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Shadow Bound (An Unbound Novel) Mass Market Paperback – May 22, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: An Unbound Novel
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778313433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778313434
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent loves good chocolate, comfortable jeans, and serial commas. She\u2019s older than she looks and younger than she feels, but is convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan. Now absorbed in the dark, tangled loyalties of her UNBOUND world, as well as the travails of a teenage banshee in her SOUL SCREAMERS world, Rachel can be found online at www.rachelvincent.com or urbanfantasy.blogspot.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Kori

If you live in the dark long enough, you start to forget what light looks like. What it feels like. You may remember it in an academic sense. Illumination. A possible source of heat. But after a while those abstract memories are all you have left, and they're worth less than the memory of water to a man dying of thirst.

I didn't know how long I'd been in the dark. Long enough for most of the pain to fade into dull aches, though the latest batch of bruises would still have been visible, if anything had been visible. Long enough that I couldn't remember what shade of gray the walls were. Long enough that when the light came on without warning, it blinded me, even through my closed eyelids.

I'd lost all sense of time. I didn't know when I'd last showered, or eaten, or needed the toilet in the corner of my cell. I didn't know when I'd last heard a human voice, but I remembered the last voice I'd heard, and I knew what the sudden light meant.

Light meant a visitor.

And visitors meant pain.

The door creaked open, and my pulse leaped painfully—fear like a bolt of lightning straight to my heart. I clung to that one erratic heartbeat, riding the flow of adrenaline because I hadn't felt anything but the ache of my own wounds in days.

If not for the pain, I couldn't have sworn I was still alive.

"Kori Daniels, rise and shine." Milligan was on duty, which meant it was daytime—outside, anyway. In the basement, it was always night. There were no exterior windows, and no light until someone flipped a switch.

The dark and I used to be friends. No, lovers. When I was alone, I walked around naked just to feel it on my skin, cool and calm, and more intimate than any hand that had ever touched me. The dark was alive, and it was seductive. We used to slide in and out of one another, the shadows and I, always touching, caressing. Sometimes I couldn't tell where the dark ended and I began, and at some point I'd decided that division didn't really exist. I was the dark, and the dark was me.

But the darkness in the basement was different. It was false. Broken. Weakened by infrared lights I couldn't see, but I could feel blazing down on me. Caging me. Draining me. The shadows were dead, and touching them was like touching the stiff limbs of a lover's corpse.

"Kori," Milligan said again, and I struggled to focus on him. On my own name.

The guard shift change had become the ticking of my mental clock—the only method I had of measuring time. But my clock skipped beats. Hell, sometimes it skipped entire days. If there was a pattern to the granting of meals, and showers, and company, I hadn't figured it out. They came when they came. But mostly, they didn't.

I didn't sit up when Milligan came in. I didn't even open my eyes, because I didn't have to. I hadn't sworn an oath to him, and I hadn't been ordered to obey him, so participation was at my discretion. And I wasn't feeling very discretionary.

I rolled onto my stomach on my mattress, eyes still squeezed shut, trying not to imagine how I must look after all this time. Skinny, bruised, tangled and dirty. Clad only in the same underwear I'd been wearing for days, at least, because humiliation was a large part of my sentence and I hadn't been granted the privilege of real clothing. My period hadn't come, which meant I wasn't imagining not being fed regularly, and water came rarely enough that I'd decided I wasn't being kept alive, so much as I was being slowly killed.

I'd been a bad, bad girl.

"Kori, did you hear me?" Milligan asked.

I'd had no problem with him on the outside. He'd respected me. At least, he'd respected the fact that the boss valued me. Milligan had never gotten grabby and he'd only leered when he thought I wasn't looking. That was practically chivalry, on the west side of the city.

Now, I hated him. Milligan hadn't put me in the basement, in that rotten fucking cell of a room. But he'd kept me there, and that was enough. If I got the chance—if I ever got out and regained my strength—I'd put a bullet in him. I'd have to, just to show Jake Tower that I was down, but not out. Beaten, but not broken.

Milligan would be expecting it, just like I would, in his position.

