Blood Bound (Unbound #1) by Rachel Vincent
Source: Personal shelf
By blood, by word, by magic…
Most can’t touch the power. But Liv Warren is special— a paranormal tracker who follows the scent of blood.
Liv makes her own rules, and the most important one is trust no one.
But when her friend’s daughter goes missing, Liv has no choice but to find the girl. Thanks to a childhood oath, Liv can’t rest until the child is home safe. But that means trusting Cam Caballero, the former lover forbidden to her.
Bound by oath and lost in desire for a man she cannot have, Liv is racing to save the child from a dark criminal underworld where secrets, lies, trauma and danger lurk around every corner…every touch…every kiss.
And more blood will be spilled before it’s over…
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Holy cow. Rachel Vincent has blown me away in a way she’s never done before. I was a die-hard fan before reading Blood Bound but now I’m even more impressed with her craft. In her Unbound world, she’s created something that shines with originality in the urban fantasy genre.
Where to start? Going into the book, I knew that it was written from two perspectives: Cam’s and Olivia’s. I had my doubts about the changing points of view since I haven’t loved it when other authors have done it but I didn’t mind it this time around. In fact, I think it really added to the story since we got to learn both Cam and Liv’s feelings. And Rachel Vincent does an excellent job of letting us know who’s narrating the chapter. 🙂
Another fantastic part of Blood Bound is the world building. All of Rachel Vincent’s books have strong worlds but this one is even better than the ones she’s created for her Shifters and Soul Screamers series. The Unbound world is unlike I’ve seen. It’s a place in which your word is literally your bond and breaking a promise can get you killed. There are no vampires, werewolves, or other supernaturals. Instead, there are Skilled people with different gifts. Some people, like Liv and Cam, can track people. Others are Seers, Travelers, Binders, or Readers. Negotiating this world is a challenge even for seasoned veterans and it’s such a thrill to read the story.
Of course, the other integral part of the world is the characters that inhabit it. Creating characters with strong (though sometimes murky) motivations who really grab the reader is one of the things Rachel Vincent does best and the folks in Blood Bound are fine examples of this. Liv is fierce and tough and smart, though not quite as smart as she’d like to be at certain things. She’s fighting desperately for her freedom even when the odds are long. How can you not root for her? Cam’s got a pile of fantastic character attributes but he’s not saintly since he’s got secrets too. The other people in Blood Bound are all well developed though some of them are quite unlikeable. (I’m looking at you, Mr. and Mrs. Cavazos.) But even these guys are real, in the sense that they’re not just one-dimensional characters inserted for a specific purpose without any development. There’s obviously a lot of effort put into each and every person who hits the stage, no matter how briefly we see them, and I love that in a novel.
Liv and Cam’s relationship is the heart of the story and it’s so very complicated. There are things they can’t or won’t tell each other but they love each other. They’re really interesting characters in their own right but together they’re a formidable team. Watching them negotiate their obligations and their feelings is quite the roller coaster.
I don’t want to talk too much about the plot since the book isn’t even a month old but I will say that it’s everything I expect from a Rachel Vincent novel. It’s got heart, it’s got surprises, it builds up to a thrilling climax, and it ends in a way that will leave you dying to know what happens next. Shadow Bound can’t come soon enough!