I usually try to post ARC reviews closer to the publish date of the book, but this is the last book in Freya Marske’s “The Last Binding” trilogy and I just couldn’t wait. A Power Unbound takes everything that was being built up in A Marvellous Light and A Restless Truth and throws it in your face in a glorious climax that seems to solve both everything and nothing.
A Power Unbound, like the first two books in the series, is told from alternating points of view of the main couple. In this case, it’s Lord Jack Alston (aka Hawthorn) and Alanzo Cesare Rossi aka (Alan Ross). However, unlike A Restless Truth, which was almost entirely set on an ocean liner and only mentioned many of the characters from A Marvellous Light, in this book, the team is back together. With all the major players finally in one place, the group is attempting to find the last piece of the Last Contract before the bad guys do.
First off, I have to address the relationship between Jack and Alan. It’s extremely compelling, as all the relationships in this series have been so far, but I wasn’t quite as invested in their relationship as I was with Edwin and Robin’s. I will say that they do “enemies to lovers” much better, and their encounters – at least to start – are more about playing a role than any real sort of feelings. That’s not really my thing. But this has been the slowest of slow burns, as it builds on their interactions from the previous book, and once you get to the end, everything feels worth it.
I am so unbelievably happy that everyone is back together. I missed Edwin, Robin, and Adelaide, and I am super in love with the found family aspect of the group and their meetings. The group splits into different factions every so often, so there are a variety of different dynamics that get to be explored. This ragtag bunch of misfits really do care for each other, even if some of them aren’t very obvious about it.
A Power Unbound introduces the concept of wealth inequality, which has been absent from the other two books. In A Marvellous Light and A Restless Truth, the two main characters – and therefore the points of view – were on similar if not equal standing. However, Jack and Alan are on opposite ends of the social spectrum. Seeing Alan with his family – who are essentially all living on top of each other – makes you understand his motivations and helps you understand him so much better. Having his perspective gives him depth as a character instead of treating him like comic relief.
In the past, there have been book trilogies where you can tell that the concept just eventually fell apart – where everything the series has been building to just topples under the weight of its own premise. (I can name a handful of them off the top of my head.) That is decidedly not the case in A Power Unbound. Three books in the making, and the final battle is delicious. In fact, the last approximately 50% of the book is spent setting everything up for that ultimate confrontation. And it ends in potentially the only way that it could end, and yes, I’m being deliberately vague.
I honestly cannot recommend this series enough. The characters, the relationships, and the world-building are all amazing. The mysteries are compelling. With all three of these books, I could not put them down. And A Power Unbound is the perfect conclusion, as it wraps up the main arc while still leaving enough open-ended that Marske could return to this universe if she so chooses.
A Power Unbound by Freya Marske is published by Tor.com and will be available November 7 wherever books are sold.
*I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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