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Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: The Unbound Empire

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Originally hosted by Breaking the Spine, Waiting on Wednesday has now linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings and it’s exactly as it sounds: we post about books that haven’t been published yet, but we’re salivating by the time the publication date hits.
This week, the book that makes me so excited because I’ve been dying to know how this is going to end ever since I read the first page in book one is:

The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso
Publication Date: April 25th, 2019

40618519The 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 Cornaro and the fire warlock Zaira attempt to change the fate of mages in the Raverran Empire forever, earning the enmity of those in power who will do anything to keep all magic under tight imperial control. But in the season of the Serene City’s great masquerade, Ruven executes a devastating surprise strike at the heart of the Empire – and at everything Amalia holds most dear.
To stand a chance of defeating Ruven, Amalia and Zaira must face their worst nightmares, expose their deepest secrets, and unleash Zaira’s most devastating fire.

Oh goodness, friends, did I freak out when I saw this cover. It is POSITIVELY GORGEOUS and it gives me chills everytime I see it. This series is so fantastic and so refreshing and I have absolutely no idea what Amalia is going to choose here coming up and trust me, friends, I am so, so curious.
Go ahead and mark me sick on the calendar on the 25th, boss. It’s time to go take down Ruven.
Read on!

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Books

The Tethered Mage

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 
*actual reaction after finishing The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso*
*attempts to calm down so she can properly write this review*
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*fails*
*tries again*
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*tries for a third time*
Friends.
You have got to read this book.
*succeeds, finally. Now, onward with the review*
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I actually, um, read this book before it was published.
(I know, right? This is probably one of the coolest claims of street cred I’ve ever had.)
I read a copy in the middle draft stages, as a beta reader thanks to my amazing internship with Naomi Davis. But even then, I could see how shiny every gem that decorated this crown of a story sparkled. With every draft, Caruso continued to polish and hone this story, until it became the glorious beauty that, mere days ago, was published for the entire world to read.
Selfishly, I put it on hold at the library so I could reread it just days after publication, because that’s how desperately I wanted to return to the world of Raverra.
Here’s why you should read it:
The worldbuilding! 
Seriously, from the first page, you are just completely drawn into this world, to the point where, when people try and draw you out of it, it’s almost a physical pain, because you just become ensnared and enamored so …effortlessly. It’s beautifully written and I love how we see so many aspects within this world, from the highest elite to the saddest pickpocket (and it gets even better when those juxtapositions clash and get mixed together, which happens constantly in this book, continually pulling at your heartstrings and making your opinions switch and complicate and question and GAH). I’m also thoroughly impressed by the way this book gives so much depth this world, yet also teases us enough to ensure that we don’t know everything yet–but we’re certainly hungry for more.
The beautiful magic system! 
Mage-marked innocents being conscripted through the magical power of jesses into the order of the Falconers and thus bound with someone without magic who has the power to control theirs, for the good of the realm in Raverra. Magical Witch Lords in Vaskandar who hold power specifically because of their magic. A struggling populace in Ardence whose opinions–and loyalty–to the Serene Empire sway like the tide.
I know, right? How can so much yes fit into one book?
The intricacy of the plot!
This book is the definition of a page-turner. I may or may not have read it in 150 page chunks over the span of half a week. I may or may not also have snuck in the last 20 at my desk at work, because the ending is just…whoa. Everything is so perfectly placed, so wonderfully interwoven to deliver the correct information just when you need it most, with twists you don’t see coming.
The budding relationship between Lady Amalia Cornaro and Zaira!
The characters are, by far, my favorite aspect of this book. I love how three-dimensional every single one of them are and how quickly I’ve formed a very deep attachment for them. But Amalia and Zaira deserve special notice: Amalia for her growth and truly becoming the woman she’s been both raised and created herself to be; and Zaira for her sharp tongue, purposeful lack of social graces, fantastic wit and fearlessness regarding speaking the truth.
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To get absolute chills from the badass scene on page 342!
I can’t write anything without giving this way, but holy goodness, I actually had to put the book down after reading that scene, because damn. 
If you follow this blog or know me in person or even just interact with me online, you know I love books. You know I love reading. You know I love really fantastic stories told with a passionate voice that feels alive. You know I love fantasy stories that remind me why I write in the first place, that challenge my creativity by saying, “Hey, this is how it’s done, so hurry up and finish your novels so we can hang out at the bookstore and rip readers’ hearts out together, eh?” (Because books talk to one another on the shelves. Obviously.) You know I love characters that feel like friends (or enemies) by the end, whose lives I become so invested in, that it borderline questions my sanity levels. You know I love intricate plots, wonderful magic, colorful banter, dashes (or full on dumps) of romance, characters that challenge and complement one another and worlds I wish I could live in. You know I love to read hours past my bedtime because “one more chapter” has unspokenly become my mantra, yet again, and you know, if I book manages to do all of these things, that I’ll talk your ear off until the end of time about how you need to read that book.
Well, The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso is that book, friends. And more.
Read on!

Categories
Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: The Tethered Mage

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.
This week’s victim: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso.
This is Caruso’s debut novel and even without a cover, as far as I’m aware (I’m sorry I keep finding books without a cover, but there are just too many good books that are coming out that I want to rave about, eye candy or no!), just based off the blurb alone, I am absolutely so stoked to read the start of this new fantasy series:

In a world where magic is scarce, those born with power must be strictly guarded—for their own good, and for the good of the Crown. Conscripted by the Falcon army from childhood, the mage-marked are cared for, trained, and housed in luxury. But for some, the life of a Falcon is a prison.
Zaira has lived her life in hiding to avoid becoming a Falcon, thieving on the streets to survive. But a rare and dangerous magic flows through her veins: fire bends to her will, and sparks rise at her thoughts alone. Without training, she is a threat to herself. And to the entire empire.
Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. There are many that would see her dead, simply for the power her last name holds.
But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.

Why isn’t this hardcover already on my bookshelf!?
I discovered Caruso on Twitter, where I started following her blog. I immediately fell in love with it and ensure I never miss a post. Her posts are a delight to read. They have spunk, they are usually about writing (so obviously, as an author myself, I always get giddy when I find awesome writing blogs) and they are so informative and fun. And it’s allowed me to follow her publishing journey as we both, I think, anxiously await the release of The Tethered Mage, which is ambiguously coming out this Fall from Orbit Books. I have a pretty good feeling this is a writer and trilogy that we are all going to get stoked about. I’m certainly waiting for her debut to find out.
*stares at the calendar hoping a magical date will appear of when her wait will end and the glorious nights of staying up past her bedtime reading begins*
Cheers.