Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Ace on September 30, 2014
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…
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.