My Rating:4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Review copy provide by author.
The return trip to Ragnarok, Iowa, takes the reader a bit forward in time (one year maybe) past the conclusion of Ms. Stone’s Demon Crossings. We learned in the first story of the Twilight of the Gods that clan huntsman Christian is bound to marry a witch from outside their clan to replace their retiring one. The start of Witch Bound introduces us to Raquel, Christian’s bride-to-be.
The pair meet in person for the first time, and although there is some mutual attraction, Raquel quickly learns that Christian wants out of the contract, however his sense of duty would never let him renege on the promises made by his parents. In addition, we learn that although Raquel has the potential to be one of the most powerful witches in recent history, she cannot tap into her magic. Both of these circumstances lead to immediate tension and an interesting story!
It is difficult for me to put a finger on exactly why I enjoyed this book and loved its characters so much--I just did! The honest and emotionally-driven dialogues between the three main characters, coupled with their innate good natures allowed me to care for their well-being. Raquel, Christian and Fen are all good people who are struggling with a situation in which they feel there is no way out. Although Raquel came to Ragnarok with hopes of a forever love with Christian, she quickly realizes that love at first sight isn’t realistic. However, she hopes, as does Christian, that maybe love could eventually come to them.
I completely admire Raquel. She has a good heart and a strong sense of right over wrong. She also stands up for herself without being pushy. She won’t let others pressure her into something she knows in her heart maybe not be the right thing to do. Although she is impulsive, everything she does is filled with good intentions.
The attraction between Fen and Raquel is quiet but powerful. It is that unattainable and unrequited type of romance that makes my heart pitter-patter and causes me to cheer so hard to see them together. It was sweet how quickly Fen falls for Raquel -- so unsure of how to deal with his emotions. And Fen is such a good guy. When he realizes his attraction is growing too large for his best friend’s girl, he tries to find a way to distance himself, while still be a friend to Raquel. He cares deeply for both Raquel and Christian, and he wants them both to heal and be happy.
Finally, I really like that Ms. Stone allows Christian to be a good man. He wants what is best for Raquel, even though he doesn't love her. He wants do what is right by her while fulfilling his duties. He realizes Fen is falling for Raquel and struggles to figure out what is best for everyone involved.
I just adore that Witch Bound is NOT a love triangle. It is a story about three good people that are struggling between duty and true desire/love. Raquel and Christian may have made a good couple if circumstances were different. But she and Fen connect from the beginning, and they fell hard for one another. No one is a bad guy!
Meanwhile, there is more going on in Ragnarok than a wedding and love stories. The fault between worlds (Asgard and Earth) is growing increasingly unstable, with more frequent demon escapes. Raquel is expected to fix the shields that protect Ragnarok, but with her magic blocked up, she’s having difficulties. Solving the mystery of why this is occurring, plus a return visit with the Vanir on Asgard (from Demon Crossings), creates a bit of tension and suspense in the mix. I really enjoyed how it all played out. The trip to Asgard wasn't as prolonged as it was in Demon Crossing, and it fit with the story better this second time around.
All in all, I just love the mythology and characters that Ms. Stone has created. Witch Bound is an enjoyable, exciting and well-written story. I adore Fen and Raquel something hard. I felt the flow of the story was much tighter then the first book in the series. In addition, there is just enough left open to leave me wanting the next story now!