Bound was written by fellow WIPpeteer Kate Sparkes, but I promise this hasn’t had any impact on my review. I bought the novel with my own money, unbeknownst to anyone, read it, and then decided to share my honest opinion of it. Just in case anyone thought I was important enough to do sponsored reviews or anything like that (hint: I’m not).
I had been wanting to read Bound ever since it was released, but between uni, writing, and feeling bleugh I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Then there I was on Friday evening with nothing to do, sick of YouTube, too sick to do any work, with all my beloved books locked away from me. So I decided to buy Bound from iTunes and read it. In about 5 hours.
So, perhaps I should say I devoured it.
Bound is the story of a young woman named Rowan, who is fascinated by magic in a world where it’s illegal. She has everything she should want in life, and yet still feels unsatisfied. When she accidentally finds herself stuck with Aren, a young man from the country across from hers, where magic roams free, everything in her life will change, perhaps not for the better…
And that’s all I’ll say. You want to find out what happens, buy the book.
Buy it anyway, it’s fantastic.
Kate manages to explore pretty well recognised fantasy tropes (the oppressed heroine, the moody hero/bad guy/don’t know, typical fantasy creatures) in a way that feels engaging and enticing. Her characters have developed motives and backstories, with just enough left undisclosed to keep you guessing and wanting to know more. She explores the world of fantasy in a way that pushes at the stereotypes and sometimes openly contradicts them. Although some parts were predictable, it didn’t make them any less enjoyable or interesting to read, and it definitely didn’t feel like a retelling of a pre-existing story.
Although I wouldn’t say the beginning was slow, the plot definitely became more interesting as the story progressed. The ending was just the right mix of closure and open strings for the first book in a trilogy: not so many loose ends that it made you want to throw the book at the wall for not giving you ANY answers after all those pages and making you wait for the next book, but enough to make you want to read the second book to find out what happens to Rowan and Aren next.
I enjoyed the shifting POV between Aren and Rowan in first person, although I often found myself switching back to third person in my head. Perhaps that’s just because a lot of what I read and write is in third person, so it feels more natural to me. Both characters did have similar inner dialogue, but this didn’t particularly bother me and definitely didn’t take away from the story.
Also, bonus points for Kel. He was hilarious and I loved him and I hope there’s more of him in the next two books (Is there Kate? Is there?).
Overall, Bound is a terrific novel. It’s easy to read which makes it perfect for those days/evenings where all you want to do is curl up and get lost in a good book. I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a bit of fantasy, even if the traditional dragon magic fantasy isn’t your thing.
I will definitely reread, and will be buying the paperback to add to my awesome home library when I return from exchange next year!