The door creaked open wider and I buried my face in the crook of my arm, nose pressed into the dirty mattress, braced for whatever would come. Prepared to turn myself off and make the world go away. That was the only way to survive in the basement. Convince yourself that whatever they do to you doesn't matter. And really, it doesn't. How can it, if you can't stop it and no one else wants to? So I dug down deep, to a place where there was no pain and no thought. Not my happy place. Thinking of a happy place—any happy place—only reminded me that I wasn't really there. That I never would be again. I went to my empty place.

"Tower's on his way," Milligan said. "I think you're getting out."

My heart leaped into my throat, but I didn't move. Surely I'd only heard what I wanted to hear. If I wasn't careful, I sometimes imagined things, and there's nothing more dangerous in the dark than unwarranted hope.

"Kori?" he said, and that time my eyes opened. "You're getting out today."

I sat up slowly, blinking furiously in the light, wincing over the residual pain from the gunshot wound in my shoulder. I'd heard him, but it took forever for the words to sink in, and even once they had, I didn't let myself believe it. It could be a trick. Jonah Tower—Jake's brother—had told me I was getting out before, but he only said it so he could watch me suffer when I realized it wasn't true.

"If you're lying, I'll fucking kill you," I croaked, my mouth and throat so dry my tongue felt like it had corners.

"I'm not—" Milligan glanced down a hallway I couldn't see as a set of firm, even footsteps echoed toward us. "Here he comes."

I swallowed a sob. I'd expected to die alone in this false dark. In these dead shadows.

Milligan stepped back, and Jake Tower replaced him in the doorway, a steel-spined symbol of power and authority in his white button-up shirt and suit jacket, sans tie. I hated myself for how relieved I was to see him, when he was the one who'd locked me up. I hated his clean clothes, and combed hair, and tanned skin. I hated the apple wood smoke clinging to his clothes from the grill, making my stomach rumble and cramp. I hated the slight flush in his cheeks that told me he'd had two glasses of red wine with his steak—never more, never less, because Tower was in control. Of everything. Always.

Jake Tower was the heart of the Tower syndicate. We—the initiates—were the lifeblood of the organization, but Tower was the pump that kept us flowing through the veins and arteries of this living machine. He pushed the buttons and pulled the strings, and we belonged to him, all of us, bound into service, sealed in flesh, by blood and by name. We lived and died according to his will. And we obeyed because obedience was a physical mandate. Even when our minds resisted, our bodies complied, helpless in the face of a direct order.

But I'd found a loophole. I'd disobeyed the spirit of an order, if not the order itself, and as punishment, Tower had thrown open the gates of hell and shoved me inside. He'd locked me up and given Jonah free rein, and for all I knew, Jake had forgotten I even existed until…

Until what?

Until he needed me. Why else would he be here? Why else had he let me live, if my current state could even be called living?

Tower's nose wrinkled—I didn't smell good—then he closed the door at his back and sat on the edge of the bare foam mattress covering the raised concrete slab that was my bed. He grabbed my chin and tilted my face toward the light, studying me. I knew what he saw, though there was no mirror in my cell. Bruises. Dark circles and sharp cheek bones. Split lips. And the damage didn't end with my face. I looked like hell and I felt worse.

Tower looked.satisfied. "Does it hurt?"

"You fucking know it hurts." Everywhere. That was the whole point. With my existence reduced to fear, and pain, and dead shadows, surely I would never even consider another betrayal. "The lights?" I didn't want to ask, but I had to know. "Your idea?" Jonah wasn't smart enough to think of something like that.

Tower's lips curled up in a small smile, like he'd just remembered some distant childhood pleasure. "An irony I hope you fully appreciate. Absolute, inescapable darkness for the shadow-walker. Imprisoned by the source of your own abilities. How did that feel?"

I am a Traveler. A shadow-walker. I can step into a shadow in one room, then out of a shadow anywhere else I want to go, within my range. I can see better in the dark than most people. Sometimes I can look into one shadow and see through another one, somewhere else, like looking through a periscope, or one of those paper-towel-roll telescopes we used to play with as kids.

But the basement darkness was anemic, thanks to a grid of infrared lights, too high up for me to reach. So while my cell looked absolutely, claustrophobically dark to the naked eye, that darkness was too shallow for me to travel through. The shadows were dead. I was trapped in the element that had always been my ally. My escape.

