Title: Bound by Blood and Sand
Author: Becky Allen
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published: 11th October 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Acquired: Bought online
Rating: ★★★★☆ [3.5]
Book Blurb:: Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.
Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.
Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.
But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.
Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the realm’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.
Aw, so I kinda have a bit of a soft spot for Bound in Blood and Sand, as it featured in my second-ever Anticipated Releases almost 2 years ago 🙂 Not only is the cover design really cool but I’ve always been intrigued by the storyline. It took me a while to buy and read this one as it’s not actually published in the UK, so I had to buy a US copy on Amazon. And it turned out to be quite a good read!
The above blurb kinda explains the story pretty well, so I wont do my own recap like I usually do. There were so many things I enjoyed about Bound in Blood and Sand! 🙂 I loved the concept of desert cities where the settlement, and its future, is essentially reliant on a magic well. It was a cool element and definitely helped me understand how their world works.
I also really enjoyed the idea of the curse within the lower levels of society. It was really interesting and added an extra depth that sadistic me like to read about
(I just like to read about trials and suffering okay, don’t judge me haha). I mean we got to see so many instances of its negativity and how it affected the Closest in different ways (such as between Tal and Lady Shirrad), it was a really cool concept. I also liked how people got around the constraints of the curse too, and how, during Elan’s parts, we got to see the ignorance of the Highest in their speech, completely unaware how their actions are affecting those who are cursed; it was great.
It was also nice that romance wasn’t the key theme in this book. I mean there were flutterings here and there, but it didn’t dominate the story. While romance can be nice at times, I do think it would have detracted from the main plot and the key messages the novel wants to convey, so I think the way it was done here is both refreshing and well-executed. I’m sure there would be more romance as the series progresses though!
In general Bound by Blood and Sand was an interesting story. I found this book to be an easy read, and I kept finding myself wanting to dive back in to the world! The only thing I will say is that I can’t say I was 100% enthralled by it. I’m not sure why exactly, but while it was a good story it just didn’t keep me rooted to the edge of my seat or anything. That’s definitely my problem rather than a fault with the novel itself, though!
In terms of characters, I liked Jae. I mean she was a bit annoying and repetitive at times, but I really liked her reaction to her magic. It was actually one of the reasons why I wanted to read the book in the first place! She is good at heart but has the right to feel angry at her and her people’s treatment, as well as the lies throughout history. It gives her a slight morally-grey aspect to her personality. She doesn’t feel the need to “save the world”, which is a nice touch and actually quite refreshing.
I did also like Elan’s growth as a character. His attitude towards the Closest and their treatment was gradual and, while a tad predictable, it worked really well. 🙂 It felt natural in the plot and not forced at all- well done!
All in all I felt this was a really solid debut! I’m not sure if I am invested enough to read the sequel at the moment, but at the same time it had a great concept, with enjoyable character traits and interesting ideas. It’s also refreshing that romance didn’t overshadow the whole story! A lovely read all round 🙂
Have you read Bound by Blood and Sand? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!