Amelia Bradbury left home to escape her controlling father and stave off her preordained destiny. Amelia knows she is an Elder, which is leader in the Immortal community. (A quick note of explanation: in this book, the Immortal community is comprised of Mages, which Amelia is, as well as AniMages and Hunters). She also knows she's special; what she doesn't know is how or why she is special. She has been forced her entire life to hide her powers, so she isn’t quite “at one” with them. In fact, she often has a difficult time controlling her abilities. Amelia also knows that she is betrothed to the son of the evil Queen Julia, who unmercifully rules the Immortals, and that she only has a few years left before she is forced into this unwanted marriage. As Amelia attempts to harness her powers grows and search for clues as to who and what she is and can do, she must also ward off attacks by several unknown entities and keep her loved ones safe.
Amelia attends college in Brighton, where she can be far from her father but close to her brother Cole, also an Elder, and Amelia’s self-appointed protector. Rounding out the cast of characters is Rynna, Amelia’s surrogate mother; Bethany, Amelia’s Southern belle roommate and very first best friend; Micah, Bethany’s love-interest; and, last but not least, Aidan Montgomery.
What to say about Aidan? He is handsome, blue-eyed, and determined. He sets Amelia’s insides on fire. Aidan is sweet and kind and protective. Amelia, being unsure of her powers and having that whole “betrothal” thing to worry about, tries desperately to avoid Aidan but can’t fight the attraction she feels for him – and the sense of completeness her power feels in his presence. Much of the first act of the book centers on Amelia and Aidan’s burgeoning relationship.
Bound By Duty is an interesting story. Amelia is an interesting heroine. She isn’t brash or annoyingly confident. She is introspective, often insecure and unsure of her choices and movements. Amelia truly has no clue what she can do, both as a human and an Immortal. She doesn’t question WHY she is betrothed, or WHY the queen is evil. She doesn’t know how to use her abilities or even how much ability she possesses. She has spent her life hiding her powers and hiding from her father, who sheltered and tormented her to the point of breaking her. Much of the book takes place in Amelia’s head and we get a sense of how broken she is, and how torn she is as she struggles to fight her feelings for Aidan out of fairness to him because of her inescapable duty.
As is typical of this book genre, the males in Amelia’s life constantly tell her what to do and I loved reading the scenes where she tells them all to shove it, because that meant she was growing in confidence and coming into her own. The supporting characters in Amelia’s life are funny and supportive even when they are annoyingly overprotective. There are playful interactions and many lighthearted moments, which I enjoyed. I mean, who doesn’t love a good snarky verbal exchange?
The imagery in the book is beautiful. The setting is seaside and many scenes take place along the water’s edge, one of my favorite places in the world. The Immortals are all blessed with categorized eye colors that indicate to which group they belong, and the descriptions of the eyes are gorgeous (and maybe a little scary, especially when powers are being used). I liked the characters and their interactions.
At times, Amelia’s internal dialogue because a little tiresome, but that’s probably because I’m a cranky 35-year-old and not a young adult fighting intense emotional battles. It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of the story but once the location of the book switched from Amelia’s college campus/classrooms to mainly interactions with her friends and the explorations of her powers and relationships, the book picked up steam and sucked me in. I also enjoyed the twists in the story, some of which I anticipated and a few that I didn’t. I actually cried at the end of the book, as Amelia is forced to choose between her duty to the Immortal people she has the ability to protect and free from the horrors of the evil Queen, and a life that would include the love that she chooses and deserves. I was mentally yelling at Amelia as I honked my nose into the tissues and brushed aside tears. I can’t wait for Bound By Spells, the next installment, to hit the shelves!
Bound by Duty: 5/5 Stars! Great writing, witty banter, paranormal creatures, and a heroine who has only begun to kick ass and take names.
“I know I’m an Elder but there have been hundreds of Elders over the years. There is nothing special about me…”
“Just like I always had, I would make the choices I’d been told to make.”
“I couldn’t stop my eyes from roaming. There was something tortured about him…”