Review: Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent ★★★★

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book one in the Unbound series
Publication Date: August 23, 2011
ISBN: 978-0778312550
Page Count: 400
My Rating: ★★★★

Summary
As a bloodtracker, Liv is extremely powerful. And in a world where power is a commodity that can get you killed, Liv's learnt to survive by her own rules.

Rule number one? Trust no one.

But when a friend's daughter goes missing, Liv is bound by a potent magical oath. She can't rest until the child is safe.

And that means trusting her dangerous ex, Cam.

A sinister prophecy tells that she and Cam will be the death of each other, yet Liv's tired of being a slave to destiny. She's ready to play the forces controlling her world at their own game.

REVIEW

This was an absolutely fascinating read. I love it when an author comes up with something new and exciting. Something we haven't already seen a million times before. Another one I really enjoyed discovering this year for this exact reason was Diana Pharaoh Francis' Horngate witches series.

So, the basic set up here is to do with magical bindings, oaths and promises. Being forced to comply against your will, and having the strength to push against such ties to do what you think is right. The magical element was somewhat small in this book, nobody had any really flashy powers as such, and there were no vamps or werewolves (shocking I know), but there are magical or "Skilled" people, and they are, for the most part, either trackers, binders or travellers.

There are two main types of trackers. Our protagonist, Olivia ''Liv'' Warren, is a Blood Tracker. One with an exceptional range which makes her a popular girl. She needs only a small sample of someone's blood to track them down. Another type that we meet is a Name Tracker. With the use of your real names (the more names they have the better) they can trace people within their range.

There were also Flesh Binders who bind with blood tattoos or a contract sealed with blood, and Travellers who can move through shadows. It really was interesting to learn about these abilities and how they came into use. Essentially, the city is split into three sections, two of which are run by opposing Mafia-like factions, and the third is a relatively safe or "neutral" zone. The heads of the two factions are Jake Tower and Ruben Cavazos. Liv works for Ruben.

It's safe to say there is no love lost between Liv and Ruben and she doesn't work for him for the pleasure of his company alone. There is a lot more to this part of the story and I found theirs to be a very weird and slightly twisted working relationship that was nonetheless intriguing to read.

A former lover of Liv's comes back to town, a name tracker called Cam Caballero. It's been six years since they broke up and a lot has happened in that time. We find out exactly what as the story progresses, and interestingly, the story is actually told from a first person perspective equally split between Liv and Cam. I had to do a bit of a double-take when the first switch happened because with it starting out in first person I wasn't expecting it to change, so this aspect was usual, but it really worked.

Overall, this is a gritty, dark world and a story that sucker punches you in the guts a few times before it's finished with you. I was surprised at how quickly I got engrossed in the story and the characters and it managed to shock me once or twice along the way.

I think the main reason it didn't make 5 stars for me was simply the fact that, at one point, a mystery is about to be revealed and they are discussing it for quite some time, but I'd already worked it out about 3 chapters back, so I found myself giving the book the wind it up sign because I already knew what they were getting to. I don't know how obvious this will be to others, or if I'm just some kind of evil genius, but it was a slow section because of that.

The next book is about a different character all together. One of the secondary characters in this story, so it will be interesting to see how different that book feels. Vincent's certainly taking the road less travelled here, and it's great fun to read.

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