After years of coming to terms with the fact that she is never going to be who her family wants her to be, Xandra Morgan has settled down as an owner of a coffee shop in Austin. As the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter Xandra was raised to be magical heir to her mother, the Queen. On the day of her magical coming out party she fails miserably, realizing that she’s a latent and no matter how much her family wishes otherwise this is all she’s ever going to be. Xandra’s mother is a little bit crazy, pushing, pulling, even going as far as drugging her trying to bring out her abilities. She hires witch whisperers, doctors and does pretty much anything she can think of to fix what she terms is her daughter’s “disability”. In the world of witches, wizards and warlocks her family is royalty, commanding immense power and respect, no one accepts that Xandra isn’t going to live up to the promise of her birthright. Other than Xandra that is, she just wants everyone to leave her alone.
After a visit home for the Solstice Xandra finds herself being compelled into the woods by an unseen force, her body is literally dragged across the terrain until she comes across the body of a young girl. A dead young girl, who looks remarkably like her and who is branded with the mark of Isis Xandra also wears. As distressing as this is, it’s even worse since she dreamed of this girl the night before, reliving her last moments. She also dreamed of Declan Chumomisto, someone she hasn’t seen since the night of her nineteenth birthday. A wizard of unimaginable power who shows up at the lowest part of Xandra’s life, shares an intense night with her, marks her with his own personal symbol and then disappears.
Soulbound is the first book in the new Lone Star witches series. A gritty, dark look into the world of magic. This is not a feel good paranormal romance, but rather a violent, moody, and sometimes disturbing urban fantasy. If you are a reader who is sensitive to rape you should know there are several scenes that were quite difficult to read. Xandra experiences on a psychic level the things the victims feel as they are being killed. There was one scene toward the end that I was unsure if it was all in her head or if she was the actual victim. It felt so real to her and to me as the reader that I had to go back and reread to make sure she wasn’t actually physically assaulted. In addition to that, after these episodes she also wears the same marks and bruises associated with the attacks. In essence she is also being victimized.
Xandra is an exceptional heroine, after realizing she is never going to be the super witch everyone expected her to be she’s moved on and made a happy life for herself. There is no self-pity, just determination and a resolve to live her life to its fullest. As a member of the royal family she’s still immersed in the world of witches and wizards, it’s just that as a latent she is unable to actually take part in most magical ceremonies. After she starts finding bodies and witnessing the violence associated with their deaths she really has no idea how to stop what’s happening to her. She has he help of her brother Donovan, her roommate Lily, a cop Nate and the two bothers she hasn’t seen in eight years. Declan and his brother Ryder both practice a darker form of witchcraft, they skirt the edge and are about as mysterious as you can get. I wondered at both of their intentions until the very end. Declan remains an enigma, even after finishing I still don’t feel like I really know who he is or understand his motivations. I can’t wait to see how his character evolves further on in the series. Every character in Soulbound is written in a way that makes me feel like I must keep reading so that I can get to know them better.
There are many, many different plot threads and they don’t start to come together until the very last chapter. After following all the twists and turns I was surprised at how smoothly it all ended . The last few pages are action packed and concluded in a way that had me wondering if there were a couple of pages missing out of my copy. It didn’t leave off in a cliffhanger, but rather quite abruptly. I didn’t have time to come down off my adrenalin high of the rush to find the killer before I realized that I’d read the last word. If I would have had the next book in the series I would have picked it up to read immediately. The second book, Vengeance Bound, is set to release in December of this year. It will most definitely be on my to read list. Final Grade: B
“I’ve got you baby.” His eyes meet mine. “I’ve got you.”
And just that easily I shatter. His lips crash down on mine and seconds later, he follows. As he does, the magic blasts through me. Rich, intoxicating, irresistible.
Just like Declan himself.