Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith

In preparation for the release of the final book in this trilogy, I thought I’d post my review for the first book!!  It’s free on all retailers, so seriously go and check it out!!

22818032Amelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she’s an Elder but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must maintain control but he refuses to explain why. Even worse, she’s betrothed to the prince of the Immortals and she doesn’t even know his name.

Finally breaking free to live a few normal years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky Southern girl and to fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is and not what she’ll be.

As she learns more about herself, Amelia realizes the line between love and duty is a thin one. As her power continues to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The question is, will her head or her heart win the battle?

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My Review:
4.5 stars — Woosh!! Well, that finished with some tears (and in my case a round of bawling). This is another one of those books I got to read super early, so now I have to wait FOREVER for the next one in the series!!! But yes, you may feel free to be jealous of me. 😉

I’m probably going to reread it, b/c I was trying to concentrate on giving line edit feedback, and I had family visiting, so I didn’t feel like I got the full absorption experience. But even still, this was a fantastic ride. I remember reading a blog post (or something) from Ms. Smith about how the story was initially inspired by taking some elements from Rachel Higginson’s Reckless Magic, and then saying “but what if *this* happened”. And I could totally see some of those *initial* similarities, but then it just went in a whole new direction! But at the same time, if you enjoyed Ms. Higginson’s Star-crossed series, then I HIGHLY recommend this book. More magic. More sassy characters. A completely different but also heart-wrenching love story….

It’s funny, b/c the love story wasn’t as big a part of this book as I had initially been expecting. It was enough to make me love the interactions between Aidan and Amelia (and enough to break my heart all over the place), but in the end the book focused more on Amelia’s “coming of age” (or “coming into magic”). I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have all this power, and have barely ANYONE to teach you about it…. And yet Amelia never became too whiny or annoying….when she had a break down, you were kind of sitting beside her going “you tell them!” Which is probably why I fell in love with Bethany so much — she was everything Amelia needed in her first best friend. Seriously, that girl killed me. ❤ her so much.

I’m on the fence with Amelia’s brother Cole. I loved how much he cared and took care of Amelia, but I was just as frustrated with him for thinking he always knew what was best. I also wasn’t really expecting him to be such a big part of the story, but I really loved that Amelia at least had *some* family to turn to. Will be interesting to see what role he (and Derreck) play in the next books.

On a totally silly and Lenore-specific squee note, I pretty much died of awesome overload when she could communicate with Charlie and Onyx in some way. I mean seriously authors — I read so many paranormals with magical beings, and this is probably only the 2nd time they have been able to communicate in some way with animals. It’s kind of a stupid thing to be excited about, but I seriously just about lost my shit reading those little parts. I’m pretty sure my husband just wants me to shut up about it already….;)

I will say that either there was some fabulous foreshadowing, or I am an epically smart reader that has the same brain waves as Ms. Smith, b/c I totally called the Micah and Aidan twists!!! Go me!! In fact, I feel like I have way more theories about what is going on than even Amelia…she needs to start thinking like me, b/c come on!! Although I think I would love to know more in the next book about why everyone was so dismissive of Aidan intially (ie didn’t detect anything). Could be some interesting stuff there….

And there goes my long babbly review. *shakes head* What you should take out of this: this book comes out in July, if you enjoy any kind of magical paranormal, then put this on your list. A great debut.