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Bound (Bound Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 400 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I was wary of buying this at first, but it went on sale so I just went for it. After flying through this book and finishing it today, I can't take any one star review seriously. I recommend ignoring them if you are considering buying this, just my opinion. Even if you don't care for the story this is in no way shape or form a one star quality book.
Anyways, one reason I loved this was because it took time to properly develop the story. There's nothing worse than when an author rushes and skips necessary world building and character development. You won't have that problem here. When you meet Rowan, you really get to know her and the world she lives in, and gradually see how she evolves. She's a 19 year old that is struggling to accept her family's and society's expectations of her in the anti-magic world of Darmid. Even with the fantasy elements, the pressure she feels to conform and her desire for more from life is something a lot of people will to relate to and sympathize with. Meanwhile, Aren comes from Tyrea, a land that embraces magic as a necessary and desired part of their lives. I won't spoil anything, but he is more of an anti-hero or reluctant hero than a straight forward hero, which is one of my favorite types of male leads. With him the author successfully creates a complex morally grey character that is still sympathetic and someone you want to root for. I also commend the author in establishing that both sides, the pro-magic and anti-magic, are capable of evil. There is no one dimensional or black and white writing as far as the morality is concerned, which takes much more skill to execute.
The many secondary characters are all integral to the story in one way or another, and there are many you meet along the journey to love, hate, and be intrigued by.
Finally, I loved the balance of adventure and romance. They only enhanced each other and both were an important part of the story. There's nothing better than finding a book with a strong central romance that still has a gripping and well thought out plot. All of the best books I've read have both, and you'll find them both with Bound.
There is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, but one that is actually well-executed-- can't remember the last time I came across one of those! A main story arc had reached an emotionally satisfying place, and it was 'on-to-the-next-chapter-of-the-epic-quest' -time, so ending there was appropriate, and completely not infuriating as the other two volumes of the trilogy are now available!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a well-crafted romantic-adventure novel, and doesn't mind a few PG13 elements of theme (sensual moments moderately sprinkled in, though no graphic sex scenes) and mild language (minor swears eg: words G, D, H, A, etc).
Otherwise the book is high toned and doesn't spend much time in the proverbial 'gutter'.
Personally, I SO can't wait to sink my eyeballs into the next book!
The book's premise drew me in, and I adored Aren and his character arc. I enjoy deeply flawed characters who are forced to confront the man in the mirror, and Aren went through a journey that tugged at my heart. Rowan was kind, sweet, a dreamer, but a bit too naive and passive for me to completely enjoy; still, I accept that not every heroine is a capable spitfire with demons in her closet. I was less interested in her "Do I have magic?" arc than "If I do have magic, what should I do?" and I wished to get to that second phase sooner and deeper. Her reaction to her romantic feelings for Aren was completely adorable, however, and I loved experiencing their relationship unfold. It was a slow burn, a thing of beauty, and I'm eager to see how these two take on the remaining (huge) problems in their lives.
Kate Sparkes also built a fantastic world. I didn't know what to expect going in, but the worldbuilding blew me away. I loved the nuances of the different countries, their politics, Ruby the dragon, the mer (especially Kel), fairies, the Wanderers, and the magic. I wished for a little more depth to the magic system, but that's not the focus here, and the magic was consistent and interesting. I appreciated how it was tied to the land and that in some places sorcerers would be stronger than in others. And I really enjoyed all the leaders Rowan and Aren came across in the book, of the Wanderers, the mer, Belleisle.
The writing was also very good. There was only one noticeable typo in the first half, a missing word I think (only annoying because in the audio book version, the actor just read it as is), but there were no writing foibles distracting from the story. I tend to put most books down these days after about a chapter because of those foibles (Thank you Amazon's "Look Inside" feature for saving me the money!)--head hopping, info-dumping, impossible simultaneous action (looking at you, present participles), awkward phrasing, scenes with no goals or dilemmas, viewpoint characters who do things without letting the reader into their head for goal and motivation, that sort of thing. There was a slight dip at Rowan's aunt's house where Rowan just sort of wandered aimlessly, looking around and drawing a picture (IIRC), but it was isolated, and otherwise, none of those writing foibles were present here--Ms. Sparkes and her editor did a fantastic job creating a seamless, well-written book. There were real problems, high stakes, and no overabundance of fluff in this book, all things I admire. :)
I stayed immersed in the world almost the entire time except for one argument between Rowan and Aren near the 85% mark of the book, but I won't spoil it here. Suffice it to say, it pulled me out, but not enough to diminish the rest of my wonderful experience with this book.
In short, if you're looking for a character-driven and romantic sword-and-sorcery type of fantasy, this is your ticket! I really enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and finding out what Rowan and Aren do, what happened with Kel and Cassia, how Callum and his family are reacting, whether Rowan and Aren will return to Ruby the Dragon as promised, and the fate of both Darmid and Tyrea. Ms. Sparkes has a new fan. :)
One day she comes upon a wounded eagle. She tends it's broken wing in a haze of magic she doesn't understand. Thus behind her adventure.
Rowan is a strong, smart and caring character that I just feel in love with. Aren is a man who grew up in a loveless family where cruelty is rewarded. Through Rowan he learns love and compassion. The troubles along their journey are pure fairy tale goodness. The book is well written and hints at more greatness to come. I cannot get enough of this world.