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The Unbound Empire

(Swords and Fire #3)

by
4.43  ·  Rating details ·  321 ratings  ·  54 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
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Paperback, 560 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Orbit (first published April 25th 2019)
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4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  321 ratings  ·  54 reviews


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James Tivendale
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, freecopy
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
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Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
This may be my top book of the year. I am emotionally spent and gutted and I loved it SO so much.

Review to come!
Sara
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
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Lou
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
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Maddie
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.
Lisa
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2019/0...

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
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imyril
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
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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
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USOM
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
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Munch
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
...more
Tara
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mitch
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
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
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S.J. Higbee
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with the second book, the political and personal stakes in this book continue to ramp up. Amalia continues to grow from the shy academic, whose real passion was studying magical practices, to a political player in her own right, determined to push through a piece of legislation that will impact every magic-user in the Empire. I love her character progression – along with the changes that every other major character undergoes. Caruso makes that aspect of writing a series look a lot easier than ...more
Kim Campbell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jayde Hope
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m happy that there’s a resolution to the story but I now have that reading hangover, the one where your heart and gut drop because you’ve finished something you really enjoyed but there’s so much more you want to know. I will now spend my evening dreaming of where Amalia and Kathe will go. How will Lord Caulin try and undermine the new world order? Will the Doge kill him or will Zaria? I felt Ruven’s death was a little anticlimactic but at the same time I like the process. I really enjoyed thi ...more
Beth
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Review to come on vampirebookclub.net
Dianna
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved the first two books in this trilogy, and I was super pumped to read the conclusion to the trilogy. I breezed through the whole book in a day and could not put it down, which lead to me finishing it way past my bedtime.

Melissa Caruso did an excellent job wrapping up the trilogy. All of the characters continue to mature and grow and are faced with difficult decisions to make, respectively. The story had me on the edge of my seat, with twists thrown in that had me gasping in sho
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Greymalkin
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mgv22
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a good conclusion to a series that, although perhaps somewhat light, never let me down and actually succeeded in improving as it unfolded.

When I began this third and final installment of the Raverran series by Melissa Caruso, I was still very pumped from reading book two (The Defiant Heir) to the point where I was a little impatient about the pacing in the first hundred pages or so, as we follow our protagonist, Amalia Cornaro, in her very decent politicking efforts to promote the rig
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Munch
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
...more
Effy
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book several days ago and I am still blown. Away.

Wow.

My only complaint for this series is that it isn't more popular. I don't understand why it's gotten so little attention and can only hope that changes with the release of Caruso's next series, whatever that may be. This was the first time in a long while, probably years, that I was actually sad to finish a trilogy and know there would be no more books coming out with these characters. While many authors stretch out stories th
...more
Sifa Poulton
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've read my other reviews (or follow my Twitter), you'll know how much I adore Melissa Caruso's Swords and Fire series. In December, I said that THE UNBOUND EMPIRE was my second most anticipated read of 2019, and this book was so worth the wait.

Having finished my re-read of the first two books yesterday afternoon, I picked up this book and read it one sitting last night. I don't even want to guess what time I finished, but it was so worth it.

This book is amazing.

There are so many twists an
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Trudie Skies
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What can I say, except this has been one of my favourite fantasy trilogies in years. If you loved the first two books in The Tethered Mage series, then there's no excuse to miss this. The stakes are high, the action is tense, and throughout all the action and twists I kept wondering how they were going to get out of this mess as things kept going from bad to worse. Not only does Amalia and Zaira have an empire to save, but things also become personal.

In Unbound Empire, Amalia deals with thr
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Marissa
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This trilogy just got better with every book. Stakes got higher, choices got harder, and consequences got very, very real.

The question of how far you are willing to go to stop an extremely powerful tyrant -- a tyrant with no morals, no scruples, just a lust for power and a magical ability that makes him almost impossible to stop -- is one question that animates this novel, and the corollary of how you can go to the lengths necessary to stop him while still retaining your own soul is the other. S
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Teri B
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic ending for an amazing series. It took a moment to get into the book but then, well, as reader you are in for quite a ride. The pace constantly picks up, there are developments and twists and turns aplenty to keep you on your toes, and the inclusion of politics and what it means to have a functioning political system where several people have been bestowed with the power to rule over the rest, as well as the different solution, the lands of the witch lords have, is amazing.

Amalia
...more
E
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book!!!!!! The worldbuilding! The characters!!! The twists! And then the more twists!!! The whole series!!!! Leading up to this point!!!
I lost count of how many times I gasped out loud!!! I missed my stop on the subway once. Some of what happened to characters ripped my heart out- some made me giggle.
As good, in whole different ways, as its predecessors in the series. I wish there was more to read. But I'm glad it ended the way it did. Time to shove the first book into people's hands and g
...more
Pierce
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Starting this series, I expected great things, considering a lot of the praise and the fact that it had a highly touted debut. What I was hit with was a solid punch of YA romance and standard protagonist. I'm glad I didn't quit. There is absolutely nothing negative implied with the YA label. I can and have enjoyed my share. But I was a little taken by how transparent and bland the initial love story was in the novel. That is my only criticism there as the story line and writing matured and becam ...more
Kristen
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
...more
Brooke
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 rounding up. This series left me wanting. The first one showed a lot of promise, but there wasn't as much character development as I would have liked. In fact, the main characters ranged from so-so to boring and the romance ranged from meh to gag-worthy. I did like the magic and some of the world building along with the political issues and intrigues. I also could have done without all the gay relationships, it just muddied the story. I would have to say that I kept reading because of Ruven, ...more
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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)
“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.” 0 likes
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