Prince Galian spends his days ministering to the sick in Kylae, but his nights strategizing how to change hearts and minds of his people. With the death camp closed, the country is becoming more volatile, and even King Grieg may not be able to maintain control over the warring factions.
Across the Great Madion Sea, Theo Kallistrate seeks an audience with the Raven rebels, rumored to be brewing insurrection against President Bayard. But they don't trust her, and progress has been achingly slow. When the war takes a major turn, Theo and Galian find themselves front and center in a political firestorm that could end with their union…or their funeral.
The Union is the final book in the Madion War Trilogy, which readers have called, "fast-paced," "compelling," and "not to be missed."
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a "real job" as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.
*This review can also be found at The Reader and the Chef & is based on an early draft courtesy of the author for review/beta reading purposes.*
First of all, HAPPY RELEASE DAY TO THE UNION! I read this wonderful book a few months ago and even after all this time, I cannot stop thinking how amazing and heart-stopping this book is. I smiled, I laughed, I cried, and basically felt all the feels in this epic conclusion to the Madion War Trilogy. My heart still hurts that this trilogy is over, but I am a happy to have gone on such a fantastic journey with Theo and my princeling, Galian. ♥
These two amazing main characters suffer so much throughout the series, battling with their beliefs, their expectations as citizens of warring countries, and their love for each other that only seems to be their downfall. Theo and Galian grow so much throughout the series, especially Galian, that by the time I reached the end of The Union (and recovered from a mini heart-attack) I felt so darn proud of both of them.
The Union also made me fall more in love with the secondary characters. I didn't think Rhys, Kader, or even the Queen would manage to make me like them so much, but I did. I ended up looking forward to their scenes a lot (such smart people!). But my full appreciation goes to Rhys for being incredibly funny as well. I want one like him!!! (And I hope Galian doesn't see this).
However, if I had to point out one thing that really stood out to me in The Union, is how realistic Theo & Galian manage their relationship and how they deal with their problems. Being apart and having things on their minds takes a toll on them so their reactions were something I found interesting and that really added to the story.
OH BUT THE ENDING. Remember that mini panic-attack I mentioned earlier? Yeah, well, it's because S. Usher Evans is evil and plays with our feelings. I cannot say what happens for obvious reasons but I will say that it'll shatter your heart into a hundred pieces. Or, you know, poke you until you bleed dry from so many holes.
So yes, I highly recommend you read the Madion War Trilogy. It is full of feels, bad-ass characters, one charming Princeling, and an epic ending you definitely do not want to miss!
The Madion War Trilogy has come to an end. The third book, The Union, is out in the world...and I have read it.
It is a little hard to discuss a third book in a series without giving any sort of spoiler for the books that proceed it, so consider yourselves warned.
In The Union, we are still dealing with the world as we knew it from the last two books. Two major countries are at war and our love birds are from opposing sides. In this book they are currently working together to try to bring down the King of one country and to reunite the warring factions.
And just like before...it isn't working out very well.
And the love birds are finding themselves stuck in the middle of it. Either they can't find any time to be with each other or someone is trying to exploit their relationship.
But before I get to the relationship and my feelings towards that with this book, I should probably discuss Theo. See, Theo had been my favorite character for the majority of the series. I thought she was strong willed and knew how to get what she wanted. Then the Theo in The Union happened. And she is not the Theo we knew. She is weak. She is whiny. And she is kind of annoying.
I understand that some of this is because she has some what lost who she is due to things that have happened in the story line, but some of it was because of a boy. Her insecurity in her relationship was really just...ugh. We had a strong willed female crumbling at the idea that her relationship is doomed from them never getting to see one another. It wasn't always because of that, but when it was...I really didn't feel like it felt like the Theo I had known.
Then our Princeling. He did show some growth, and in a more positive way. He wasn't as arrogant (he was still a little arrogant) as he had originally been and he had started to grow a pair of balls. So that was nice.
Too bad Princeling and Theo together in The Union more or less just annoyed me (mostly Theo). But really, there were points when they were together where I just had enough of them wanting each other. There is more in this thought, but I can't really get into it without giving some major spoilers away.
Other things happened in the story. One of the characters really made me think of another character from the Hunger Games and that connection I made, made it very difficult for me to imagine the character as who she should be and not who she isn't. I wonder if I am the only one who kind of saw this? Can you guess who I am talking about and who I thought they were?
All in all though, I enjoyed the series. I mean, I devoured the first two books, and really liked them. There was just something about this final book. It just didn't reach that same level as the other books did (especially the The Island).
This review is based on an ARC provided to me by the author. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.
***I received the ARC ebook as a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***
Utterly captivating, this final instalment of a deeply loved series did not disappoint. The ending rounded everything together in the best way (though it had me worried/heart-broken/dying for a moment there) and I was sad but content in saying goodbye to the wonderful characters.
