Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: The Bloodbound

The Bloodbound (Bloodbound - Book 1) by Erin Lindsey

Publication Date: 09/30/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Ace Books
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 368
ISBN-10: 0425272680
ISBN-13: 978-0425272688

(Received for an honest review from Ace Books)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Erin Lindsey on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, The Bloodbound, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…


Thoughts:

Erin Lindsey brings readers, The Bloodbound, the first in a new romantic fantasy series, featuring swords and sorcery and a bit of trickery. Readers who love fantasy and romance will love the blend that Lindsey has put together with this book. It has all of the usual fantasy hallmarks, including an epic quest to restore the kingdom and enough magic to make things interesting, while also giving readers a good dose of desire. Readers who are hoping to bridge the gap between the two genres will find this book intriguing. A great new book, in a new series!

What I liked:

I have been a fantasy readers for many years and let me tell you, it sometimes gets a little one dimensional because epic or high fantasy tends to be all about the battle or the quest. Romance is practically non-existent, so when I found out that The Bloodbound was a romantic fantasy I was really excited. It's a great sub-genre but not one that is widely popular. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Lindsey surprised me and surpassed my expectations in a lot of ways. 

The world building in a fantasy novel is usually pivotal in whether it's a book I love or a book I hate. Erin Lindsey took a very different approach than what I expected. Fantasy novels often require a map and glossary for readers to get the true gist of what's going on, not so with this book. Lindsey was able to use a minimalist approach here. She gives the reader enough information but does not overwhelm them. There is no need for an information dump because she allows the world building to develop along with story, putting the characters in situations where their purpose and their beliefs become a part of the solution to the current problem. I liked that. It was a new and exciting way to view fantasy and I think Lindsey did a great job with it.

The Bloodbound provides the reader with a strong heroine in Alix Black, a noblewoman serving her required military time as a scout. But Alix is not one to stand in the shadows and when her King is betrayed she takes herself into the height of battle to save him. I liked the gender reversal in this one. Alix is forever saving Erik instead of the other way around. She is a character that is head strong and impulsive, but her heart is in the right place. I loved the fact that Lindsey was able to mesh fantasy with the a more modern idea of what women are capable of. Certainly not a usual thing in the fantasy genre.

The romance was a little bit cliche, starting out. Alix has a romantic relationship with Liam, another Scout, but it is not one she can count on. He is of a lower station than she is and a bastard to boot. Not a new idea for a romance novel, but definitely interesting when the fantasy aspects are joined with it. I'm not always a big fan of a love triangle, but it works here. Not only is Alix attracted to Liam, but she is flattered by the attentions of King Erik as well. Lindsey doesn't give too much detail in the bedroom, but I didn't expect that, because after all this is epic fantasy. I thought the romantic parts of the book were well written and added another dimension to the story.

One of the parts of the story that I really enjoyed was the battle to keep the kingdom out of the hands of Erik's treacherous brother, who seeks to destroy him. Fantasy is often about the journey or the quest and in this book, that aspect of the story is very important. I liked all of the political and religious background, with blood binding of the weapons and the worship of the nine virtues. Lindsey doesn't just throw readers into the deep water with this stuff, she allows them to experience it and that was pretty amazing.

What I didn't like:

There were a few places where the author used language and slang that I did not fit in with the story. She is perhaps trying to put a modern spin on high fantasy, but it just didn't work well. 

Bottom Line:

I liked the blended composition of the book. I love fantasy and I love romance and I think that readers who love both will really embrace this novel and see what this series may have to offer. It's too soon to tell whether it will be successful, but there is a lot of potential here. I think Lindsey gives us a great start to a new series.

The Bloodbound is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:


Erin Lindsey is on a quest to write the perfect summer vacation novel, with just the right blend of action, heartbreak, and triumph. The Bloodbound is her first effort. She lives and works in Bujumbura, Burundi, with her husband a pair of half-domesticated cats.

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