Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Review: Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

From Goodreads:

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…

My Review:

3.5  "Serious Potential" Stars

Olivia (Liv) Warren is a powerful Blood Tracker, the best in the city. All she needs is a sample of someone's blood, and she can track them within a radius of several hundred miles. As such, her skill is in high demand. 
Gifted people such a Jammers, Trackers, Seers, and Shadow Walkers are a hot commodity; as they are not officially acknowledged by the government, they are able to move forward when law enforcement cannot. In a city split between rival syndicates who've bound countless people to their businesses, you have to be careful to survive in this city.

Six years ago Liv abruptly left the love of her life, Camden (Cam) Caballero, to protect him from a tragedy foretold to her by a Seer. Liv works as a freelancer on the surface, but if you look a little deeper there's something much worse going on. In order to keep Cam safe, Liv has temporarily bound herself to Ruben Cavasaz, syndicate and the man who's bound half the city to his nefarious scheme. If Liv does not find the person Cavasaz has her set to track within the next six months, she'll be his to do with as he pleases, forever.

When a high school friend suddenly comes back into Liv's life and asks for help, Liv can't say no. Bound to each other since the age of 12, she has no choice but to obey. That means working along side the once-love of her life, Cam, and racing the clock to save a little girl's life.

I'm so torn on my feelings for Blood Bound. On the one hand, it's a very unique and refreshing paranormal/urban fantasy world (no vampires, werewolves, fairies, zombies, ect here!) that had me completely absorbed into the story and dying to learn more.
On the other has a few issues that picked at my nerves. Let's break it down, shall we? 

First, the positives.

Like I said, RVincent has created a fascinating world. The different powers, their uses and the way they are expressed was so interesting and refreshing. The emphasis on not using full names and destroying any traces of blood (to keep safe from other Trackers) was an interesting twist that worked well for the story, and added a great layer of tension. Every time someone got hurt I kept thinking "get the blood, get the blood!", and it kept the reader engaged in the story. 

I enjoyed the fast pace and near constant action. The story spans the course of two (or maybe three?) days, and you really got to experience the characters' fatigue, adrenaline, and stress throughout. It has a lot of twists and turns, with tiny bits of information you may have brushed off coming back into play in a big way. It kept me guessing, and held my interest.

I really, really enjoyed the ending. That's when things started to come together, and the climax was fabulous. Everyone's character had a good bit of growth, and Cam especially was a very different person from when we first met him. In a good way, trust me!

Cavasaz wasn't a character I ever expected to enjoy when we're first introduced to him, but as the story went on and his personality is fleshed out I wound up enjoying him hugely. He was a complex villain that wasn't all bad, and despite some of the horror he inflicts, I didn't hate him. I want to know more about him, and I can't wait to start the second book to see what he'll force upon our protagonists next. 

Liv was an enjoyable character, albeit it more than a little naive at times. Her voice was easy to get lost in, and she was relatable. She isn't a perfect, and she wasn't always on top of her game. She often lets her feelings for Cam or her hatred for Cavasaz cloud her judgement, but that was a character flaw I liked. It gave her realistic feel, and I appreciate where RVincent took her character over the course of the story.

Despite being nearly 500 pages, I finished Blood Bound in a little over a day (work day, at that!), so it's very fast read.

And now for the not-so-positive.

The story is told in alternating 1st person perspective between Olivia and Camden, and objectively speaking that's a smart idea for the storyline. However, their voices were so similar I frequently couldn't immediately tell who was talking! The chapters aren't marked by names, and they often switched within the same chapter. I'd be reading Olivia, turn the page, and think I was still reading Olivia until Cam thought her name. A few times I was like "okay, why is this chick referring to herself in the third perso-....oh. Oh, we're back to Cam. Okay."

On that same note, Cam's voice came across as very feminine. It didn't work for the character that Liv saw, and it made him less appealing as a hero if I'm being perfectly honest.

There were several plot twists in the book that I saw coming paragraphs or even chapters before Cam and Liv did. I felt like they were glaringly obvious, and wasn't sure if mystery/suspense just isn't RVincent's thing or the characters were just dense. Normally I want to keep reading to see if my idea was right, not to verify my rock solid confidence that that is absolutely what happens.

I didn't buy the romance between Cam and Liv, at least not in the extreme it's portrayed as. They had a good connection and decent chemistry, but I didn't get the whole "love of my life/been pining for 6 years" thing. I didn't feel any connection to their shared history, which is a pretty integral part of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed Blood Bound. It was fast paced, unique, and engaging with enjoyable (for the most part) characters and an action packed plot. It's an absorbing urban fantasy series that I'm excited to continue. 
While I wouldn't suggest you pick this up as your first Rachel Vincent book (go with The Stars Never Rise instead), I would recommend this if you're a paranormal/urban fantasy fan. Reviews for the other books will be up once I finish!


Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: Adult, urban fantasy, romance
POV: 1st person, alternating dual perspective
Steam/sexual content: Some steam, very mild sex
Warning: Violence
Series: Unbound #1, trilogy
HEA: Not sure!
Cliffhanger: Yes
Length: 463 pages
My own copy

- The Bibliophile Babe


  1. I've been wanting to get to this series but just haven't found the time. I just know I want to devour them all at once especially with the cliffies. :(

  2. I think I've read book two of this series, I haven't read book one. If I'm remembering right I enjoyed it. But it's been so long. *shakes head* I really need to check out her book The Stars Never Rise!

  3. Sometimes book one is hard as the world is developed. I must admit that a world without vamps, weres etc has me curious. Hopefully Camden and Olivia's voice are stronger and more unique in book two. I will be curious to see.

  4. I read this a while back, and I remember enjoying it for the most part; but I'm not sure why I never got back to the series. Probably some of those things you mentioned above. Lol. This is an awesome review! I'm really glad you reminded me about this series! :-)

    Mckenzie @ A Belle's Tales