*Originally posted on Southern Bred, Southern Read Blog on 01/21/15*
Amelia is an 18 year girl who is finally on her own and off to college after years of being kept hidden away and protected from the world by her father. She has grown her whole life knowing that she is special and that she has powers but her father has refused to teach her anything about herself or her abilities. Her mother died when she was born and her brother left home when she was young, Amelia has been alone most of her life aside from her nanny, Rynna. She finally decides to go off to college to be able to enjoy a few years of her life that she will have to herself because the one small tidbit about her life that her father had shared with her is that she was betrothed to a prince (the son of an evil queen) when she turns 21. She picks a small college in the town that her brother lives in so that she can be close to him. While she is at school, she becomes best friend with a saucy southerner named Bethany who is really the only friend she has ever had. Bethany’s boyfriend, Micah, is a fellow Mage and is the only one other than her brother that Amelia can confide in about her magic. She also catches the eye of a handsome tattooed Theo James looking dude, Aidan. Not only is Aidan absolutely ridiculously steamy hot, but he is amazing and sweet. He lets Amelia know right off the bat that he wants to be with her and won’t stop until she says yes.
That’s the basic bare bones of the book. When I read the synopsis for the story (which is just a little less detailed) I knew that I had to read this book. I love fantasy books that have a magical element. What I wasn’t expecting was to like the book as much as I did. It was a very quick read for me even though it was decently long (360ish pages), but I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn’t put it down.
I absolutely love the characters in Bound by Duty. Amelia is the main lady and she is so realistic. You feel sad for her because she has spent her entire life feeling alone and trying to hide what she is, and now that she is finally coming into her own, poop is starting to hit the fan. One of my favorite scenes from the book is when Amelia has her first real breakthrough with her powers. She has so much frustration and hurt and anger built up that she just goes off to this secluded place behind her apartment building and goes all Mara Dyer on these rocks and blows stuff up. She completely loses her shit and it is absolutely amazing. I was fistpumping and cheering her on the whole time while I had my own surge of girl power. Through the story, Amelia’s character development is insane. She goes from being ignorant and weak and afraid to being strong and powerful and in charge. She knows what she has to do even though it breaks her heart.
And now I get to my favorite thing about this book…. Aidan. Oh my goodness. Aidan. He is ultimate book boyfriend material because is handsome, witty, sarcastic, and he just does not give a damn. He wants Amelia and he doesn’t care what he has to do to get her. As it turns out, they need each other and their love story is one of my favorites. The ending of the book and the cliffhanger ripped my heart out and threw it on the ground. My poor booboo Aidan. I need book two NOW so I can know what happens. Honestly, the spoiler plot twist that happens with Aidan you can kind of see coming a mile away, but I didn’t mind. I think I have figured out what his fate is regarding the second book, but I guess I’ll have to wait to see if I am right.
The other characters add a lot to the plot. Cole, Micah, Bethany, and even Charlie bring this story to life and set it apart from others life it. I love the connection between Amelia and Charlie. The jury is still out on my feelings about Micah, but we will see how that goes as the series goes on. Bethany is so feisty and a little fireball. One critique is that I didn’t find it believable how accepting she was to everything so quickly, but I am glad that she was. She was just a little too “oh okay, that’s all right honey!” to the whole shebang. Bethany is the type of friend that every girl dreams for. I also secretly hope that a love affair between Cole and Bethany happens because that would be totes cute!!
All in all, this is an amazing book. If you are a fan of magic and like reading fantasy in a contemporary setting, then this is your book. It took a lot of elements from my favorite fantasy books (Throne of Glass, Hexed, Rebel Belle, Mara Dyer) and threw them all together. I’m so glad Stormy Smith gave me the opportunity to read Bound by Duty. I am adding it to my 2015 favorites list, and I cannot wait to see what happens when the second book releases!!