Theo and Galian have grown so much together, their personalities complimenting each other beautifully. Theo’s fierce determination and Galian’s caring cunning are a force to be reckoned with. The challenges continued as the war between their nations was drawing to a close and I could never be sure what side would win, or if there would even be a winner.
Near the beginning, there were times when the plot slowed down and I found myself edging it on, wanting the action to begin but then everything kicked off and I found myself needing a breather similar to the one I didn’t appreciate enough at the start! It was entwined with an honest romance where you just desperately want the characters to be together, with no more obstacles in their way.
I’m so happy to have read this beautifully told story and if you’d like a YA fantasy series about people fighting for what they believe is right against all manner of adversity, with a swoon-worthy romance between well-developed characters thrown in, it’s a must read!
If you haven't read the Madion Island triology I highly recommend you start. The writing sucks you in and you fall for the characters in ways I can't even describe. I promise this review will be quick and spoiler free.
I found this world was super unique, and I found a lot of the issues that the characters were going through to be kind of true to today. Theo deals with a lot of racism because of where she is from and because her skin is dark. It's something we see every day, and I just love how there are characters that aren't even phased by this (as it should be. We should be looking at everyone as people because that is what they are). I loved watching the relationship between Theo and Galian grow, even when thrown into the darkest of situations. I really loved watching how they worked out their problems, because that is so close to reality in so many ways. In general, our every day reality was blended into these books pretty well while still maintaining that this is a fictional place.
The swoons were amazing (seriously, they get EVEN better by book 3, and I didn't think that was possible after book 1 because they were pretty darn good), and the friendships made are wonderful. I absolutely adored this series, and I really want to discuss things but obviously not everyone has even started it. SO START THIS SERIES AND FINISH IT SO WE CAN DISCUSS! I promise you won't regret it!
** I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This impacts my review in no way at all. **
What I Loved
I think that this was a wonderful ending to a series I quickly fell in love with. It's been so consistent which is fantastic because it has never been disappointing to me. The plot continues to be mostly fast paced and the characters grow steadily throughout the whole series. It was those characters that really made me stick with this series until the end.
It's hard reviewing the end of a series because I don't want to give anything away. While I love Theo and think she's a fantastic character, there will always be a spot in my heart for Galian. Where Theo is strong and independent, Galian is softer and more of a team player. I think that's why they make such a perfect couple. I was especially glad that we got to see more of some side characters in this book. Galian's mother the queen is a new favourite of mine and his brother Rhys was an old favourite that continued to grow.
I think my favourite part about this whole plot was that nobody was straight up good or bad. Sure there were some characters that I would consider horrible people but I think that they honestly felt that they were doing things the right way and that's what makes a great villain.
What I Didn't Love
Probably the only reason this didn't get a full five start from me (and it was so close!) was that there was no surprising element for me. I'm one of those people who easily gets bored and when a book becomes a little predictable and slow then my mind starts to wander. That's probably just me though because I think tons of people wouldn't feel this way about this book specifically. I was glad for that moment near the end of the book where I almost threw the book across the room so I couldn't find out what happened next. If you've read it you know exactly where I mean.
Who I'd Recommend To
I’d recommend this to anyone who loves a good, reliable fantasy book with some fun steamy moments. It's more of an adult book than young adult but I think it mixes the two genres well. The story also kind of reminds me of our history and how we used to use people of colour as slaves. This story is about those slaves fighting back which gives me a little hope in our world.
One of my favorite books that I read last year was The Island and this series has quickly become one of my favorite ones. Every time I read a book from this trilogy, my life gets ruined all over again (In a good way). S is so good with writing such addicting books and every time I start one of her books, I always have such a tough time putting them down. Upon finishing this trilogy, I have got to say it’s probably one of my favorites and I certainly plan on rereading in one binge someday.
The thing with these books is that it always seems to never end with exciting stuff happening. There is constantly something going on and I love that. Usually books have a one “big final battle” in the ending but the thing with The Island trilogy is that there is always big and serious stuff going on. There isn’t one “big final battle” type of events, there are multiple events that feel like “big final battles,” which is so awesome because the book doesn’t get boring, which is why these books are so addicting. Which is impressive too because the last two books are pretty politics heavy and half of the time I don’t even understand what is going when it comes to the politics. Yes, I am still so into these books despite the fact that it has so much politics and that’s rare for me.
