Author: Laura Engelhardt
It’s ironic to find out your whole life has been a lie when you’re married to a truth-teller.
If only Mary could find some humor in it. But when her little sister, Cordelia, shows up on her doorstep, she’s finally ready to sift through the fiction that’s been her reality for the past fifty years. To find out what it truly means to live in a world of magick.
Her epiphany can’t come too soon because not only do her siblings need her, Mary’s restart may be the only thing that can save the world from an utter melt-down (and not just the emotional kind).
While Mary and Cordelia grapple with faeries and the FBI in America, their brother Thomas is trapped in a high-stakes game of mage politics in Australia. Back in Boston, Amy can’t even see through the fog of magick to button up her own blouse.
Can Mary pull herself together in time to rescue her family from the coming war?
Mages Unbound is the second novel in the Fifth Mage War series. It continues generally where the last novel left off. You could potentially read this one without reading the first one (Sirens Unbound) as there is enough re-cap and background to understand the overall picture of what is currently happening in the novel. However, to truly get an understanding for the story, it is recommended to read the first novel before continuing to the second.
Each Bant family member is continuing their own journey as they each play their own role in the upcoming Fifth Mage War. Thomas and Kyoko have arrived in Australia and are navigating life among the Danjou. Kyoko’s vast power as a mage is revealed as she is more powerful than anyone could dream. Her and Thomas must also navigate their mage/siren relationship with the differences their backgrounds bring. A lot of this novel focuses on their story as they try to free those that are bound while also helping the Pacific. The two of them continue to love each other and are rarely separated.
On the U.S. side in Washington DC, Mary and Mike are finding their new life with Mike being recruited to a new team as a military truth-teller. Mary finds newfound power as a fae and must not try to understand her new self. Cordelia is with Mary for most of the story as initially she is present to help Mary understand her new-found knowledge of sirens. Cordelia is also trying to comprehend the aftermath of her relocation of the English fae, the Asos Si.
Amy is now a full-mage who needs to learn to harness her new-found power. To do this, she must enlist other mages to assist her with the learning process. Jonah and Ted, two Danjou mages, are entrusted with helping Amy learn about her new mage power. In addition, her mage sight project brings new-found danger where everyone‘s lives are now in jeopardy and they must now locate to a new safe location. Mira accompanies them and she and Ted begin to explore a romantic relationship. Mira is suffering from the Heat, a Siren illness where the infected become attached to an object to a person. Mira’s object is Ted and the two of them must figure out if their feelings are real or if they are just magic.
Unlike the first novel that focused on the sirens with the excerpts from Mira Bant de Atlantic’s textbook “Sirens: An Overview for the Newly-Transitioned, 3rd ed. (2015),” we now have additional material from the blood son of Thomas, Jason de Atlantic. His textbook “The Origins of the Fifth Mage War (2089).” Together these two novels rotate for opening each chapter to both give background on the events and also foreshadow those that are yet to come.
This novel was a faster read than the first as the backstories have mainly already been set and the read is journeying along as we inch closer to the official start of the war. We end in Arabia where the next novel will begin and it’s interesting how each character plays their roles. The individual storylines are pieces of a web that the author manages to weave together to make a complete picture. The writing is well-done and complex. I definitely have characters that I prefer over others, but there isn’t officially any character that I dislike as each is necessary to the story.
Overall, the series has continued to captivate me as an audience member and I cannot wait to see what will happen next. This story is filled with a lot of details that paint a distinct picture as if the events are playing out in front of the reader. It is complex and takes some thinking to get through, but it is well-worth any effort. I highly recommend this novel and, again, I cannot wait for the next one in the series!
**Thank you to BookSirens and the publisher for my review copy of the novel. Opinions expressed are completely my own.**