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The Unbound Empire

(Swords and Fire #3)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,163 ratings  ·  170 reviews
The final volume of the Gemmell Morningstar Award-shortlisted Swords and Fire fantasy trilogy, in which political scion Amalia and her bound fire warlock Zaira must save the Empire from a ruthless, magical enemy. Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce, The Queen of the Tearling, and Uprooted.

While winter snows keep the Witch Lord Ruven's invading armies at bay, Lady Amalia Corn
Paperback, 560 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Orbit (first published April 25th 2019)
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^_^ According to the Author's website, her publisher has opted not to produce an audiobook due to low demand.…more
According to the Author's website, her publisher has opted not to produce an audiobook due to low demand.
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Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,163 ratings  ·  170 reviews

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Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
What terror is this, that sings so sweetly?

That's it. I've found it. My top book of the year.

Oh, I don't even know where to begin, because I want to rave about every line on every page. It's such a rare feeling, and a high I haven't come down from for weeks.

I liked the first installment (The Tethered Mage) a lot, particularly because I loved the smart politics and world building, and most of all, the main character. Amalia truly made the series. She's smart, witty, and her character
James Tivendale
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freecopy, fantasy
I would like to thank Melissa Caruso and Orbit Books for sending me a prerelease copy of The Unbound Empire in exchange for an honest review.

Following on from the conclusion of The Defiant Heir we find Lady Amalia now at home in Raverra. In addition to the other political duties that the Cornaro heir would have to perform, she is looking to compose the Falcon Reform Act. This Bill would allow the 'mage-marked' certain rights and elements of freedom. They are currently seen by all as little more
Hafsah (on hiatus)
Graces above this is the best #3 book I've ever read. I couldn't have imagined-let alone asked for-a better ending to this FAB series. The moment I'd finished was monumental and "Time seemed to slow until it flowed like molten glass, precious and glowing, too bright to touch."

Like the other two books, this one was layered with courtly intrigue and the threat of war/Ruven. The writing was beautiful (the quote above is evidence enough) and there was fabulous character and relationship development.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A political fantasy, filled with magic, feuds, love and betrayal. As a conclusion to the ‘Swords and Fire’ trilogy, this promises an endless supply of action and excitement to a thrilling conclusion.

The benefit to the third book in a trilogy is that (hopefully) enough time has been spent developing the characters that the reader has grown to have a deep emotional connection with them, and that’s certainly the case here. Amalia in
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Unbound Empire, the final novel in this exceptional high fantasy series, concludes in the spectacular fashion you long all books to manage but that rarely happen to come together so superbly. Taking all the previous threads of the plot from the preceding two Swords & Fire books and combining them into a very fitting and ultimately satisfying climax to the tale. I must say, I found the politics in this beautifully-crafted fantasy world the most interesting and unusual part of it.

This is a com
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, women, magic
How I absolutely adored this fantasy series. And its not even my genre! Normally, I am not called to fantasy in the least. But I want everyone to read this trilogy and to love it as much as I did! I plan to write to the author today, even though I am busier and more stressed (on a beautiful day) than a person could or should be. I bought this book for my friends' three daughters, recommended it to a patient, and now all I can do is hope some of my Goodreads friends will take the bait.

So why did
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review from Tenacious Reader:

4.5/5 stars

It’s always bittersweet when a series you enjoy comes to end. The Unbound Empire was no exception for me. The book was full of action, drama, dire threats against the empire, and balanced with great friendships (and yes, romances) that all left me a happy reader.

I enjoy Caruso’s books because for me they strike a great balance of being very easy to read and interesting plot. Sometimes as books get more complex, they
Blodeuedd Finland
Book 2 was great, and sure this book was good, but as a conclusion to the trilogy I wanted more.

I still do not like Zaire, she is too much in your face.
I do like Amalia, she will become a great politician.
I still do not think she and Marcello belongs together, they have zero chemistry
I do still love Kathe, he is awesome, they should totally be together, even if they can not live together.

Gotta find an evil guy and get rid of him.