How did that make me feel?

Like I'd been betrayed by my own body. Like I was lost to the rest of the world. Like I no longer existed at all, which would have been easy to believe, if not for the pain anchoring me to the reality of my own miserable existence. But I wasn't going to tell Tower that.

"It sucked, on ice. Happy?"

He said nothing. Whatever he wanted to tell me would come on his terms, and making me wait for it was just another way of making me suffer.

"Why?" I demanded, pissed off that my voice was as weak as the rest of me. "Why didn't you just kill me?" He'd killed others for far less than what I'd done.

"You needed to pay for your crimes, and others needed to know you were paying." He said it like he might explain that grass is green, as if it should have been obvious, and the emptiness in his voice was the scariest thing I'd ever heard.

"You told them?"

"You were an object lesson, Korinne. I showed them." He glanced at the slab of one-way glass in the top half of the interior wall, and my blood froze in my veins. I started to shake, and I couldn't stop.

"You let them watch?" He'd invited an audience to see me beaten, and broken, and humiliated, and… I closed my eyes against this new layer of humiliation.

"Only those who needed to see."

"Kenley?" No. Please no. I didn't want her touched by this. I didn't want her to know. If Tower was void of human emotion, Kenley was made of it, and she couldn't defend herself. That was my job.

Tower shook his head. "Your sister only knows that you're alive. She's anxious to see you."

I exhaled slowly and blinked back tears that would never fall, using them as fuel for the rage burning deep in my gut. Fury that would have no outlet for four more years. Anger that would fester and burn as I planned for the day when I'd be the one throwing punches and spilling blood. Jake Tower would pay. Jonah would pay. Milligan and the other guards would pay. Everyone who'd watched would fucking pay.

I would listen to them beg while they bled out on the floor.

But I'd have to survive to get revenge, and to survive, I'd have to play Jake's game. It was always his game, always his rules, and the only cards he dealt me were penitence and obedience. So I would play the shit out of penitence and obedience—anything to get out of the basement—and keep the cards I'd dealt myself up my sleeve. Until it was my turn to deal.

"I have an assignment for you, Korinne," Jake said. "A chance to redeem yourself."

I said nothing, because nothing was required, but my pulse raced so fast I had to lean against the wall to steady myself. Milligan was right. I was getting out of the basement.

"Ian Holt."

"Who?" I licked my lips, but my tongue was too dry to wet them, and now that I knew I was getting out, I found it hard to concentrate on the details, rather than the promise of regular meals, and showers, and relative freedom.

"He's a Blinder of extraordinary skill."

"You want him killed?" I'd never heard of him, which meant he wasn't ours. And if he could be used against us, he was a target.

More About the Author

Rachel Vincent is the author of the Shifters series and the Unbound series for adults, as well as the Soul Screamers series for teens.

Rachel's next young adult book is THE STARS NEVER RISE, coming from Delacorte in June of 2015, and her new series for adults will debut with MENAGERIE, coming from Mira books in the fall of 2015

Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who's been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy--but social media is a close second.

Customer Reviews

Within 24 hrs I had this book read and I loved every second of it.
Amber I @ AwesomeSauce
Characters from book one, including Liv and Cam, make appearances in the book in useful ways - meaning that they don't just pop up for no reason.
GoldiReviews
If you have enjoyed any of her previous work I highly suggest you read this series.
Melissa Mason

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Paranormal fiction by definition isn't normal. It's other, it's different. But what makes paranormal fiction so good is how it plays with all sorts of supernatural things and makes them feel real and relatable. Even in cases like the Unbound series, where words and oaths are power, where Skilled people can travel through shadows or blot out the sun. There is no question that Rachel Vincent's worldbuilding captures that perfect blend between paranormal and plausible, but unlike the previous book in this series, nothing else does.

I'm not used to having to be critical of anything Rachel Vincent writes, so bear with me.

