Review: Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith
I bring you another guest review from Sara Meadows! Today she is reviewing book 1 in Stormy Smith’s Bound series, Bound by Duty! The cover was just revealed for book 2, Bound by Spells, and is to be released in March!
Bound by Duty (Bound #1) by Stormy Smith
Category: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Publication: July 24th, 2014
Amelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she’s an Elder but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must maintain control but he refuses to explain why. Even worse, she’s betrothed to the prince of the Immortals and she doesn’t even know his name.
Finally breaking free to live a few normal years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky Southern girl and to fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is and not what she’ll be.
As she learns more about herself, Amelia realizes the line between love and duty is a thin one. As her power continues to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The question is, will her head or her heart win the battle?
“There will come a time, Amelia, where you must choose love or duty.
You have a duty to your people…”
I admit it: I am a book cover whore. I love pretty book covers and am more likely to check out a book if the cover grabs my eye. Bound By Duty, Stormy Smith’s debut novel, has a breathtaking cover, all smoky and purple. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to read the book. I didn’t even care what the book was about, I just had to read it (I’m a sucker for purple and smoke; what can I say?). I wasn’t disappointed; Bound By Duty lived up to its cover and is an awesome story.
Amelia Bradbury left home to escape her controlling father and stave off her preordained destiny. Amelia knows she is an Elder, which is leader in the Immortal community. (A quick note of explanation: in this book, the Immortal community is comprised of Mages, which Amelia is, as well as AniMages and Hunters). She also knows she’s special; what she doesn’t know is how or why she is special. She has been forced her entire life to hide her powers, so she isn’t quite “at one” with them. In fact, she often has a difficult time controlling her abilities. Amelia also knows that she is betrothed to the son of the evil Queen Julia, who unmercifully rules the Immortals, and that she only has a few years left before she is forced into this unwanted marriage. As Amelia attempts to harness her powers and search for clues as to who and what she is and can do, she must also ward off attacks by several unknown entities and keep her loved ones safe.
Amelia attends college in Brighton, where she can be far from her father but close to her brother Cole, also an Elder, and Amelia’s self-appointed protector. Rounding out the cast of characters is Rynna, Amelia’s surrogate mother; Bethany, Amelia’s Southern belle roommate and very first best friend; Micah, Bethany’s love-interest; and, last but not least, Aidan Montgomery.
What to say about Aidan? He is handsome, blue-eyed, and determined. He sets Amelia’s insides on fire. Aidan is sweet and kind and protective. Amelia, being unsure of her powers and having that whole “betrothal” thing to worry about, tries desperately to avoid Aidan but can’t fight the attraction she feels for him – and the sense of completeness her power feels in his presence. Much of the first act of the book centers on Amelia and Aidan’s burgeoning relationship.
Bound By Duty is a riveting story. Amelia is an interesting heroine. She isn’t brash or annoyingly confident. She is introspective, often insecure and unsure of her choices and movements. Amelia truly has no clue what she can do, both as a human and an Immortal. She doesn’t question WHY she is betrothed, or WHY the queen is evil. She doesn’t know how to use her abilities or even how much ability she possesses. She has spent her life hiding her powers and hiding from her father, who sheltered and tormented her to the point of breaking her. Much of the book takes place in Amelia’s head and we get a sense of how broken she is, and how torn she is as she struggles to fight her feelings for Aidan out of fairness to him because of her inescapable duty.
As is typical of this book genre, the males in Amelia’s life constantly tell her what to do and I loved reading the scenes where she tells them all to shove it, because that meant she was growing in confidence and coming into her own. I liked the characters and their interactions. The supporting characters in Amelia’s life are funny and supportive even when they are annoyingly overprotective. There are playful interactions and many lighthearted moments, which I enjoyed. I mean, who doesn’t love a good snarky verbal exchange?
The imagery in the book is beautiful. The setting is seaside and many scenes take place along the water’s edge, one of my favorite places in the world. The Immortals are all blessed with categorized eye colors that indicate to which group they belong, and the descriptions of the eyes are gorgeous (and maybe a little scary, especially when powers are being used).
At times, Amelia’s internal dialogue becomes a little tiresome, but that’s probably because I’m a cranky 35-year-old and not a young adult fighting intense emotional battles. It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of the story but once the location of the book switched from Amelia’s college campus/classrooms to mainly interactions with her friends and the explorations of her powers and relationships, the book picked up steam and sucked me in. I also enjoyed the twists in the story, some of which I anticipated and a few that I didn’t. I actually cried at the end of the book, as Amelia is forced to make an intensely difficult choice. I was mentally yelling at Amelia as I honked my nose into the tissues and brushed aside tears. I can’t wait for Bound By Spells, the next installment, to hit the shelves!
Bound by Duty: 5/5 Stars! Great writing, witty banter, paranormal creatures, and a heroine who has only begun to kick ass and take names.
“I know I’m an Elder but there have been hundreds of Elders over the years. There is nothing special about me…”
“Just like I always had, I would make the choices I’d been told to make.”
“I couldn’t stop my eyes from roaming. There was something tortured about him…”
Guest Reviewer: Sara Meadows
Sara Meadows is a busy mom who, when not hanging out with her family, loves reading, scrapbooking, watching anything to do with superheroes, and correcting other people’s grammar as politely as possible. Originally from Pennsylvania, Sara lives in Virginia with her husband, three children, and three animals. She reads all types of fiction, and couldn’t possibly choose a favorite book if her life depended upon it.