I think the reason I like this series so much is because it is very close to my "dream series" - the story resonates with the ones I have often created in my head. Mordecai had gained his power and didn't foolishly bumble around with it, but dived right in. Unlike many coming-of-age fantasies, there are little to no restricting authorities, thus making Mort gain experience and wisdom at a much quicker pace while he led his friends and vassals. And as a huge bonus, Mort is not afraid to experiment.
In this book, we continue to learn about the magic system, various enchantments, and the characters. Mort gets a patient new 'companion' to explain the magical world to him, but she/it does not have a conflicting agenda (refreshingly). We see the main character balancing multiple issues nicely, including suicidal thoughts in his friend Marc, weapons and armor, and threats. He has to deal with the king's threats of treachery and kidnapping while managing not to lose himself with the elements of the earth that he draws power from.
All in all, a great book.
But now for my short list of problems (only four, though I devote a lot of text to them):
First, the series still has the problem with commas:
“He said he would be at the tavern my lord,” Cecil replied quickly.
And with names as well:
“Lift your head Harold Simmons,” I told him.
It seems like this happens all the time, so I'm wondering if it is a style preference of the author. In my case, however, it just jars me out of the story a bit. Commas help divide up sentences so I don't have extra to interpret.
I looked up some comma rules
, and here are the ones that seem to be continually violated:
Rule 4: Use commas before or surrounding the name or title of a person directly addressed.
Rule 8: Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt sentence flow.
[Like the "my lord" phrase, I would guess.]
Rule 14: A comma splice is an error caused by joining two strong clauses with only a comma instead of separating the clauses with a conjunction, a semicolon, or a period.
Time flies when we are having fun, we are always having fun.
[Put an "and" after the comma or use a semicolon.]
Rule 20: Use commas surrounding words such as therefore and however when they are used as interrupters.
I didn't specifically find a violation in the book for each of these rules I listed, but I'm basing them off my memory of the reading. So it is quite possible that I am mistaken in adding a few, but there definitely are some reoccurring comma errors. While I like good grammar and always try to use it (feel free to point out mistakes), I am not a "grammar nazi." The story was very enjoyable once I trained myself to ignore noticeable comma problems.
A second problem with the style was modern language - this still felt a bit like modern American (or English-speaking) characters who were in a medieval setting, despite the many improvements made since the first in the series.
A third is the way Mort dealt with the problem of invisible intruders in his castle - he didn't ask his new guide about them or try to make some sensor things just in case invisibility was possible. A little frustrating, but quite minor.
BTW, the guide's identity for people who like spoilers:
Moira's "imprint" or "simulacrum" on/in the earth that teaches Mort.
Fourth, Mort sometimes seems to not grasp a fairly simple concept until his friends explain it to him. For example, once Rose and Marc were talking about the political side of the execution of a baron, and Mort couldn't follow what I understood pretty quickly.
Do these problems (and a few ones I forgot to mention) detract from the story? Not much, in my view. I've read some books with truly terrible writing, and the Archmage Unbound is nowhere near those. And the interesting plot (plus the various realistic issues Mort has to deal with on the side) more than make up for some small problems.