Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bound to You - Reviewed by Trix

Series: Vranthian Vampires #1
Publisher: Mojocastle Press

Under the dark skies of Vranthia The Wasting has spread, claiming victims by the thousands. Disease, madness and death shroud this fierce warrior race.

With the recent death of their mother, Queen Srionna Balacjek, and the imminent demise of their grieving father, King Kamet; three brothers must now find their own path. Will The Wasting’s dark madness claim them all as deceit and lies turn brother against brother. Or, is the key to saving their people in the legend of the trion. And will they find it in time?

Draven Balacjek -- warrior, Prince, immortal. Fierce in battle, sure and deadly as a dark a storm or the shadows he walks among, must choose between the ties of brotherhood or the possibility of a life without the parts of his soul he has bound in blood and magic.

The Vranthians have taken everything from Ook. Desecrated the Darengy people as a whole. But the visions of a grave-warrior tell no lies and the spirit of the human along with the fierce strength of his Prince, Draven Balacjek call to him as nothing before. Can their love together heal the wounds that time has wrought and free him of his darkness?

For singer, Leah Allen, the choice was never hers to make. But life, like the music her heart clings to, has a way of playing itself out. Will this strange new world and the fierce warriors she meets within it bring her shattered past the healing she has always needed or will the strangers she finds herself bound to be her hearts undoing? Can she make a choice between dark, intense Draven and exotic, muscular Ook?

Does she HAVE to choose?

Trix's Review: 
3.5 stars
There is some interesting genre-straddling going on here. The opening scenes, where the bleakness of Vranthia is contrasted with the nightclub where human heroine Leah sings, hint at an urban fantasy. That quickly changes to "space opera" when Leah is kidnapped and whisked off to Vranthia by the evil Kantella. I'm not a regular reader (or fan) of the "damsel in distress" trope, but once I realized that this story would use it as a means to an end, I managed to relax and let myself see how it would play out. M'Lady keeps the plot moving very quickly, which is a double-edged sword. While this adds to the urgency of Leah's situation, it also makes the plot exposition rather rushed. The world-building is intriguing, but because of the book's short length it gets shoehorned in via some expository paragraphs that feel rather forced. Likewise, the romance and eventual menage is central to the plot resolution, but there's so much going on with the Vranthian political intrigue and medical crisis (not to mention Leah's abduction and rescue) that it isn't given room to blossom in this installment. The rescue and the romance both feel pretty frenetic at the end; more length for the story overall would have let them both breathe and evolve. (The same goes for the paranormal aspect; if it weren't for the series' title and the talk of fated mates, the vampirism would almost be nonexistent.) It's not often that I wish that a book were longer, though, which is a testament to the adventure M'Lady presents.

I enjoyed BOUND TO YOU most when I thought of it as a long short story, instead of a short novella. M'Lady's style can be rather lyrical at times, and this heightened the "futuristic fable" feeling to me. It does work as a teaser for the rest of the series; I can already imagine myself reading the second installment, CLAIMED BY YOU. (While it's even shorter, and the story template seems distressingly similar, the idea of Leah's sassy friend Cyn meeting Vranthian vampire prince Kuthar does seem really fun!)

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