I think the romance in this book also contributed to my love of this series. I am sorry but Theo and Galian are just so cute I cannot even. It’s been so great reading about them for the past three books. They’ve been through so much these past few books and they are most definitely one of my favorite things about this trilogy. One day, I wish this trilogy be popular enough to the point where I can indulge myself in some well written fanfiction about them. (wink, nudge)
Honestly so bummed this series is now over! I really hope S considers writing more into this world because I have some characters in mind that she could possible do a spin off about. If you’re looking for a good fantasy read that will keep you addicted until the end, I would definitely recommend The Madion Sea trilogy.
I was super excited to pick up this novel as I had just recently finished the first and second novels in the series. I couldn’t wait to see how the series wrapped up in the series finale.
I greatly enjoyed this novel, though I will admit I started getting concerned when I was getting very near the end without any resolution to any of the conflicts. I worried the ending would be rushed and unfortunately that is how I ended the novel feeling. Now don’t get me wrong, the book was fantastic and I greatly enjoyed it and the entire series, I just prefer a little more time spent on endings.
Overall I adored this series. The characters were fantastic and I loved them all, even the bad guys, I loved hating them. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves fantasy and action.
This book. What has she done to me with this book?
Warning: There will be spoilers for both the first two books in this review. If you haven't read them, proceed with caution.
We start off six months after the end of The Chasm, with Theo going back and forth to Rave, trying to meet with Anson, the rebel leader. Galian is couriering messages through is job at the hospital to his mother and brother, and everything seems like it's going to be okay. They slowly make progress toward their goal of a real peace with Rave.
But we know things aren't going to be that easy, and they're not. Soon, everything hits the fan, and they are all struggling to keep pace with what they know of Grieg to try and stay one step ahead. Or at least not a full leg behind.
So every review of this series I talk about the characters. I really love Galian. He and Theo continue to go through so much character development, and you can really see in the final installment just how much they really love each other.
The plot is full of crazy intricacies and more plots and yes. Politics, schemes, and a few random references here and there. Each little thing is stated for a reason, and if you can catch it all, props to you. I think I about died by the end the this book.
This was everything I'd wanted for a final installment, and more. Stakes higher than ever, gut-wrenching moments, political intrigue and scheming... EVERYTHING. The pacing was perfect, fast but with the right amount of pauses to breathe.
And the ending. I was fighting back tears until the very last couple pages. It was gorgeous.
WOW! As in the first two books in this series, I was completely engrossed from start to finish. It is full of twists and fast paced. You learn even more about the complexity of the characters and love them more. What can I say about the ending except....amazing. Each book in this series is intriguing and defiantly in my list of favs.
Loved it at least as much as the first two books. Galian and Theo's romance is never dull, much less the world of intrigue and espionage in the world of the Madion Sea. Great character development, great balance of slow romantic scenes and fast-paced action. And that ending, gah! I couldn't put the book down.
No spoilers here just an assessment. I was not disappointed with the ending, it wasn't exactly what I thought and that was a very good thing. Her story telling kept me on my toes. it was new and refreshing.
A great end to a good series. There is really nothing more that I can say because I don't want to ruin it for anyone but if you haven't started reading this series, I highly suggest picking it up now. The characters get better as the series goes on. The plot is interesting and there are definitely people that are the true villains in the series. I almost wanted to throw the book out the window towards the end but it ended up being a great ending to the series. So go get this series and put it at the top of your TBR and I promise you'll enjoy it!
This is a pretty explosive end to the Madion War Trilogy. While I had some issues with the series (mostly inconsistencies in the writing, world building, and pacing), overall I'm glad I finished out the story. I felt the scare at the end was a little cheap but I am satisfied with the ending. This was a great series to read while trapped inside during a blizzard!
The ending is not surprising, but the events leading up to it kept me on the edge of my seat. They continue to work towards Rave's independence, but the king seems to always be one step ahead. In a political battle as well as war between counties, rebel groups arise and they don't know who to trust. Great ending to a fantastic trilogy.
The Union by S. Usher Evans was definitely one of my Top Ten Reads of 2016, and I’m so excited that it has now officially been released for everyone to read! As the finale of the Madion War trilogy, it is by far my favourite of three books. With its complex characters, plot, and very detailed world-building, The Union is for sure worthy of the 5 stars I give it.
One of my things about The Union is the writing of the main characters Theo, and Galian. Theo has become one of my favourite female characters with her stubborn, yet deeply-caring personality, and her drive to fight for what she believes in. Her character has evolved greatly since she was first introduced in the Island, and even though she has to go through tons of shit, she knows she can do anything and will do it for her country and the people she loves. Galian is also a well-fleshed out character. Evans really does a great job creating the “prince-type” character without making him seem like other princes in other YA novels. Galian is deeply loyal and caring to those he loves, and his caring personality complements Theo’s personality well.
