Review: The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey

The BloodboundThe Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey (Bloodbound #1)

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Publisher: Ace on September 30, 2014

Source: Purchased

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A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…

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Erin Lindsey’s THE BLOODBOUND is the perfect beach read for fantasy fans. Combining traditional sword and sorcery with a heavy dose of romance, Lindsey introduces a formidable heroine you can’t help but root for.

Alix Black is a scout in King Erik’s army when civil war breaks out and throws everything she thought she knew about her country into chaos. A capable swordswoman and a natural sneak, Alix excels in her role as a scout and is respected by her fellow soldiers and commanding officers alike. With an alternate Medieval setting, I was admittedly concerned that Alix’s martial achievements wouldn’t be acknowledged because of sexism. But I’m pleased to report that none of the characters gave a fig that Alix is a woman and there were many other women serving in the royal army.

There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about THE BLOODBOUND but somehow it still manages to be a clever and fun read, one that I flew through in no time. Erin Lindsey does a great job of inverting tropes – especially gendered ones. When Alix is assigned a position as King Erik’s personal bodyguard and spends approximately 50% of her time saving his ass. No damsels in distress here, no ma’am! Just kings in distress. Can we make that a thing? I want it to be a thing.

Aside from the more militaristic elements of the society, we also get some information about the political, religious, and class tensions at play in the kingdom. The most tantalizing was a glimpse of the conflict between the noble houses and the common people, particularly when it comes to religion. The lower classes are known for being more sincere in their belief in the gods than the nobility, despite how frequently the latter invokes their names. I’m positive that this is going to play a larger role in the series given how many times it was mentioned and I’m intrigued to see where it goes.

Love triangle haters should definitely be wary of this one, as it’s not long before our Alix finds herself in a bit of a romantic conundrum. Torn between her very real feelings for her fellow scout Liam and her burgeoning attraction to King Erik, Alix is unsure how to proceed. As a member of the Black family Alix must marry well, so Liam should be out of the picture, but the heart wants what it wants. What’s a noble-blooded soldier to do?

While triangles can be incredibly annoying (in both love and trigonometry, tbh) I didn’t find this one too bad at all. Yes, Alix is interested in two guys at once, but for once the circumstances make sense. I also really appreciated that as much as her feelings weigh on her, Alix never shirks her duty in favour of her own desires. Thankfully the whole thing seems to be resolved by the end of the book, since she definitively chooses a guy before the conclusion. All I’ll say about her choice is that I think Alix chose well for herself.

Erin Lindsey is a confident writer who breathes new life into old tropes; she’s a welcome addition to the fantasy romance sub-genre as far as I’m concerned. In her author bio she states that her goal is to write the perfect summer vacation novel and with THE BLOODBOUND she easily accomplished that. I’m excited to see what else she has to offer in the sequel, which comes out in September.

What are your favourite fantasy-romances? Do you think love triangles can be done well, or should we just ban them forever? Inquiring minds want to know!

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  • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I just got a copy of this and plan to read it soon 🙂 Glad to hear it worked well for you.

    • I’m excited to hear your thoughts on this one, especially since I know romance-heavy titles can be hit or miss for you. Fingers crossed you enjoy it! 🙂

  • Romance fiction really isn’t my thing, but once in a while I do love a fantasy-romance with the right balance of the two genres. I thought this one hit the mark pretty well, and I’m glad it worked for you. I’m a big fan of the author (love her Nicolas Lenoir books that she wrote under E.L. Tettensor) and I’m really looking forward to the sequel of this 🙂

    ~Mogsy

    • Yeah, I think there was a pretty good balance in this one….but I’m a romance lover so maybe others might not agree! My favourite part of the romance angle was that regardless of their feelings, no one involved did idiotic/boneheaded things just for the sake of love. I need to check out her stuff under the Tettensor name!

  • Lynn Williams

    I’m glad to see you enjoyed this. It’s one of my up and coming reads!
    Lynn 😀

    • It was so much fun! Nothing earth shattering or mind bending, but it was the perfect summer vacation read so Erin Lindsey clearly accomplished what she set out to! 😀

  • I’m intrigued. I want to try reading some fantasy romance because I like fantasy, I like romance, so if you combine the two surely it’s like having the best of both worlds, right? And to have a fantasy book where there is no sexism and the main characters achievements are acknowledged! That just makes this book even more appealing.

    As for love triangles, they’re either done well or the most annoying thing known to man and thus need to be forcibly ended. The thing with love triangles is they are either logically explained and make sense in terms of the story, so I can appreciate it, or they are just added because love triangles are cool and to try and add a little conflict to the story and the romance within. By the sounds of it there is more of the first kind rather than the second in this book so I am totally willing to give it a chance.

    • Yay! If you do end up reading this one I hope you enjoy it. How sad is it that we rejoice over a lack of sexism in medieval style fantasy? I know that ‘realism’ is often used to explain that away, but there’s nothing realistic about magical swords and wizards yet no one blinks an eye at that. So frustrating.

      YES I couldn’t agree more! A forced love triangle for the sake of drama always seems a bit silly to me. But the sad fact of the matter is that sometimes feelings don’t make sense, and you can be attracted to/ care for more than one person at a time. If the author does a good job with it, I won’t bat an eyelash at a love triangle. In fact I’m about to start reading The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, and I know that a love triangle plays a huge role in that one. Fingers crossed that it’s not one of the annoying ones. 😉

      • It’s on my long list of books to buy or borrow from the library, but I’m in the kind of mood that I may pick it up anyway. And it’s terrible isn’t it? Why should a lack of sexism be something different in genres of books? Surely it should just be a given that you’ll get it. Frustrating is not the word.

        And you’re right, if done well than I will totally believe that feelings don’t make sense and that it’s a genuine struggle, but that’s only if the author puts the work in to make this mixed bag of emotions seem real for a love triangle, too often people don’t. I’ve heard good things about The Kiss of Deception so do not doubt that you’ll have a genuine love triangle but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

  • Jan

    This wasn’t my favorite fantasy, but I think the series has potential. I hope the second book solves some of the problems I had with the first book.

    • I agree, I think the series definitely has potential. My favourite thing about Erin Lindsey’s writing is that she doesn’t take it too seriously (her goal, as she said, is to write the perfect summer vacation novel). I hope that trend continues!