Unbound By Jim C. Hines

Feb 7, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Fantasy & Fangs, Terrance V. Mc Arthur

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Unbound, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy.

There are a lot of fantasy and science fiction books out there, and that means a lot of elves, vampires, and other creatures of the mind. What if you could reach into a book and pull out a gorgon…or a ray gun…or a cure for a disease?

In Jim C. Hines’ Unbound, Isaac Vainio used to be able to do that as a libriomancer, but now he can’t. His magic was closed to him by the centuries-old Johannes Gutenberg because he let some Chinese book-mages escape. Now the world knows about book magic, but there is another force at large. Meridiana, a sorceress imprisoned for a thousand years, has turned ghosts into monsters with the power of a young girl, Jeneta Aboderin, a bibliomancer who can harness e-readers.book

Isaac is in clinical depression because he couldn’t protect the girl from the Ghost Army, so he tries to find the sorceress without the use of magic. Hines creates a believable portrait of a man whose personal power has been shut off, shouldering a bale-sized load of guilt over the people who had been hurt and killed in this book-wielders’ war. His dryad-girlfriend, Lena, does her best to interest him in other pursuits, and the fire-spider on his shoulder keeps him aware with warnings (he heats up and bursts into flame when trouble is near). There is also help from his lovely ex-psychiatrist, Nidhi Shah, who is Lena’s other lover (things do get complicated around Isaac) and the still-living Ponce de Leon.

Despite his personal state of misery, Isaac stays active in this third Libriomancer book, battling an angel, talking to a dead pope, burglarizing satellites, and trying to get back his magic.

Between chapters, Hines has inserted fictitious articles, news transcripts, blogs, press releases, letters, and an FBI dossier, all related to a world discovering that magic exists and the conflicts it causes. Some are silly; some are heartbreaking. There is a list of the books mined for magic objects in the story, including a few ringers that don’t really exist.

Unbound takes you places you’ve never expected to be, and you’ll want to go there again. This book is a librarian’s dream…or nightmare. Read responsibly.

To enter to win a copy of Unbound, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Unbound,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 14, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Check out more fantasy book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.

Use this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore:

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public’s information needs.


  1. Love Jim C. Hines!

  2. Library magic! This sounds like something I’d like to read.


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