Hmm, not enough of what made book 2 great.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A triumphant end to one of my favourite recent series - Melissa Caruso dials everything up to 11 and then keeps on going. My reading notes are a joke. My heart is in bits. My face is a mess (yes, I've been crying in public again). And I'm deeply satisfied, in spite of a fleeting feeling that it had lost its way a bit in the penultimate act when everything seemed to have come to the boil only to have the heat lowered and simmer away for a bit.

...but like any good stew, it was all the tastier for
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this series so god damn much. I wish I could have had an easier time of reading it but I binged the whole thing on my plane rides. Hopefully I'll compile an actual review soon.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Unbound Empire, the third book in Melissa Caruso's Venetian-inspired Swords and Fire trilogy, is one of those rare series finales I feel was done right. It's well-paced, successes feel earned, and it fits with the rest of the series: character arcs make sense and are satisfying, and it has the humor, heart, and thoughtful storytelling that made me love this series in the first place. (And more Kathe.)

The Swords and Fire trilogy is one of my recent favorite series, and I cannot wait to read M
Liz Barnsley
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 j
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

There is not a dull moment in this series, you barley survived the last crisis and off to the next one and each time the stakes are higher.

This time the war is unavoidable, especially after prince Ruven stoke in heart of the Empire and almost caused to her destruction.

Amalia and Zaira realized that this time they would have to unleash the most deadly element to protect their home.

Underrated series!
*Source* Library
*Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy
*Rating* 4.0


The Unbound Empire is the third and final installment in author Melissa Caruso's Swords and Fire trilogy. The Serene Empire of Raverra has seen 50 years of peace after a 3 year war with the neighboring Witch Lords of Vaskander. But, that peace is now in jeopardy with certain Witch Lords believing now is the time to strike while the iron is hot. One of the reasons the peace has lasted so long are magical users called falcons. Falco
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

How can I not give this final book five stars? While the intrigue and political manipulation never ends in this book, what continuously hooks me about every book in the Swords and Fire series are the characters. I love them all for varying reasons whether it's Amalia's selfless heart, Zaira's sarcasm, or Kathe's refusal to use doors. In the course of a chapter you'll be laughing a
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

I can't believe I didn't realise this book was out!

Really enjoyed it, would have rated it more if it wasn't so drawn out (which is the same issue I had with the previous books I think). I feel like they had the same conversations over and over; or the same thoughts.

I also kinda think there needed to be a bit more romance. I'm not sure if this is a YA, but I thought (surprisingly) that a bit more romance would have made me feel more connected to the characters.

It also didn't end well fo
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
Usually, when I'm reading the last book in a series, I tend to be afraid: maybe the author slaughtered the characters' personality, maybe I'll hate the ending, maybe it won't make sense, maybe it'll be awful and taint my appreciation of the entire series!
Melissa Caruso didn't disappoint me with The Defiant Heir which I thought was even better than The Tethered Mage ; I wasn't afraid she might with The Unbound Empire. I was sure I would, at least, like this book. And I loved it!

There is n
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was sent this arc via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

Warnings: death, blood and a bit of gore, the usual fantasy fare

Wow what a wrap up! This trilogy just got better and better. I liked the first book though some of the characters annoyed me but I noticed so much growth over the last two books I became really attached to them.

It pretty much starts where it left off from the second book but it still goes slowly enough to draw you back into the world and characters but not so slow th
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve sat on this for a week, and now that I know Melissa is writing more in this world, I’m a little more satisfied at the ambiguity of some of this trilogy conclusion. That said, I may have liked this least of the trilogy, though not by much, simply because I have petty issues with things ending, for one thing.

Of course, sitting with it for a week means I’ve largely forgotten my hot takes, lmao.

Firstly, this is at least the third book I’ve read this year where I have shipped an OT3 so fiercel
Shannon Quinn
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a PERFECT ending to a trilogy! So fast-paced, real stakes, difficult decisions, and awesome character growth. So many different relationships in this series that show a great diversity of sexual orientations, yet they were not pointed out as abnormal or even specifically mentioned, they just WERE. That is refreshingly wonderful and needs to happen far more often in books. We do not know if some characters are bisexual, pan, or demi, we only know the gender of who they have chosen to be with ...more
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
I am 100% biased here, I love Melissa Caruso,s writing and her books, this is the final in the trilogy so you definitely cannot just jump in here you’ll be lost and confused. I highly recommend the entire trilogy not just this book. A fantastic end to a wonderful series, the world building is amazing and the characters were so strong, sassy, funny and relatable. This is an epic series you need to read

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Solid 3.5 ⭐️. Great ending to this Triology
Literary Han
An average book really. I was bored at some points and almost feeling lethargic whenever I picked this up? But I got to the end of the trilogy; so there’s that
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swords and Fire has become, perhaps a little surprisingly, one of my more highly regarded fantasy series of late. The first book was fairly average and hit every point on the checklist of undistinguished generic fantasy, but the sequels are great. Caruso has a knack for writing likable characters and once she hit her stride the other books are chock full of stellar character development. These last two books have really built up every one of her characters amidst a backdrop of political intrigue ...more
Andria Potter
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars to one of my favorite trilogies this year!

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Review to come!
LJ Waguespack
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stellar trilogy, written with compassion, acceptance and stalwart determination. One of my favorites of this year. Melissa Caruso boldly goes into this trilogy establishing a world of breathtaking majesty, a broad and varied magic system that boils with political intrigue, treachery and phenomenal human will. The action is continual, fierce and constantly surprising with passionate creativity. This trilogy does not let you catch your breath and I am better for it. This is why I read, well done ...more
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice ending for the trilogy I like the choices that the author did with some characters and it was a heavy political serie. It was a nice reading.
Unseen Library
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of The Unbound Empire from Hachette Australia to review.

One of the fast-rising authors of fantasy fiction, Melissa Caruso, brings her outstanding debut series to an end with the third book in the Swords and Fire trilogy, The Unbound Empire.

The Swords and Fire series is set on the continent of Eruvia, which is made up of two great nations, the Serene Empire of Raverra and the loosely collected states of Vaskandar. The Serene Empire is the home of our protagonists, and is a land
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Fantastic end to this trilogy. I feel like this series is under read/underrated.
Ben Alderson
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I will forever read Melissa Caruso BOOKS!
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Play Book Tag: The Unbound Empire, by Marisa Caruso - 5 stars 3 9 Jun 26, 2019 07:19AM  

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Melissa Caruso is the author of THE TETHERED MAGE, first in the Swords and Fire trilogy, out now from Orbit books.

Other books in the series

Swords and Fire (3 books)
  • The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire, #1)
  • The Defiant Heir (Swords and Fire, #2)

News & Interviews

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
54 likes · 12 comments
“I tried to imagine green grass growing over the smoking mounds of ash, and flowers blooming all through the valley, coming out in a blaze as bright as balefire. It seemed impossible, now, but life was inexorable. It would always triumph over death in the end.” 3 likes
“Legends told that in the Dark Days, when the Graces walked the earth and inspired humanity to rise up and fight back against the Demons who ruled over them, the Grace of Luck would sometimes appear at people’s doors in disguise—be their homes ever so humble or ever so proud—and beg for food or shelter. Those who offered hospitality were rewarded with Her blessing, and received great fortune; and as such, on the Night of Masks, every household must offer hospitality to any masked reveler who showed up at their door.
This custom had, naturally, evolved in Raverra to the throwing of lavish masquerades, made all the more exciting by the possibility that anyone could turn up at one’s party, from the doge himself to a notorious jewel thief. So long as they wore an acceptable mask, they could join the festivities. Most Raverrans flitted from ball to ball throughout the night, and the revelry poured out into the streets and canals. It was a day of mysteries and surprises, of charity and cunning, of terrible mistakes to be regretted the next morning and wondrous coincidences to transform one’s life. A night of intrigue and enchantment, of romance and adventure.”
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