Book Review: Bound by Kate Sparkes

Title: Bound
Author: Kate Sparkes
Genre:
YA/Fantasy
Format: ebook. For a full list of links to the book, visit this post on Kate’s blog
Date Read: 25/06/2014 – 02/07/2014
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

bound_promoDisclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Now that that’s out of the way, I want to say upfront, the reason that this book doesn’t get five stars from me is not necessarily that I don’t think it deserves it, but simply because there are certain aspects of it that are quite popular in this genre and no doubt appeal to a lot of people, but just never quite work for me. I’ll go more into that as this review goes on.

Bound is set in the kingdom of Darmid, where magic is banned, and magic hunters will kill anyone who exhibits magical ability without a second thought. Their neighbours over the mountains use magic quite happily, and are at home with the company of other species such as dragons, griffons and merfolk, and that just makes those from Darmid more suspicious of them. When Rowan, a young woman from Darmid with a love of fairytales and a life-long plague of awful headaches, unintentionally saves the life of Aren, one of her country’s biggest enemies, everything she’s ever known is called into question and she begins to learn that there’s much more to her than she realises.

I really enjoyed the way Kate Sparkes turned some well-used fantasy tropes on their heads, particularly regarding her female characters. They were not required to be pure, medieval maidens (even strong ones), and the fact that Rowan had not yet slept with the man she was betrothed to was considered even a little odd.

Aren was a a rather typical YA hero, and to be honest, I was far more interested in Rowan’s chapters than his (the novel is written in first person split narrative). However, this is one of the aspects I mentioned earlier that I know is really popular in YA fiction, and I know the YA crowd will probably really love him. He’s just not my type. I felt his change of heart and subsequent feelings for Rowan developed a little quickly, but it’s a bit of a catch-22, since without that, there would be no plot. I did, however, enjoy learning about Aren’s magic, and how magic works in his kingdom. Kate has clearly done a lot of work on her world-building.

Bound ends with a nice set-up for Book 2. There is still plenty that Rowan needs to learn, plenty of danger still lurking, and some interesting new characters we don’t know too much about. Kate is certainly a talented writer and I look forward to reading more! 😀

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Bound by Kate Sparkes

  1. L. Marie says:

    I’m glad you liked Bound. I’m curious though since I write YA fiction: what aspects of the scenes with heroes in YA novels are a turn off for you? Feel free to ignore this if you feel put on the spot. But I am curious since you mentioned this is a feature in YA fiction you don’t particularly care for.

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    • Emily Witt says:

      No, that’s all right. Personally I prefer a slow-burn romance, possibly lasting the whole series, to one where the characters are together halfway through the first book. I think mostly because they’re going to be teenagers or at least inexperienced in YA/NA and I like it when they take a bit more time/put a bit more thought into it. Also because personally, once characters get together, I just become less invested in the relationship. With regards to heroes, I’m not a fan of too much brooding about the tragic past (a little brooding is okay, but I have a very small threshold).

      And the third thing is split-person narrative, which I usually can’t stand, though Kate did it well, I think because she only swapped perspective when it was necessary, rather than arbitrarily every chapter or every two or whatever. I’m not a huge fan of first person anyway, but I can deal with it if it’s written well.

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