Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bound by Spells: A powerful adventure


What a blast!

Bound by Spells, the second instalment in the Bound series by Stormy Smith, picks up where the first book, Bound by Duty, left off. The opening chapter is a powerful one with interesting, even slightly scientific but enjoyable, descriptions of Aidan's transformation.

Also narrated from the first person, the second book alternates between Aidan's and Amelia's viewpoints, each being in a different place. These shifting perspectives keep the reader on edge while also showing us events happening at the same time.

As Bound by Spells progresses, we get many reminders of scenes mentioned in the first book, so one does not feel lost or confused, but rather the reader is able to connect events better and begins to make connections as the characters themselves do.

Amelia continues to be bound by her duty towards her family and her people. In the final scene of the first book and the opening scene in this one, she is seen leaving Aidan, not because she wants to but because she has to go with Micah and Queen Julia, whom we see more often that we would like in this instalment.

Since the novel picks up where the first left off, we are thrown directly into the action, which is quite fun and different from most books, which start out slow.

Bound by Spells is rich with characters both from book one and new ones. I particularly loved Dillon, the ten-year-old AniMage, and the way he talks and how he is quite wise and brave for a child. Also, we get to see Nathaniel, Amelia's father in a new light.

I also loved how this book has more animals and AniMagi and how Stormy Smith gave a fairly important role to Charlie, the dog and whom we learn is called a 'Sentinel'. 

Apart from Amelia, Aidan is a centre-piece in this instalment. We see his character grow and develop, in more ways than one. His love and care for Amelia are enviable.  

As with the Bound by Duty, Amelia's uncontrollable sarcasm gets the better of her and lands in worse trouble than she is already in. I can personally relate to Amelia at this point, particularly as sarcasm gets me into trouble – but not as life-threatening J

Also, we get to see more of Bethany, who, despite being only human, proves to be a major character in the novel. She provides comic relief, insight, kindness and is just fun with her southern-accent tirades.

The reader gets more than their fair share of the abominable Queen Julia, who tries to win Amelia to her side and demonstrates her twisted Hitler-like logic. Amelia and the reader see her for she really is, a mad woman on a mission to eradicate races in the name of purifying them for polluting Mage blood. While her intentions may have been well at first, she quickly shifted into a heartless abomination without a care for the innocent lives that may be lost.

At one point or rather moment, the reader sympathises with the queen, but that's only a moment and then her craziness returns.

Throughout the novel we see Amelia struggle with her Keeper power; the fight for who wins over the other is never-ending and a bit painful to read.

As with the first book in the series, Bound by Spells boasts many beautiful images, such as:

"I walked into a minefield wearing clown shoes."
"Our power was a faucet constantly turned on. As long as it ran, we lived. But if it turned off, we were done". Rereading this line and connecting it with the ending, a shiver runs down my spine.
"Her darkness sucked the light of my flame into an abyss, like a black hole eating the particles of light and the pieces of stardust from the universe."

Bound by Spells is gripping novel full of power, love, emotional surges and blue and purple orbs of power.

Stormy Smith has managed to write a book that is absolutely action-packed with bits of sarcasm, raging fury and tempers and above all an enjoyable ride. I couldn't put the book down and I'm currently dying to see what third instalment will unveil.

Note: I received an advanced reader's copy (ARC) of Bound by Spells in exchange for an honest review.