Monday, April 3, 2017

Bound: By Bendict Jacka



Right now I wasn’t seeing Richard as the teacher out of my nightmares; he was just another Dark mage, and I looked into the future to see what would happen if I turned that knife on him instead…

Alex Verus is still haunted by his time apprenticed to Richard Drakh. He’s been free of him for many years, but now the only way to keep his friends from being harmed is to again work for Richard and his deadly ally. Even worse, Alex is forced to bring the life mage Anne into this servitude as well.

After weeks of being hunted and finally cornered into what he thought was his last stand, Alex never imagined his life would be spared—and never anticipated at what price. This time, the diviner can see no way out…


When I first started reading Bendict Jacka’s Alex Verus series I thought it was a pleasant surprise, it was raw, full of energy and had a likeable protagonist in Alex. All in all, it was something to pass the time between Jim Butcher books.

Then after about the third book in the series Jacka’s writing began to get more advanced and the plot more intricate. Suddenly Jacka’s series didn’t feel like a collection of one off urban fantasy books collected into a series, instead like Butcher, Hearne and the other New York Times bestselling fantasy authors, this series began to really build upon itself. Decisions from previous books led to ramifications in later books, friends of Alex (the protagonist) didn’t just turn a blind eye to questionable actions he made, and most importantly Alex and his group of friends have evolved, some became stronger and more confident, some more fragile and withdrawn, and a few others have just plain quit and given up. This may sound silly, but I love these adaptations, these changes in the characters’ behavior and attitudes make for more realistic stories and overall better characters. Don’t get me wrong, just because a series doesn’t have these characteristics and adaptations in their characters doesn’t make their characters bad or undeveloped, but in my opinion these changes are some of the attributes that make the difference between A-/B+ characters and A characters. Other examples of these kinds of fuller character development can be seen in Kevin Hearn’s Iron Druid series, Jim Butcher’s Dresdan Files series and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series.

Of course, you didn’t come here to read about my enjoyment of the series as a whole, you came to read about Bound. Well, not surprising after reading my soliloquy about the series as a whole and the way in which each book builds off each other, my first bit of advice is to not read Bound unless you’ve read the other seven books in the series. However, please note I very much do recommend that you read the first seven books in the series, if you enjoy action, mystery, urban fantasy in the vein of Jim Butcher or Kevin Hearne then you will thoroughly enjoy this series.

As mentioned above, Bound has incredibly strong characters that have adapted through each book. In Bound, the ramifications of Alex and Anne’s emergency flight and the proceeding on the run exploit has come back to haunt them. We see the ramifications it had on Alex’s friends and companions. Luna in particular was shaken by the events. Jacka uses his exceptional pacing in Bound to emphasize these points. What I mean by this is that Bound both had a realistic period of time elapse to make the learning and adjustments from the terrors seem realistic as well as made this period of time flow naturally with the book without slowing down the plot or action, thus allowing readers to appreciate the time that was occurring as well as not be bogged down by small nuances. This is particularly important since the events of Burned left many of the characters (such as Luna, as mentioned above) in hysterics and a deep depression, which cannot be solved with a wave of the hand. Further, it’s theses nuances such as the slow and gradual healing, or re-learning to trust one another, or even the acceptance and adaptation to a darker thought pattern, that help truly define each character. Speaking of such changes to characters, I was particularly impressed with Alex’s evolution in Bound. Not only does Alex begin to get in touch with some of his softer emotions, but he also embraces some of his dark mage attributes as well, in an effort to finally try to combat the evils that have been complicating his life over the last eight books.

All in all, Bound is a great novel. The characters adapt and evolve, there is more action than you can shake a stick at, and the story just moves in a very engaging fashion that is sure to catch and sweep any reader of the series up off their feet. On top of that, Bound ends in a truly shocking way. I can’t say more without ruining it, but just know readers will be left dying for more and that Jacka is truly gifted in his ability to craft a well written and surprising ending. Bound is a great book, and as a fan of great books, please read it so we can all read more in this amazing series.


April 4, 2017


Price: $7.99

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