Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: The Bloodbound

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…

Dear Erin,

I see what you did there with my name.  I like it. :)

Little known fact about me readers, back in HS I tried to get folk to call me "Alix" instead of "Alex".  Let me tell how well that didn't go over.  Sure football quarterback Jonathan wants to go from "Johnny" to "Jon" and everyone is "Sure thing! Right away!" but shy, quiet bookish Alex wants to go to "Alix" and suddenly its like she tried to take over the'cha if I was like Alix Black they wouldn't be laughing...

Megalomaniac tendencies of my own aside, this was a solid sword and sorcery tale with a heroine who backs up the size of her sword with skills and a fantasy setting that while familiar is none the less intriguingly set up.  I'm always down for some internal family squabbles leading to backstabbing treachery on the battlefield.

I found myself not enjoying the world as much as I wanted though.  There's large glitches in the world building, or in Lindsey's explanation of it.   I'm still kind of confused by some of the politics and I've only got a basic understanding of the magic system.  Lindsey spent more time on the character entanglements then the world, with mixed results.
And since the above summary decided to make it a thing let's address the love triangle really quick. I don't hate them as much as anyone else.  Maybe because I adore asian dramas, manga and animes where its usually more of a love polygon then a love triangle, but to me its not a dealbreaker (most of the time).  So the above didn't scare me.  What did scare me was that this would become sort of like the Alanna books (by Tamora Pierce).  You have a royal guy, a kickass girl and then her friend/comrade. 

Thing is I don't feel Lindsey does a good enough job justifying Alix's interest in either guy.  I understand why Erik suddenly has a thing for Alix - she saved him, when it was probably he worst decision to make if she valued her life at all and she continues to loyally serve him.  He just got a kick to his teeth by the one person he should have been able to (but really shouldn't have) trusted and dealt a heavy blow to his trust.  Alix is like a beacon of hope that not everyone is a jackoff like his brother. 

I have no earthly clue why Liam is interested in Alix.  Their interactions are cute, but I don't sense chemistry between them.  At least not on the level to overcome his "bastard" status.  Since we're thrown into the middle of a battle from the first page, plus well into Alix/Liam's friendship, we see very little of the "buildup" to why Alix would defy convention to be with Liam instead of her King (even an exiled King is more on her social level then Liam).

Actually there's the nail for me - I didn't "sense" a bond between any of the characters.  We're told of this bond, this bond is referenced by the characters and by outside characters, but we're not exactly SHOWN this bond.  So when all is said and done this is really less of a love triangle and more of a Love Lorn entanglement with me wondering why she would have chosen either guy.

I'm interested to see where Lindsey goes with the world now that she's opened it up to the possibilities of other countries.  I'm also hoping there's more development to the characters as I'm kind of sure Erik isn't as pragmatic as he should be for a King and given the conversation at the end of the book he probably needs to up his political clout quickly and efficiently.