Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: Bound by Kira Saito

Bound (Arelia LaRue, Book #1)
by Kira Saito
Release Date: October 28th, 2011
2011 by Kira Saito
Ebook Edition; 246 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Bewitching Book Tours

3.5 / 5 Stars


Sixteen year old Arelia LaRue lives in New Orleans where the music is loud, voodoo queens inhabit every street corner, and the ghosts are alive and well. Despite her surroundings, all she wants is to help her Grand-mere Bea pay the rent and save up for college. When her best friend Sabrina convinces her to take a well-paying summer job at the infamous Darkwood plantation, owned by the wealthy LaPlante family, Arelia agrees. However, at Darkwood strange things start to happen, and gorgeous Lucus LaPlante insists that he needs her help. Soon, the powers that Arelia has been denying all her life, come out to play and she discovers mysteries about herself that she could have never imagined.

My Thoughts
Bound, the first book in the Arelia LaRue novels, was an enjoyable read, partly because I am always entranced by anything to do with New Orleans, and partly because I am also easily induced into reading stories about witches and curses and voodoo queens.  Throw in a beautiful plantation house with a dark, deadly secret, and a family trying to protect that secret, and how could I refuse?

While I was quite taken with the descriptions of the plantation house, Darkwood Plantation, and really enjoyed the scene at the slave cabins, and thought the action in the story was nicely paced and very quick, I felt there was something missing in the story.  Though I can't quite put my finger on it, there seemed to be a lack of that suspense build-up that should be there in such a setting.  While I enjoyed the story, I can't really say that I was absorbed by it and found myself easily distracted by other things around me and I had to force myself to pay attention to what was happening in the book, sometimes re-reading passages that I had already read.  While I thought the novel was quite nicely written, and it had a nice, easy pace to it, there were some editing issues which really should be looked at more closely.

Arelia, the principal character in the novel, has seen spirits all her life, and discovers a bit more of her family history in this novel.  Fighting a constant battle all her life against being a voodoo queen as she has a fear of being seen as a 'freak', she doesn't accept her burgeoning talents very well in this novel and I thought she sometimes acted quite childlishly, to the point where it actually annoyed me.  While I liked her so-called 'fire and bramble', I thought her fixation on the rich and her stereotypes towards anyone who was rich were also very annoying.  Being poor, she seemed to have a chip on her shoulder for anyone who had money, and tended to look upon them as spoiled and selfish, and treated them very condescendingly.  I had very mixed feelings towards Arelia for most of the book.  As for her best friend Sabrina, for me she can't leave Darkwood Plantation fast enough as I didn't enjoy her character at all.  And I don't understand where the author is coming from either with this relationship; Sabrina stabs her best friend in the back and just thinks she can be forgiven for it as if nothing ever happened, and she is.  I'm like, What???  This was disappointing.  As for Grand-mere Bea and Mrs. Mae, I would dearly love to know their story, what they really fought over, and why Arelia was removed from Darkwood Plantation in the first place.  Seems to me like there is a good story there, but this novel didn't go there at all and I was somewhat disappointed by that. 

You can't have a story like this without a love connection, and that someone is the hunky Lucus.  A gentleman with exquisite manners, Lucus owns Darkwood Plantation, but he also comes with a secret all of his own.  I wasn't sure what to think about the relationship between Arelia and Lucus as I don't think it really felt genuine.  As the novel only deals with the first two weeks at the plantation, there is so little time for a relationship to really develop.  Besides, I'm not quite sure what to think about our dear Lucus as he spent a lot of that time kissing up to Sabrina. It takes a self-confident person to stand up for yourself and what you believe in, and I didn't understand his reactions to some of the things that happened, or why he just went along with things.  There were times when I just wanted to holler, Say no!!

