A Ruse to Unchain Us is the fourth full-length novel in the Magi Accounts series and the books need to be read in order. As such, there may be mild spoilers for previous books in this review.
Now that they’ve found a way for Magi to avoid detection by the U.S. government and the NHSO, Mads and Jude are finally free. But their goal is to help as many of their people to find freedom and to fight against the government in the war that they know is coming. Mads is determined to see all non-humans free, no longer persecuted and enslaved. With the pride behind him, Mads, Jude, and the Ono-Nais, along with the Cloaked Freeway, finally take a stand.
As expected, the government fights back. They would rather see Magi dead than free. The battles are gruesome and many lives are lost. And though the Ono-Nais are in a safehouse, it doesn’t stop the fight. On top of that, the Red Cloth is still causing havoc and opening tears in the veil. Mads’ sense of justice has him and the rest fighting, even when they could be remaining safe.
When one group of people trying to escape gets cornered by soldiers, the Ono-Nais and their allies race to the rescue. In the process, the pride is divided further, but even the immense distance doesn’t keep them from fighting for what’s right, and Mads’ declaration and immense show of power may finally tip the fight in their favor. For the first time in over a hundred years, the Magi have a chance a freedom.
This series is chock full of stories, with companion novellas and novels interspersed with the main novels. Each book in the series needs to be read in order, because although the companion stories veer a bit from the main through plotline, there is still pertinent information being revealed. This book brings us back to both the main couple, Mads and Cos, and the larger through plot as well.
This story is long, and I’ll be honest and say that the pacing was a bit off for me here. Many of the scenes did little to advance the plot, only inching it forward fractionally. I would have liked to see some tightening up throughout parts of this book in order to tell a more concise narrative. At times, these scenes slowed the pace too much, taking away from the greater urgency of the major storyline. I also continue to find the sheer plethora of nicknames and terms of endearment used by all characters in this book to be excessive.
However, I absolutely adore the found family aspect of this book. Cos continues to add to the price, bringing more people in to care about. The pride truly looks out for one another, supports and cares for each other, and it warms my heart. Each character is unique and well rounded, adding something to the overall story. The characterizations and the way people relate to one another really shines in this book and the series as a whole. The sense of justice these characters have, particularly Mads, is wonderful to see, and I am always rooting for their success. I’m also wholly intrigued with the fight for freedom, and the way the author weaves the story, taking the reader to dark places and then bringing back the light. There’s a good balance between the dark, dystopian themes and the happier, loving relationships. There is violence and heartbreak on page, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
While I would like to see the story told in a tighter way, the characters and major storyline keep me reading. There is one more main novel planned, which will bring this plot to a close, as well as a companion story for secondary characters who have been building something off page for several books. I’m looking forward to both and the happily ever after that these characters have worked so hard to achieve.