If only the characters had been half as good as the worldbuilding, this would be a much more favorable review. But they weren't. Kori was grating from the start. I didn't believe anything about her. SHADOW BOUND begins with Kori being released from weeks of hellish torture where she was starved and brutalized in everyway possible. A couple weeks later she tops the scales at one hundred pounds and yet she knocks out massive skilled body guards and attackers left and right. Didn't buy it. Nor did I buy how quickly she started having romantic/lust filled emotions for Ian hours after meeting him (considering her rape and torture only two weeks ago). Worse still was the complete lack of chemistry between these two. Kori was over the top hard with temper issues, endless clichéd gripes, and one stupid move after the next (every time they go outside they get attacked...the solution is to obviously keep going outside and act surprised when an attack happens). Ian wasn't much brighter. He has an endgame that will 100% make Kori loathe him forever, but he wonders constantly about making sure her feelings for him are genuine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Mason on May 31, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kori is a Traveler, she is able to walk into any shadow and go where ever she wants that is within her range. The skills in this series vary and are much sought after by syndicates. There are Blinders who are able to draw shadows (darkness). Healers, which are pretty much self explanatory, they are able to heal. And there are also binders, who are able to make contracts between people that if broken can lead to pain/death.

Kori is recovering after being tortured and asked to prove herself by recruiting someone into the syndicate. With little choice she meets Ian, a Blinder with significant power. The syndicate's leader, Jake Tower, tells her to do anything to recruit him. Being the rebel that Kori is, this means she shows Ian all the negative things about being part of a syndicate so he will make an informed decision. Little does she know that Ian has an ulterior motive.

The book legitimately made me pissed off for Kori. She was tortured, and treated like crap and I felt really bad for her. I found Kori to be an interesting character and made me want to read more. The writing is amazing, as usual for a Rachel Vincent novel. If you have enjoyed any of her previous work I highly suggest you read this series. If you haven't read a Rachel Vincent book, do yourself a favor and go buy one now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RabidReads on May 25, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rachel Vincent is an auto-buy author for me; so much so that I couldn't resist pre-ordering Shadow Bound a month before its release. Then I got my hands on an ARC five days before the publication date which means that I thankfully didn't have to wait for my mailman to show up. The Unbound world is exactly how I remembered it, pure awesomeness. Vincent has a real gift for storytelling and will have you eating out of the palm of her hand in no time. Even though Kori and Ian's characters didn't quite do it for me and some of their actions aren't always exactly credible; there's still more good than bad to be had in Shadow Bound.

This installment focuses on the darker skills, namely shadow-walking and blinding. Right off the bat I felt a connection between Kori and Ian because their gifts are similar in nature and work in tandem. Even though they do manage to resist each other in the beginning it was obvious that they'd become involved sooner rather than later. As a result, there is a certain degree of predictability to the plot that made the story not as enthralling to read as Blood Bound. Although, Rachel does explore the limitations of certain skills and explains how a syndicate contract actually works which I found intriguing and nicely explained.

It was impossible not to immediately feel something for poor Kori. When we first hook-up with her she's being released from "the basement" after 6 impossibly long weeks of torture, rape and humiliation. Needless to say, she's not too happy with her boss at the moment and the last thing that she expects to find is love. I enjoyed her spunk, fearlessness and snark. Kori is fiercely defensive of her sister and will never hesitate to protect her at all cost.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PrincessPixistixx(WonderlandReviews) on July 12, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So, the big surprise that came my way was found as I eagerly ripped open this month's book club selections and found pulled out the first book. Shadow Bound, a book I have been searching for since learning of the release date. I was even more excited to see that this book featured my favorite character Kori. I love that spunky kicking butt gal.

I think the best part of this book was that unlike any other love story, love didn't make you weak or stupid, in fact I would say that in this book the character's actually became stronger people while in love.

Kori was my favorite from the get go, and to learn that after she was forced to help Liv and Cam in the last book she was punished so severely it made me want to jump into the pages and throttle these so called friends who abandoned her.

I love the way the author describes shadows to a shadow walker, she really brought them to life and made me think twice about the dark which haunts my fears.

I am eagerly awaiting the next installment as more characters were introduced and given a back line and relationships grew. This is a book full of the steamy romance to fog the glasses as you turn the page, heart pounding action that leaves you on the edge of your seat and a love worth fighting for that is the things dreams are made of.
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