Ingolf von Dirchs is all that remains of the royal house of Kria. The bastard son of the dead Kaiser, he barely escapes the winter palace before it is overtaken by the armies of Salhara, Kria's oldest and bitterest enemy. In a last desperate attempt to combat Salhara's deadly magic, Ingolf flees to the country of Illussor, there to steal the sword of a man who once betrayed Kria to side with Illussor. But stealing the sword gains him something he did not expect-the descendant of that long ago Betrayer, an intriguing man with the pale features of an Illussor but the fierce heart of a Krian... Erich von Adolwulf is the proud descendant of the Holy General, a man who helped Illussor break free of the loathsome magic upon which they once so heavily relied... When the sword of the Holy General is stolen, Erich goes to reclaim it, and finds himself dragged into the country his ancestor once betrayedand wanting to protect the new Kaiser of war-ravaged Kria, who stirs in him things he has not felt since the death of his lover...
Scribd popped this up in my recommended reads (pre-romance purge) and I added it to my TBR mostly because a) the cover is pretty and b) stories about princes and intrigue and soldiers and whatnot are fun! And yeah, Bound turned out to be a pretty fun book.
Its best feature is its characters, who are full of emotional depth and heartbreak, aka my siren song. They’re also fun because they have such great personalities, though there’s also plenty of plot to keep things interesting. There are disguises! Spies and courtly knightly people! Wartime camp stuff! Castles and myths and yearning! Slowly falling in love despite starting off on a very bad foot! Multiple adorable couples! Friendship!!
Interesting tidbits about the world it’s set in! Mostly it’s a pseudo-European (Germanic?) place with magical elements; not really medieval (thank god) but definitely set somewhere in The Past. The interesting thing comes from how each country interacts with one another, and how one of the side effects of the quest plot is to reunite all of them into one. Like King Arthur! Love me some Arthurian undertones, y’all. I also liked how each country had its own cultural heritage, how each society had a different social personality, as it were. Made it much more fun to read than if it were set in one boring homogeneous white bread place.
Bound is a fairly long book, but it never felt like I was slogging through anything. The writing style had something to do with it. It flows in a way that edges of flowery but doesn’t cross over into purple prose, and it does a good job of balancing romance and adventure. Plus, again, the characters were SO much fun.
I was very much invested in the various protagonists and their struggles (romantic and otherwise) and it has the kind of war-intrigue-questions plot that I’m definitely into. I had a very good time reading it and I want to read the other books in this series so badly that I went out and bought them soon after finishing this one. (Something that almost never happens, y’all!)
There’s one downside: not enough talking, named female characters who don’t die and who play an important role in the plot. There are some who fit one or two of those categories, but only ONE who fits all of them and she doesn’t show up until nearly the end.
I have high hopes for the other two books, though! And luckily it doesn’t matter all that much that I read this middle book first, as each one can stand along (though they’re tied in by place and mythological characters, I think).
Read: July 3-4, 2015