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Mages Unbound (Fifth Mage War Series #2)

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Confoundment-spells break, new magical leaders arise, and the Bant family decides who to trust as war looms closer in this fantasy sequel.

What would you do if you thought your mother was dead, then suddenly found out she's alive and well? But your mother's not just living and breathing: she's a magical construct called a siren. And, more importantly, this personal family revelation is actually the least of your worries: there's a dangerous mage war on the horizon--and prophecy says it's getting closer.


This is the predicament of Mary, one of the four Bant siblings in Laura Engelhardt's complex and exciting second novel in the Fifth Mage War Series, Mages Unbound. Mary can't believe that's she's been lied to for so many years; meanwhile her husband, a half-fae truth-teller named Mike, has been transferred to the Department of Defense to work on an important collaborative project about Arabia. Then Cordelia, Mary's siren sister and fae-defender, arrives to soften the blow of the family's deceptions by explaining the former constricting blood-geas on sirens. During this visit, Mary unexpectedly experiences an astonishing transformation with huge implications for her family and for the world.


At the same time, neurosurgeon and new mage Amy Bant must undergo rigorous training to learn how to control her mage sight. In the aftermath of a deadly terrorist attack and an obsessive illnesses that impacts her mother Mira, Amy must go to Alantea--traveling with mages that she doesn't totally trust. Thomas, the last sibling, is in Australia with his lover, the powerful mage Kyoko, attempting to navigate the nuanced political games of the Mage Cabal. And as Mira develops a closer relationship with the Atlantic, the ocean starts to speak to her. All the groups are focused on unraveling premonitions about the upcoming Fifth Mage War: what do the oracle's words mean, and who are the essential players--or pivots--who will determine the outcome of the conflict? All of this, and more, is revealed in Mages Unbound.


Author Laura Engelhardt's masterly composed fantasy world continues to delight and surprise: there are werewolves, were-jaguars, and mysterious fae living on the banks of the Potomac River, as well as political consequences extending from Boston and DC, to Brazil and the Congo. The knotty sexual link between humans and sirens is deepened and further explored in this volume, leading to beguiling questions about coercion, passion, consent, and what constitutes love in an uneven magical partnership. While sometimes the vast intricacies of the story can be a little confusing, Engelhardt overall skillfully manages weaving back and forth between the tons of well-rounded characters and beautiful places she's created--even offering fun future insights through the chapter heading quotations. It's impossible not to get invested in these people and their plight: book three, please!

Reviewed by

Co-Founder of The Haint
Former:
Batavia Public Library Tech/Reference Assistant
Literary Agent Assistant at Barbara Braun Associates, Inc.
Personal Assistant to Marilyn Stasio at the NYTBR
Book Review Editor for KGB Bar Lit Mag
Business Manager of Columbia Journal
MFA in Fiction, Columbia U

Washington D.C., USA

About the author

An avid sf/fantasy reader, Laura writes the kind of book she likes to read: fantasy with intricate worlds and complex characters facing moral dilemmas. She is currently a mediator and arbitrator in New Jersey. view profile

Published on November 18, 2020

140000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Urban Fantasy

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