Tuesday, May 29, 2012

28. Shadow Bound

Book #28: Shadow Bound
Author: Rachel Vincent
Published: May 22, 2012
448 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

KORI DANIELS is a shadow-walker, able to travel instantly from one shadow to another. After weeks of confinement for betraying her boss, she’s ready to break free of the Tower syndicate for good. But Jake Tower has one final job for Kori, one chance to secure freedom for herself and her sister, Kenley, even if that means taking it from someone else…

The job? Recruit Ian Holt—or kill him.

Ian’s ability to manipulate the dark has drawn interest from every syndicate in the world, most notably an invitation from Jake Tower. Though he has no interest in organized crime, Ian accepts the invite, because he’s on a mission of his own. Ian has come to kill Tower’s top Binder: Kori’s little sister.

Amid the tangle of lies, an unexpected thread of truth connecting Ian and Kori comes to light. But with opposing goals, they’ll have to choose between love and liberty.

I've said it before but I'll say it again: Rachel Vincent is amazing. The more I read her books, the more I love her. Each world she's created, whether it be Kaylee's horrific Netherworld or this one, where blood and oaths rule the world, holds its hold and sucks you in. They are believable, frightening, and epic. The Unbound world is described so perfectly in the first novel, Blood Bound, that stepping into the sequel is smooth and easy. The city is separated into three parts, two of which are ruled by ruthless Montague/ Capulet types, eager to finish the war and rule it all. Where as the first novel showed us one side, this one lets us behind the curtain to Tower's fierce ways. Both are deadly and could break most people, but for strong women like Liv Warren and Kori Daniels, it's just another bump in their road to freedom. 

Vincent has a skill with creating strong female characters. Yes, they are flawed, and they've had hardships that make them the way they are, but they make it through it with grace and will. Kori is a ass-kicking, gun wielding, broken woman who will do anything to protect her younger sister, even if it means being bound to Tower forever. The book begins with her as her weakest, tortured and locked up after her actions in the first novel. But she doesn't let that stop her from seeking revenge on those who put her down there. In the process, she must make nice with Ian Holt, a man with a very special skill who Tower wants as his own. The tension between these two is perfect. Kori's hardness smashes into Ian's softness, but he cradles it like a pillow. He is the perfect counterpart to her character. He comes onto the scene like a knight in shining armour, protecting her whether she wants it or not. That relationship alone with keep the pages turning.

Like Blood Bound, this one is also told by both perspectives: Kori's and Ian's. A nice touch was that Vincent added the names to the chapters, which makes it easier to know who is narrating (even though there's no way not to tell that it's Kori talking. What with that foul mouth and all) Shifting back and forth keeps that tension tight. We get to see how each of the characters feel about each other before they act on those feelings. We get to see Kori's strength return with the help of Ian, and Ian's loyalties change the more he gets to know Kori. Each character has such a unique voice that you feel everything they feel, understand why they say the things they say and do the things they do. Vincent does a perfect job of never straying from their characters. There is never a moment when one person says something that feels like it shouldn't be said. Even when we met Kori in the first novel, we knew she was tough after a few lines of dialogue. This is a skill that every writer should have perfected, and Vincent's ahead of the game.

I'm a huge fan of Vincent's Soul Screamers series, which is a young adult series. Blood Bound was the first adult book of hers I've read (I haven't dived into the Shifters world yet, but they are on my shelf waiting) so I was eager to see how different her writing would be when aimed at adults. I was glad to see that the writing is equally as poetic and flowing in both, but with a lot more swearing and sexuality in the adult ones. And this is definitely not a bad thing. Vincent has taken both worlds by storm and I know she'll continue to do so for the rest of her career. 

“She wasn't feeling nothing. She was feeling too much. She was blocking it all out. That was a survival skill, and her still-beating heart was proof that it worked.” 

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