"Soulbound," Tessa Adams

Pros: I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through!
Cons: A few threads could have used a little more wrapping up; dark material warning
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Xandra is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and royalty to boot. Great signs and portents heralded her birth, which is why no one can understand how it is that she can’t do the slightest bit of magic. Fleeing the increasingly dangerous attempts of her mother to bring out her latent power, Xandra ends up in Austin, Texas, where she’s perfectly happy running a hugely popular coffee shop. Everything’s going just fine—until warlock Declan shows up in town. Suddenly her simple life is blowing up in her face. She’s following compulsions that lead her to dead bodies and force her to relive the women’s last, horrific memories. The women bear a resemblance to her, and versions of her own mystical tattoo appear on their bodies. Sparks fly—literally—when she and Declan get close, but he walked out on her once, and she doesn’t particularly trust him now. To make matters worse, it seems that her magic has finally decided to show up, but definitely not in any way that anyone could have predicted. And if she doesn’t get a handle on it soon, the killer might get to her before she can figure out who he is.


 

Sometimes I like to start reading a book at my favorite cafe over coffee. This works great, unless I start in on a book like Tessa Adams’s Soulbound: A Lone Star Witch Novel. It drew me in so thoroughly and quickly that I had an awful lot of trouble putting it down long enough to get home so I could read the rest.

To be honest, I’m a little worn out on paranormal romances right now. It’s just that there are so many of them, and it’s getting harder and harder to see much difference between them. This certainly isn’t the first witch-themed book I’ve seen recently, although at least that vein hasn’t been mined as thoroughly as vampires & shifters. This isn’t to say that these things can’t be done well; just that it’s getting harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. Still, Tessa Adams manages it with this book. I’m used to complex wizardly organizations, witches who manage to keep their wild powers hidden from modern man, etc. There are plenty of tales of people who start out thinking they’re powerless, only to find out that they have no idea just how powerful they can be. And dark, brooding love interests are a dime a dozen. Yet Soulbound still managed to stand out.

Part of its appeal is in its characterizations. Declan isn’t entirely what I expect from the dark, brooding, dangerous love interest; he too is stumbling his way through figuring out what he’s doing. Xandra does a grand job of trying to creatively cope with an impossible situation without losing her mind. And Xandra’s mother definitely steals a few scenes of her own—I can’t even begin to explain how simultaneously scary, funny, and frustrating she is. She certainly makes it easy to understand much of where Xandra’s coming from. I also adore (and I can’t stress that enough) the new, fresh, and unusual take on two characters who are ‘soulbound’. These days it’s become a cheap plot device to bring together two seemingly incompatible people in series book after series book and force them to figure out a way to make things work. Instead… well, I this is another plot I don’t want to spoil, but let’s just say that in some ways Declan and Xandra fall in love despite their bond, instead of because of it, and there are some details about the bond that are very unique.

It’s Soulbound’s pacing, however, that really revs things up. I was swept up from the very start, and just had to keep turning the pages. The pace of it moved along quickly enough to smooth over any tiny rough edges; although I don’t need to have every last thread wrapped up in a book, there were a few details I wanted a little more explanation for. I won’t go into more than that as I don’t wish to spoil any of the book’s events.

Quick warning: in addition to some hot, but not-too-wild scenes between Declan and Xandra, the story touches on some rather dark material. The serial killer in this book does terrible things, and they aren’t glossed over. It’s appropriate to the story, but not for everyone.

Not only am I hooked on Soulbound, but now I can’t wait for Adams’s next book in the series!

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