Book Review: Bound By Prophecy

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Title: Bound By Prophecy [Descendants 1 ]

Author: Melissa Wright

Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult, Urban, Thriller

Rating: 5 (4.5) Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Twenty-two-year-old Aern is done watching his brother destroy the only thing that matters. He never wanted to take Morgan’s place among council, never wanted to rule their hidden world. But when the key to the prophecy is found, a young girl named Brianna whom Morgan will destroy, Aern knows he has to take action.

What he really wants, is for things to go back to normal. But now he’s kidnapped a girl, and his brother’s men are after him. His only hope is to join with the Division, but they have plans of their own, and it’s the last thing Aern is willing to do.

Emily just wants her sister back. She doesn’t care about the prophecy, or realize what’s at stake. But when she goes after Aern, the truth of the matter uncoils, and Brianna isn’t the only one who’s in danger.

Suddenly, they’re at the center of a secret war, and unless they can work together, they’ll both have a sacrifice too big to make.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

First: The covers in this series are gorgeous, and this one isn’t an exception. I really enjoyed this book. As far as the technical aspect of things go, the writing was clear, engaging, and easy-to-follow. The descriptions were nicely balanced, and didn’t feel verbose nor skimmed over.

The characters for the most part were detailed, full of personality, and interesting. Aern and Emily were definitely the highlight of the book, but the other characters stood up nearly as well.  I’ll admit, most of the characters outside the main couple were more or less cameo’s. There was a lot of talk involved around the other characters (such as Brianna and Morgan), but their actual face time in the book was rather limited. It didn’t make them less interesting, and I didn’t miss their presence in the story, but they certainly didn’t stand out in the book as part of the core of characters like Aern and Emily did.

I guess in that way, the story was very insular. This was very much Aern and Emily’s story (not that I minded). I loved the dynamic between these two characters. Aern was dedicated and kind-hearted, and he genuinely cared for Emily and her sister even when it made things more difficult for himself. Emily was determined and fiercely loyal to her sister, but there was also a side to her that was vulnerable and unsure. I admired her determination to save her sister despite the opposition she faced. She wasn’t about to let anything stand in her way even though she was obviously terrified for all their lives. I think the author did a fantastic job on the romance between Emily and Aern. The relationship between the two started as one of comfort and familiarity and slowly but surely blossomed into something inevitably heated. I never doubted that the two cared for each other, and it didn’t feel rushed. I routed for them every step of the way.

Now, there were some aspects of the book that I questioned a little bit. There were one or two times when Aern spent a strange amount of time noticing the outfits of the other characters… which, for a male character, seemed a little odd. It kicked me out of the story a bit, and I had a moment of “yah, definitely a female author” that I wish hadn’t happened. Another of these strange incidents was a moment during the book when Aern made a strange comment:

If I had been a psychopathic killer, her mood would have taken the fun right out of it.

I couldn’t help but stare at the line and wonder what on Earth possessed the author to write that line. Luckily, it was a one-shot and there were no other moments that made me question where the author was going with the narrative.

Perhaps the most book-breaking aspect of the book however, was a rather serious one, and I questioned myself whether I should knock a star off the rating for it. The world-building in this book was both confusing and vague. I knew Aern’s people were supernatural beings of some sort, but that’s about all I knew. It was never truly explained who his people were, what sort of powers they generally had, or why they were trying to rule over things. It wasn’t clear what kind of history Aern and his brother, Morgan had between them, or why either one of them was set up to rule their people. The prophecy, though mentioned dozens of times, was never outright explained… I spent the entire first couple of chapters in the book lost and wondering what was going on.

After the first chapter, I had to check and make sure this was the first book in the series. It felt as if I’d been dropped into the middle of a story and missed the first half… and it never really cleared up. Eventually there came a point where I got the gist of what was going on and was able to ignore the confusion the world-building provided, but it was certainly a negative for the story. If you’re not okay with jumping in mid-story and figuring out what’s going on in a very slow, meandering manner, you may have serious problems with this book. There simply wasn’t enough information provided about the world and the backstory of any of the characters.  It was still a good book though, and since I was able to move past it, I didn’t mark off any stars for the confusion. It wasn’t a problem for me in the end, and I was able to enjoy the story despite this irritating aspect of the story.

In the end, I really enjoyed the story. There was a major drawback (the lack of information), but if you can handle the confusion of the world building, I think you can probably enjoy this book as much as I did. It was a quick read, it was entertaining, and the romance seemed real. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone who likes paranormal romances with a twist of thriller thrown in to spice things up. I’m interested to see how the second book in the series pans out!

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