Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison
Shadow Bound is Erin Kellison‘s urban fantasy debut (and one of the books I’ve picked up as part of Dark Faerie Tales’ reading challenge). Since it’s being advertised as a guaranteed read by the publisher, I had fairly high expectations going in.
In Erin Kellison’s world, there are wraiths, malevolent beings that steal people’s essence with a very evil kiss. Wraiths exist in the shadows of the world, hidden from most everyone, except for a handful of people in the know, including Adam Thorne, who founded the Segue Institute to study and destroy his brother, who became a wraith before the story begins. His attention turns to Talia O’Brien when he reads her dissertation on near-death experiences. Talia’s interest in this subject stems from her own life and her connection to the Shadows. Half-Fae, Talia has always had an affinity for the Shadows. Unfortunately, the wraiths are also aware of Talia and try to kill her before Adam can get to her. Eventually, the two connect and join forces to fight the wraith.
The publishers have tagged this book as “dark fantasy meets modern fairy tale” so I was intrigued from the outset, even though the back blurb didn’t thrill me to death. When the book opens, the prologue is about Talia’s mother and has this fairy tale/historical quality to it. Chapter One is a big switch in tone, so it was a bit bracing, but once I got over my initial shock, I was able to settle into the story with relative ease.
I found Adam to be the more interesting of the two lead characters. His backstory – with his brother – is well developed and adds a lot of pathos to his character. In contrast, Talia seems a little cardboard, even though she has an interesting history as well. Her ability to pull the Shadows around her is really cool and well described, and creates some interesting plot developments. The secondary characters weren’t all that engaging for me, with the exception of Shadowman, who’s portrayed in a very real manner, and whom I want to know more about.
I also liked that Erin Kellison explained where the wraiths came from. That’s something that isn’t always done in this genre and it was neat to have a very concrete cause-and-effect explanation for how wraiths showed up, which leads to some great revelations.
I didn’t enjoy Shadow Bound as much as I thought I would but I think this is at least partially because my expectations were high. I will definitely read Erin Kellison’s second book, Shadow Fall, but I don’t feel compelled to run out and get it this very minute.
This book means I’m more than halfway through my last reading challenge. Only two months left for six more books. Eep!