DAT COVER DOH
Received this book from the lovely Kate Sparks in exchange for an honest review :)
Bound is a story about a girl named Rowan who tires of her mundane and forced life. She wishes for an escape into a world where the imaginings of her cherished fairy tales come to life.
Bound is a story about a boy, Aren, who strives to remove his humanity in order to take cold orders from those in power. His goal is to rise in the ranks and build a comfortable and stable lifestyle for himself at the expense (read as: misery) of others.
Fate brings Rowan and Aren together. With no turning back, they go on a journey that changes both of them into their best possible selves. Bound is written from both characters' perspectives quite equally, maybe Aren a little more.
Now for the nitty gritty. Bound reads very clearly like a debut novel. There are clear contradictions in the story and romance can be overbearing at times, despite the good effort to keep it within the fantasy genre. One thing that really irked me was how much Rowan trusted everyone despite Aren warning her multiple times that she couldn't. Despite her acknowledgement of that, she continued to trust Aren the least and every stranger they met like they were her family. What??
I can see how Sparkes wanted Aren's character to fall. Unfortunately, it fell a little short. Aren struggles with his decision to leave his family and his way of living, which is natural, but he doesn't struggle enough. You don't feel his angst, trouble, regret, or fear as you read. It's just a very 2D feeling. Sparkes did an incredible job of NOT INSTA-LOVING (woo-hoo!!) here. She could have. It would have been so easy, but she didn't and I applaud her for it. The growing passion between the two main characters in this story made the love story more real and endearing. However, again, I did not feel the characters falling in love. It merely just happened and I didn't feel the pull on my heart or feeling behind why they were so attached and attracted to each other. The lack of feeling I felt was one of the big reasons I can't give it 4 stars. The story itself is great. I was almost never bored. It was such a delight to follow these characters on their adventures.
The last 30% of the book was definitely the best. It may feel like a slow read at times, but that last stretch is well worth it. It was at this point, I started to feel what Aren actually felt for Rowan and I really hope to see that feeling more developed in the 2nd book. Anyway, I digress, PLOT TWIST HAPPENS and as a reader you are like "what...what? What happens now? The hell? WHO DID YOU SAY YOU WERE?? Where did your what go now?? GET IT BACK!! DON'T GO!!" Literally, you will be thinking these things all at once, it's okay. I understand. Take a deep breath and finish because it's worth it.
In short, this is a fun, light debut novel with great potential for growth. Definitely pick it up if you are looking for a good light intro to YA-fantasy, but be aware that this it is more of a love-story than a fantasy, though I'm not sure if that was intentional.
I will definitely be picking up the next book! :)