Blood Bound (Unbound #1) by Rachel Vincent
This one has been driving me nuts, and I’m fairly certain that today I hit a turning point and am giving up.
First, I don’t like the characters – Liv and Cam are … well, they’re okay, for the most part, but they’re … boring. And naive, yet there are lines about them being “six years older but a century wiser and more jaded.” These characters are anything but jaded, in my opinion. I think I take a more cynical look at my job, and I’m only twenty-two. Sure, their world is dark and gritty and they have every reason to be full of angst, but these characters sound like teenagers who have had an admittedly difficult past (I guess? I can’t say that I really know all that much about their histories…) but are just now beginning to pass on their own in the real world, ie: I feel like I’ve had as much real-world experience as them at times, and I only just graduated college. Maybe that’s my own perspective bleeding through, or maybe they just don’t feel real enough to me for me to understand them as they are supposed to be. Either way, it was a big turn-off for me, though not enough to get this to the DNF shelf all on its own.
Second, I’m really not a fan of alternating first-person. Generally, if you want to alternate POV, use third-person, either limited or omniscient and I’ll be happy. I’ve only known the occassional author to successfully pull off alternating first-person POV, and they’re on my favorites lists for more reasons than just that. Vincent is not one of them. (Maybe this is another reason I don’t like her characters …)
And the secrets drove me nuts. I love a good mystery – really, I do. There’s nothing I like more than a book that keeps me guessing. It’s one of the best ways to drive suspense and interest. But the secrets in this one weren’t even good ones. They surprised me, and not in the way that they should. I was surprised at how lame they were at their revelation. And I don’t know, maybe they develop more much further than they seem to have been, but somehow I just don’t think so.
Oh, and this one touched on a big pet peeve of mine: don’t make reference to intimate details about “most people” if they don’t seem to be accurate. There are two passages about trying to figure out this guy’s password. TWO! The first one has Cam comment that he couldn’t get into this guy’s account because there wasn’t an obvious file with passwords in it. Then, later, Liv is apparently clever for thinking about how the passwords are saved in a notepad file on his phone. Initially, I figured it was a simple excuse to make it difficult for the main characters to learn their desired information. Then, when they didn’t mention the password-protected accounts to the professional hacker, I figured it wasn’t really important. Then we spent an awfully long time learning about notepad files on cell phones and how most people nowadays apparently keep a document of passwords on their phones. Frankly, if you’re going to suddenly have an easy time finding that information, I’d sooner believe that the guy was stupid enough to save his passwords into his browser, which is what most of the folks my age tend to do in lieu of documenting their passwords – especially if it’s on their personal computer.
Maybe it’s a tiny detail and I’m nitpicking, but there are other silly little things that have been driving me nuts. That was just the most memorable one.
All of which I could live with.
But she’s so torn about loving this guy and wanting to protect him – we don’t find out until halfway through the book why she needs to protect him – and then she won’t let him come near her until she makes sure that he understands the consequences of them being together. She even thinks about the fact that she’d blood bound to “the enemy” when she’s fending him off and explaining things, but she doesn’t say anything about it then.
Then they start to have sex and he sees her mark, that she conveniently didn’t mention until she was naked. Seriously? You know things are going to get steamy, you think about the fact that you haven’t told him your biggest secret, you know that he’ll find out as soon as he sees the mark on your upper thigh, and you don’t say anything before you two strip down?
… And that’s about where I gave up.
Maybe I’ll give this another go at another time, but I’ve had a bad week. I need comfort books, not ones I’m nit-picking.
That said, I’ve heard very good things about Rachel Vincent’s work, and I’ve also read a few other reviews implying that this is not one of her best. Maybe I’ll hunt down another one of hers and circle back to this one after I’ve gotten to know her style a bit better. After all, the plot of this one really does have potential, which is why I’m giving it 2 stars even though I’m not willing to finish it right now. The overarching plot is a good one, and the world is fairly intriguing. So far it needs a stronger, or at least more present, antagonist, but I have high hopes that the potential villains will develop more later in the book. It’s the sub-plots that have been getting to me.