Title: A Power Unbound
Series: The Last Binding: Book Three
Author: Freya Marske
Length: 422 Pages
Category: Historical Fantasy
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: On the long, long list of series I’ve been sorry to see come to a close, but am nonetheless glad I got the chance to love, The Last Binding exists near the top.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Secrets! Magic! Enemies to. . .something more?
Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, would love a nice, safe, comfortable life. After the death of his twin sister, he thought he was done with magic for good. But with the threat of a dangerous ritual hanging over every magician in Britain, he’s drawn reluctantly back into that world.
Now Jack is living in a bizarre puzzle-box of a magical London townhouse, helping an unlikely group of friends track down the final piece of the Last Contract before their enemies can do the same. And to make matters worse, they need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross.
Cagey and argumentative, Alan is only in this for the money. The aristocratic Lord Hawthorn, with all his unearned power, is everything that Alan hates. And unfortunately, Alan happens to be everything that Jack wants in one gorgeous, infuriating package.
When a plot to seize unimaginable power comes to a head at Cheetham Hall—Jack’s ancestral family estate, a land so old and bound in oaths that it’s grown a personality as prickly as its owner—Jack, Alan and their allies will become entangled in a night of champagne, secrets, and bloody sacrifice . . . and the foundations of magic in Britain will be torn up by the roots before the end.
Review: If you haven’t begun this trilogy yet, please, for the love of all that’s reading, treat yourself. Freya Marske went all-in on the magic realism and incorporated it with classic doses of suspense and danger, then added a bit of found family to invest her readers in the unlikely alliances and subsequent friendships between her characters.
A Power Unbound is the culmination of the overall arc in the series: finding the third symbol of the Last Contract—the fae bargain that gifted humans with magical abilities. This is a lesson in the truth that with great power there must also come great responsibility (props to Stan Lee). That lesson comes to fruition in breathless heights and anxious peaks that also fulfill the truth that with great power often comes greed, corruption, and the lust to control.
Edwin, Robin, Maud, Violet, Adelaide, Jack, and Alan are the axis around which the story spins. It is them against the powers-that-be, which is a fraught place, and their mission often seems futile in the face of those who seek to ensure evil prevails over good. Jack’s loss of his own magic is a key element of the plot in A Power Unbound, bringing to light not only how corrupt is their enemy but also how much Jack’s disagreeable and haughty exterior masks a pain he carries but is physically incapable of exposing.
The relationship between Jack and Alan builds alongside and, more often, despite the elements of peril that extend beyond mundane nuisances. It also builds despite their class differences. Perhaps even because of their class differences. Their grievances with each other are myriad. Their attraction to each other is chaotic. The sex is a mosaic of spite and lust. Their animosity is real. When it turns playful and becomes a safe and absolute component of their attraction, they grow to care for each other’s wellbeing too.
On the long, long list of series I’ve been sorry to see come to a close, but am nonetheless glad I got the chance to love, The Last Binding exists near the top.
You can buy A Power Unbound here: