Reviewed by Tori
As the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter—and a member of Ipswitch’s Royal family—Xandra Morgan should be a witch of incredible power. But things don’t always turn out like you expect…
Born in a world of magic that which she seems to possess none of, Xandra Morgan has accepted this and gone on with her life. Her family however, considered royalty in the mage world, is not as accepting and are constantly pushing, prodding and even poisoning her in hopes that her latent powers will show themselves. When she begins to have empathic visions of death that lead her straight to the bodies, she finds herself an unwilling pawn in a desperate battle for power and control. A battle that could end her life at the hands of a madman.
Soulbound is a dark noir fantasy thriller. From page one we are submerged into the interesting and devious world of witches, warlocks, and magic. Well-plotted and cast with a strong and personable of characters, Soulbound is filled with tense suspense, delicious betrayal, and dangerous antagonists. This paranormal “whodunit” will keep you guessing till the very end.
Our heroine, Xandra Morgan, is a strong, intelligent heroine with lively dialogue and a backbone of steel. Though she considers herself a magical failure, she doesn’t whine about her fate. She has gone on to make a name for herself in the mundane world and is generally happy. That is, until she gets around her family. When she comes home for a special event, she is shocked when she is led by “something” to a dead body in the woods. A dead body she dreamed of the night before. She is also wary because she dreamed of Declan Chumomisto.
Declan, a powerful and dangerous warlock, entered Xandra’s life on her nineteenth birthday, leaving her with a power mark similar to his and no explanation. She doesn’t see him again until 7 years later and is dismayed to find him just as dark, dangerous, and attractive. Declan is over 200 years old and walks a fine line between the light and dark magic. Declan is drawn to Xandra for reasons all his own and only when he chooses to share does Xandra realize just how deeply they are connected.
Multiple story lines and subplots engage the reader complement without overwhelming each other. It is a bit confusing in the beginning as we are subjected to watching everything unfold through Xandra’s eyes. Xandra finds her new ability to be disconcerting at best. Being a dead body divining rod is no fun, especially when you are able to feel every minute of their death and wear the evidence of it on your body. Though Ms. Adams does a wonderful job of imparting the emotional and mental tolls placed upon Xandra as she struggles to understand what is happening to her and around her, I did find myself wanting to know more external information on the plot and to see what others were doing. The clues are given sparingly throughout the story, seemingly out of context. It’s only at the end are you able to piece it all together, along with Xandra.
The secondary characters are extremely complex in nature and personality. Some add to the overall bleakness of the story while others are shining lights illuminating the story. Everyone here has their own agenda and hidden background stories that add depth and richness to the storyline. I liked that there are moments of dry and whimsical humor in this book that keeps it from becoming too dark.
The romance is very low key in this installment but plays an important part in the storyline. A few steamy scenes are seen but it’s the chemistry and the emotions between Xandra and Declan that pulls you in. You can feel the sexual tension between them yet for reasons imparted in the story, you understand why they are both hesitant to act on it. There is the makings of a small love triangle but the ending leaves us unsure if that will bear fruit or not.
There were only a few problems I had with this story. One is the level of violence. Normally, I’m not one to shy away from violence or circumspect situations but I really feel that readers should be warned in advance there is scenes of sexual violence, rape, and torture. Another was something I already mentioned. The presentation makes it very easy to get confused. It wasn’t until well into the story that things began to make sense.
The ending is a whirlwind of action, tense situations, and revelations that boggle the mind when Ms. Adams finally chooses to reveal the answers to your questions. The immediate threat is neutralized and the conflict resolved though it leaves off somewhat abruptly and in an interesting position for the second book in the series, Vengeance Bound, set to release December 3, 2013. Soulbound is a wonderful start to a new series and I am looking forward to seeing what Ms. Adams has in store for us in Vengeance Bound.
Overall Rating: B