Author: Laura Engelhardt
Amy’s day starts with three things: Coffee, breakfast, then brains. In that order.
Relax, it’s not what you think. She’s just your everyday neurosurgeon who can fix everyone’s brain but her own. It doesn’t matter if she has fifty years of life experience and regularly works with mages—she’s still a mundane.
She’s turning fifty, and her last achievement was what, ten years ago? She’s not sure if anyone even remembers it.
Determined not to be a one-hit-wonder, Amy jumps head-first into a new opportunity. Literally.
Some people have affairs to deal with a midlife crisis—Amy has brain surgery.
The results are even bigger than her career ambitions, and Dr. Amy Bant will need the help of her siblings to survive what comes next. Cordelia, an agoraphobic underwater photographer, Thomas, a playboy with a Brazilian tourism business, and Mary, a choir director with a truth-teller husband are all keys to unlocking secrets a whole lot closer to home than any of them could have realized.
Turning fifty doesn’t have to be mundane—not when you’re in the Bant family!
With the Fifth Mage War on the horizon, the Bant family are entangled in their own pivotal roles and must navigate how to survive. Mundanes (non-magical beings/humans), Mages, Vampires, Were-beings, and Sirens all play a role in this tale that weaves together the contemporary world with the magical. There is an extensive cast of characters to keep track of that can be difficult at first, but they all come up multiple times to help the reader understand each of them. Sirens Unbound (Book 1 in the Fifth Mage War series) illustrates the world of magic in the real world while navigating through a wide variety of characters.
We open with Amy Bant, a middle-aged mundane who is a renowned neurosurgeon who is working together with mages on her latest project. This project is to help restore magical sight in mages where she works with mundane government departments, such as the Department of Defense, along with magical communities, such as the Danjou enclave. She is among the four Bant siblings that are included in this story. Her other mundane sibling is Mary, who is married to a truth-teller, and she has two siren siblings, Cordelia and Thomas. Their mother, Mira, is also a siren and their father has since passed.
The points of view switch between all the main characters which not only help us understand what each of them is thinking in certain moments, but also helps the reader navigate the globe as the story transitions around the world. The writer flows between each character with ease so the story continues to meld together even though the point of view has changed. Between each chapter, we find excerpts of Mira’s “handbook” on sirens. Although at first, these seemed like extra pieces of information about sirens, each piece helps to foreshadow the upcoming events.
Cordelia is a member of the Atlantic Court serving the Atlantic queen, Atlantea. Her dream is to free the fae in England that have been imprisoned and are slowly dying. Saving them is no easy feat and Cordelia must find a way that won’t have dire consequences.
Thomas finds himself involved with a mage who he helps escape from her bound vampire. Now that the mage is free, both Thomas and the mage both find themselves in mortal danger. They both must find a way to free themselves for good without endangering themselves or those around them.
There is a lot happening in each chapter yet also feels like it isn’t going anywhere. Each character has their own journey that they must follow (Amy with her medical work, Thomas with the mage, Cordelia with the fae, etc). Although the journeys seem separate, the tale weaves together so each relates to the other in one way or another. It was a slow read at first that picks up and pieces itself like a puzzle about halfway or so where you begin to see the puzzle coming together and everything that was described in the beginning all make sense. Now that everything is coming together, I loved the direction the story was going and cannot wait to read Unbound Mages!
**Thank you to BookSirens and the publisher for my review copy of the novel. Opinions expressed are completely my own.**