the enemy and causing all sorts of havoc. Isaac continues battling to rescue her even though common sense would say he has to step back and let the wizards handle it.

I won't give spoilers, so let me just say Unbound is even more thriller-esque than the previous two volumes. There are some amazing images and clever uses of magic we thought we knew pret
Oct 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-f, candy, audible
Meh. It was okay. I didn't like the fake news excerpts stuck between each chapter, they broke the story's flow. I'm also not a fan of stories in which authors 'reveal' the magic to the 'real world' and show society's reactions. The first two books were much better, but the characters are starting to feel a little bit flat to me. (Also, the narrator for the audible version annoyed me, so maybe this would have gotten a higher rating if I had read it instead of listening to it.) I really wanted to ...more
Fraser Sherman
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy
As I enjoyed the first couple of books in the series, I'm disappointed not to rate this higher. For me it's like the chapter after the big battle where everyone licks their wounds and mourns their dead, but stretched out to novel length—and while Isaac's depression and anger are realistic after the previous book, that doesn't make up for how much of the book everyone sits in a room talking. I do like that after magic going public at the end of book two, Hines doesn't back away from it (the one S ...more
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I love books. Most people on Goodreads happen to share my addiction, strangely enough. And seeing some of the books I love contained and used within another? Especially books as well written and unpredictable as this series?

It's hard for me to describe. All I can do is eagerly wait for more, while constructing mental stories of myself as a libriomancer, saving the world and having fun.
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Jim C. Hines is the author of the Magic ex Libris series, the Princess series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous Goblin Quest trilogy, and the Fable Legends tie-in Blood of Heroes. His latest novel is Terminal Uprising, book two in the humorous science fiction Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy. He’s an active blogger, and won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Jim lives in Michigan ...more

Other books in the series

Magic Ex Libris (4 books)
  • Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1)
  • Codex Born (Magic Ex Libris, #2)
  • Revisionary (Magic Ex Libris, #4)

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Are you spending this season bundling up against the chill or enjoying summery southern hemisphere vibes (in which case we are...
86 likes · 29 comments
“There was magic, and there was magic. Thanks to Gutenberg, I could no longer pull wands, potions, and light sabers out of books, but when it came to research, give me a well-stocked library and I was a goddamned Merlin.” 8 likes
“As was often the case, Magic just chuckled and kicked physics in the balls, leaving it groaning and wondering what just happened.” 4 likes
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