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.
Insert main character, Kell, adopted son of "Red" London's royalty. He has always felt like a possesion and never really a family member, excluding the relationship with his brother Prince Rhy. This book really pulled me in at the beginning. Kell has a mysterious coat that has a different look and style for each of his adventures. Kell is an Antari, one born to blood magic. Antari are a dying breed and there are only two in the world. Kell and another who lives in "white" London. Kell's job is a messenger between the different Londons that exist in what I understood as different dimensions but all interlinked by doors only the Antari can access. Anyway, poor old Kell loves taking trinkets to and from different Londons although it's FORBIDDEN(You all know this is going.)
Insert Delilah Bard, aka Lila. Spunky (aspiring) pirate living in Grey London. She's just a pocket picker trying to get by in life. She is in desperate need of adventure.
Insert Kell getting in trouble, Lila having stolen a shiny magic rock from Kell, and boom their lives are forever intertwined. Lila gets her adventure, Kell gets a headache. It all works out rather well, actually.