(Reviews posted at The Book Pushers)
MiscJoy: I read Soulbound (Lone Star Witch #1) a year ago and left that story quite conflicted. When Flamebound came up for review, I hoped that some of the issues I had with the first story would smooth out within a now established world. It didn’t quite work out that way for me. For the most part, I enjoyed the story. The action kept moving at a brisk pace and the relationship dynamics between Xandra and Declan lead to some realistic give-and-take growth on both their parts. However, some of the key plot elements didn’t work well for me and in the end, I was left feeling like I’d been cheated out of what could have been a really great storyline.
Cass: I didn’t leave Soulbound feeling conflicted – I rather liked it. Though my main takeaway from it a year later was the glorious lack of a love triangle. (Come, MiscJoy! Bask in the wondrous absence of the genre’s obligatory love triangle!) Well, that and the high chance of political intrigue. Are Xandra’s family evil despots? Or mindless figureheads backed by a murderous clandestine agency?
Sadly, Flamebound failed to deliver the dynamic plot I wanted. It was an engaging enough read, but ultimately unsatisfying. Like Chinese food. Though it was delicious while it lasted, I was hungry again as soon as I finished. AND they forgot my fortune cookie!
MiscJoy: LOL! What a perfect description! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Soulbound but I felt a lack of cohesion in some of the basic storytelling elements which seemed to present again in Flamebound. Ultimately, for me, it comes down to the fact that I enjoy Adams’ writing style and I can forgive a weak plot when I like how a writer writes. Adams sets a blazing pace with the narrative and doesn’t shy away from dragging her characters through hell. I mean, hello? As a magical empath, Xandra is inexplicably drawn to murder scenes that take place within some proximity to her whereby she then psychically experiences the victim’s violent death. That makes for some tough scenes. In the first book, she experienced multiple psychic rapes and various other forms of torture. Although Flamebound doesn’t have more of the psychic rapes, given Xandra’s magical ability, you gotta know there will be violent murder and you’re gonna read about it as Xandra experiences it.
I think Adams is great at creating some dynamic primary characters and exploring relationship dynamics. My favorite aspect to this series is the relationship between Xandra and Declan. Here we have two very powerful characters. Declan, who is the most powerful warlock ever and knows it and has the alpha-male personality to go with it. Xandra, who is likely going to be the most powerful witch ever and doesn’t have a clue but is catching on fast. Do you know what I liked even more than the glorious absence of a love triangle? The absence of relationship melodrama and angst. These two characters wanted to be together, and so they were together. None of that wishy-washy, back-and-forth game playing. They actually communicated and worked their issues out. I found it refreshing. On the other end, I still don’t feel like Xandra’s family or the location of Ipswitch have been fully integrated into the series. The connections to these important secondary characters and locations just don’t feel complete and instead come across as rather one dimensional.
Cass: I agree that Adams’ strengths are in the romance. The relationship between Declan and Xandra is handled perfectly from start to finish. Didn’t set off any of my “this is a DV relationship” alarm bells! Which is tragically rare in the genre...
Read the complete joint review at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/12/02/joint-review-flamebound-lone-star-witch-2-by-tessa-adams/