Not only are the characters individually written superbly, but their chemistry is written incredibly. I really enjoyed their genuine conversations which are absolutely swoon-worthy. I also love how realistic their relationship is, whether it be figuring out a problem, or being apart from each other. Their love really makes the book what it is, doing everything you can to be with one another.
In addition, the secondary characters were so much fun to read about! While Rhys will always be the lovable older brother of Galian, surprisingly, I also really enjoyed the character of Galian’s mother. The queen was a real surprise and I am fascinated by how much of a sweetheart she is.
The plot in this one. Oh man. I love the Island and the Chasm, but the Union really brought out the surprises. Without spoiling anything from the book, Evans really takes her plotting to the next level with unpredictable situations that are thrown at the two main characters. This book had slower scenes, and also scenes that had my heart pounding uncontrollably. Trust me, there were a couple heart-stoppers in there! She had so many twists and turns, it was a lot of fun to read.
S. Usher Evans always does the world-building the best, and in the Union, it was no surprise that the world became even more complex. We are exposed to more countries, and more details about Galian’s home, and other interesting details. The world of the Madion War Trilogy really just pulled me in and the politics of the world are so intricate that it feels almost real for a fantasy.
The Union is not just any love story. It is one set in a complex world with war and politics, with forbidden love and two main characters who would do anything for each other. If you are looking for a fantasy that will suck you right in, I highly recommend picking up the Madion War Trilogy!
Is it really over? Say it ain't so...Series endings tend to take a piece of me with them and that was certainly the case with S. Usher Evans' The Union. As I became attached to this world and the characters that populate it, I knew this last installment would wreck me. Probably why I put off reading this one for so long. I mean, I've had the book since October for goodness sake.
Starting six months after the end of The Chasm, Prince Galian and Theo Kallistrate are still trying to mount a resistance against the king of Kylae with the help of friends and family. Unfortunately they really aren't getting anywhere and being so far away from each other has become daunting. King Grieg seems to be ahead of them at every turn and honestly all of them kind of suck at being spies.
Honestly this book felt a little slow for me and the plot felt a bit thin. There was a lot of inner turmoil of course and watching Galian and Theo struggle pulled at my heartstrings. For the most of the book I was just worried about multiple characters that I loved dying and Evans really knows how to mess with my mind. It really shows how her character writing is off the charts.
Overall I really enjoyed The Union and thought it was a pretty good finale to a wonderful series. I'll always adore Galian, Theo, and all the rest of the Madion War characters and I'm so glad I originally picked these books up. If you haven't already, I highly recommend trying out the first book, The Island, and see for yourself how amazing this world truly is.
I think this is the first time that I haven't given an S. Usher Evans book 5 stars. If others have read my reviews of the previous two books in the series Evans really got me with the whole love story and two countries fighting and can these two be together and she does continue to deliver the fast past story telling we have come to love the few things that didn't really sit well with me was first I thought Theo for a good portion of the book turned from this strong woman to no one is here with me kind of person, I get where Evans was going with this and the situation Theo was in is a lot to take in but thought the strong Theo we have come to know and love was missing a little and would have handled it a little differently. The second piece that I can't really go into to much detail because it would ruin the story but I thought when it happened "OMG! I can't believe Evans went there." but alas it was just a twist.
Now with that said I have really enjoyed the Madion War Trilogy and have and will recommend them to people that I think would enjoy them. Evans is such a great writer that I can't encourage enough people to pick up a copy of her books and give them a chance.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
What an end to this great trilogy! The relationship between Theo and Galian is still very realistic, a lot of ups and downs (who doesn't have that) we watch them not only dealing with their feelings for each other but doing so while trying to do what they can to stop a war. They definitely fit the 'opposites attract' and yet they complement each other so well! As much as I liked Galian, I want to be like Theo – she is so a strong and independent! Plus there were several swoony moments (and I’m not one to swoon, but I admit to swooning while reading this book!) In this final trilogy, Theo is trying to get info from a rebel leader and Galian is working with his mom to try to stay one step ahead of Grieg. Of course, every time they think they might be ahead, that they have a plan to end the war, things are not as they thought. There are so many twists and turns in the book and then the end, OMG!!!! I highly recommend this trilogy, lots of great character development, the twists and turns thru-out all three books – the politics, espionage, family, love and so much more!!!
I've enjoyed this series from the beginning, and the third book is the best of all. The humor is fun, the plots are intriguing, and I adore the personal abuse the characters dish out at each other.
The split first person point of view is handled well, and makes for some great cliffhangers. Even when the characters are in separate plots, in separate locations, their stories feel unified by a single theme. Through expert use of parallel crises, dangers, and coordinated schemes involving spycraft and politics, the separate stories knit together into an intensely satisfying arc.
Sprinkle in some salacious encounters between Galian and Theo, and you have a fantastic conclusion to the Madion War Trilogy.