Bound was an enjoyable and quick read, and I definitely love reading anything about the lore and the history of the plantation.  I will admit that I was disappointed in the main characters, except perhaps for Henri and Mrs. Mae, as I felt they were somewhat immature and just seemed to overreact to even the smallest things.  And while I did enjoy the story, I felt that the plot wasn't as complex as it could have been, and then when things did get really interesting, the book just ended; it felt unfinished, as if there should be something more.  And while I realize there will be a sequel, it didn't have that kind of unfinished feeling, just the feeling that it ended at the end of a chapter, and there should be one more chapter.  That being said, there was enough in this novel that I did find interesting and I will definitely keep my eyes open for the sequel, Punished, when it is released.  For a light, quick read, this novel is worth looking at, particularly as it has a lot of potential as a series and shows a lot of promise.

It had to work. It just had to. After repeating the chant at least six times, it still didn’t work. “Fine you greedy spirits!” I yelled. It was clear that they wanted more blood. In a rage, I drew more blood, this time slashing my palm. I brought my dripping palm up to Ben’s neck and repeated the chant. After a few minutes, I felt a distinct energy. It was a force within me so incredibly strong that I was convinced that I was able to move a mountain if I wanted to or even get Sabrina to stop talking about boys.

“Arelia what are you doing?” Ben’s voice forced me to open my eyes.

 “You’re strangling me.”

 I realized my hands were gripped a bit too tightly around his neck. I unwrapped them to find that his wound had completely healed, and his fever was gone. “Ben, you’re okay!” I exclaimed. I gave him an enormous hug.

“Of course, I’m okay,” he said. “I’m just sleepy it was a long night. Tell the alligators and ghosts that I’ll see them tomorrow.” He closed his eyes and fell into a deep sleep.

In my excitement, I leapt up, and by sheer impulse gave formerly-shirtless guy a hug. As my body touched his, I could smell him and felt my skin tingle.

Delicious chills overtook my body. He wasn’t wearing any cologne, but he smelt lovely. Warm and familiar mingled with a dash of sadness and danger. I caught myself clinging to him and took a step back in embarrassment. My moment of conquest had quickly passed, and I realized that I was standing next to a swamp, in front of a stranger in a corset and petticoat which basically translated to a bra and underwear. I was horrified.

Formerly-shirtless guy looked at me like the existence of Santa Claus had just been proven before taking off his jacket and wrapping it around me. “You must be cold,” he observed. “Your hand is bleeding.” He ripped a sleeve off of his shirt and covered my palm.

In my state of absolute exhilaration, I had failed to acknowledge the fact that the night had gotten a bit chilly. My entire body was covered in goose bumps, and my hand was leaking blood everywhere. “Why did you follow me?” I wrapped his jacket around me realizing that I was standing in the middle of nowhere with someone who could be a psychopathic, serial killer.

His lips broke out in an amused smile. “Do you think I’m stalking you?” He asked hovering over me. It really sucked being short sometimes. Standing at a measly five foot three inches made me feel as if I lived in a world full of giants. At this moment, formerly-shirtless guy looked like a giant even though he wasn’t freakishly tall or anything, maybe slightly over six feet.

“Well, how else can you explain being here?” I stated what I thought was the obvious. I tried to stand on my toes, hoping to make myself appear taller.

Author Bio
Kira is a magic junkie and loves writing YA paranormal romances. Some of her heroes include: Jack the Pumpkin King, Willy Wonka, Larry David, Princess Tiana, the vampire Lestat, Andy and her Maltese Costanza.
twitter @KiraSaito


  1. Bummer to hear this one isn't quite as awesome as the blurb. Ditto that I love books set in The Big Easy (thank you, Anne Rice), but if the main characters are both irritating and immature most of the way through the novel, then I may have to skip this one for a little while.


  2. I am a big Anne Rice fan, so I love anything taking place in New Orleans. Also- I find the setting of this story intriguing (plantation). This books sounds like it is worth the read, but nothing I need to race out and get now. Thanks for sharing such an honest review.


  3. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this book and I definitely loved the setting. There is a lot of potential in this series and I am curious as to where it will go.