Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

This book found its way onto my TBR at some point last spring. At the time I was rocking back and forth between urban fantasy and historical mystery and this book’s blurb really appealed to me. I found the book itself in one of those 3 for 2 offers at the end of summer. I snapped it up at that time then I did my usual: popped it on my living room bookshelf and promptly forgot about it until I just picked it up at random.

I know this, that and the other about the author’s other books and it left me unsure as to whether she would appeal to my tastes. Then again, the book is published by Mira and they also publish some of my favourite authors so I kept hope!

Title: Blood Bound
Series: Unbound #1
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Mira
Target Audience: Adult
Pages: 463
Chapters: 30
PoV: 1st person
Tense: Past tense

Story: Bound by blood, condemned by fate 

As a bloodtracker, Liv is extremely powerful. And in a world where power is a commodity that can get you killed, Liv's learnt to survive by her own rules. 

Rule number one? Trust no one. 

But when a friend's daughter goes missing, Liv is bound by a potent magical oath. She can't rest until the child is safe. 
And that means trusting her dangerous ex, Cam. 

A sinister prophecy tells that she and Cam will be the death of each other, yet Liv's tired of being a slave to destiny. She's ready to play the forces controlling her world at their own game. 

No matter what the cost.

Thoughts and impressions: Well, I can say with absolute certainty that my worries were completely and utterly unfounded. Within the first few pages, I knew that this was the sort of urban fantasy that would sweep me off my feet. And sweep me off my feet it did! As I said, the first chapter told me that this would be the sort of book that I love but it took a couple more chapters until I was so caught up in the action that there was no way to extricate myself until I’d finished the book.

The synopsis is a little misleading. Everything mentioned in it does take place, yes, but the action is really kick-started by the murder of this same friend’s husband, which precipitates the kidnapping of her child much later on in the story.

Anne, the friend, and Liv have a contract along with two other friends that requires them to help in any way they can if it is asked of them. In the context of the novel, should they refuse to help their body will start to systematically shut down until the heart stops beating. Certainly far from a comfortable way to die.

As Anne specifically asks Liv for help, there’s not much Liv can do other than accept. When Anne expands this request that she work with Cam – the man she’s been avoiding due to a foretelling that they will kill each other – Liv is catapulted into a world of syndicate secrets that she’d done her very best to steer clear of all these years.

I’m not entirely sure that I bought the relationship between Liv and Cam. Obviously the romance was already there so there was no budding relationship. She walked out on him six years ago, though, and six years is a very long time to not move on from a three year relationship. Stukkm their interactions were often intense and leant a very different aspect to the book.

The story is written in the first person and follow’s both Liv and Cam’s PoVs. I would have liked to have seen Cam’s reaction to how things played out in the climax but the story stayed in Liv’s PoV at that point. At first, I transferred this hope to getting this from him in the next book in the series but the sequel is going to follow Kori, another of the four friends contracted to help each other. Then again, maybe Kori’s story will also showcase Cam and Liv a bit just as she featured in theirs. A girl can hope! I’d say that Cam and Liv’s story is far from over, though, so maybe things will come back to them in a future book. I certainly hope so.

Occasionally, the characters were somewhat slow on the uptake. Not too-stupid-to-live slow, but slow nonetheless. I’d find that I had pegged the next reveal as obvious but Liv or Cam (or both) would continue to blunder about in blissful ignorance until the obvious really would not be ignored anymore. When I see things like this, it makes me wonder whether I’m sometimes just as slow when faced with the facts. I’d guess that I probably am but it can still be frustrating in novels when the characters are blind to what’s staring them right in the face. As I said, at least the characters weren’t stupid – just a bit slow at putting two and two together.

The world that Rachel Vincent has dreamt up here is fascinating. There’s no specific era or setting (other than it being in the US) but I’m tempted to imagine it being in the near future somewhere near the East Coast. I don’t know why, that’s just where I situated it in my head.

In this reality, certain people have what are called Skills and these Skills have led to the rise of two crimes bosses in “the City”. It was very mafia-esque in this dog-eat-dog world where allegiances collide quite spectacularly at times. I love the idea that a tattoo on your arm could bind you so tightly to a syndicate that any attempt to go against your boss’s orders would result in your body killing itself. Certainly a very bleak image of life though I have no doubts that this is what organised crime would become in such a world.

I really enjoyed my foray into Liv’s life and I hope that the series will return there in a future book. As it is, I’m looking forward to learning more about Kori later this year.

Style: I’m not entirely sure that Cam and Liv’s voices are very distinct, a pitfall of having multiple first person narrators. This didn’t matter to me as I was reading, though. I was too engrossed to care.

Final verdict: The book exceeded all of my expectations. I loved it! 5 stars

Extra notes: Both bad language and sex present.


  1. This book is on my to read list for a long time. And when I read a review like this I really should buy this book. But there are so many more books that I want. Sigh...decisions decisions....

    Have a nice evening :D

  2. Yes! Youre extra note did it for me :D I buy it. LOL.

  3. I have yet to read any of Rachel Vincent's books but I hear amazing things about them all the time. I own a few of her Soul Screamers novels but I think I'll pick up Blood Bound on my next book buying spree. :)

    Great review!

  4. I read and loved this book as well. I thought it reminded me a little of Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane with the Gang like wars/sides going on. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.
    Great Review!

    Amanda @ Sisters Unedited

  5. Yay! I loved this book and can't wait for Shadow Bound. I agree with you, the world is really cool, and I imagined the same general setting you did.

    Hmmm, you've reminded me how much I liked this book. I think I might have to reread it soon :)

  6. @Nicola (pocketfullofbooks) I've read the first book in the Soul Screamers series and I think that Blood Bound was the better first book of the two! But it might depend on whether you prefer lit aimed at YA or adult. I'm pretty easy going but Vincent's world building just felt a lot stronger in Blood Bound. Hope you enjoy both series anyway!

  7. @mariska These decisions are always the hardest! If you're into urban fantasy then I can recommend this one. It's one of the best UF stories I've read so far this year.

  8. @Sisters Unedited I haven't read Downside Ghosts yet though I keep receiving recs for it! Only a couple of weeks until Shadow Bound is here! Woo! =)

  9. @Kate Hehe, it deserves a reread before the sequel comes out! I hope Liv and Cam have at least some minor role in Shadow Bound in order to wrap up their story a bit better.

  10. Great review! I read this one when it first released and loved it as well! Of course I loved Rachel's prior books so that may be part of it! But I loved this new world she created!

  11. i think i never read this genre before, but after read your review, i will try this one :)

  12. Great review. I've been thinking about reading this for awhile. From your review, I think I have to make a better effort.


Hi - thank you for commenting. I love comments. What's more, I'm a big believer in comment karma! :) If you leave a comment, I will do my best to get back to you and leave a comment on your blog in turn (please keep in mind that this may take a few days!).