Read from 19th October to 20th October 2011
I was given an ARC of this book by the author Kira Saito, for my kindle.
From the moment I first picked this book up, I could tell it was going to be good. And having just put it down, I can tell you I was right.
Being an avid reader of YA books, and having read Ruined by Paula Morris, Meridian by Amber Kizer and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, I feel the following sentiment to be the right way of expressing what lies in the pages of this book:
You take a base layer of Paula Morris, add a pinch of Amber Kizer and a helping of Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, add them all together and you have the perfect recipe to make Bound by Kira Saito.
It is a beautifully written book that draws you in from the first page, and will not let you go until you search out the very last word.
Bound may be one of my favourite books of 2011, perhaps even of the last few years.
Having said it was a mixture of ingredients for the style, the content of this book is still a unique story and stands well on it's own merits. I just think for fans of the aforementioned authors, this book is a must!
It is the story of Arelia LaRue, a typical teenager, except for the fact that she can see and communicate with spirits. She says "If I lived anywhere but New Orleans, I would have thought I was a lunatic. Only here was it perfectly acceptable to leave spirits rum and talk to them as if they were human."
Arelia lives with her Grand-mere Bea in modest accomodation, money never having been in abundance to them. Her best friend is Sabrina, a 'label snob' who likes nothing more than availing herself of the best of things. If it doesn't have a designer label on it, I don't think Sabrina owns it.
This makes Arelia and Sabrina complete opposites. Arelia is a girl of modest means, and dresses in jeans and tank tops, no matter the label in them.
But though the girls seem opposites, it is true when they say 'opposites attract'. The girls have been friends all their lives, having been born only a day apart.
Considering how tight money is for Arelia, when Sabrina says she got an invitation to go and work at the Darkwood Plantation for two months, Arelia agrees to go with her. She hopes to earn enough money to make things a little easier for herself and Grand-mere Bea.
Upon arriving at Darkwood, Arelia and Sabrina meet Henri and Ms Mae (you can find out who they are for yourselves), Ivan, who also works at the plantation, and a few other "characters", meant in both senses of the word.
Ivan makes snarky remarks along the way about Arelia being a "Voodoo Queen", which really gets on her nerves. He also thinks he's extremely good looking, and I have to say, his attitude really bugged the life out of me. But that's good because you always need one such character that rubs you up the wrong way.
There is a ball at Darkwood and the girls are to start work by seeing to the guests every need. Make sure there drinks are topped up and that they are having a good time, that kind of thing.
Before the ball, Arelia takes a bath to freshen up, and due to the size of the house, gets so turned around that instead of ending up in the room she shares with Sabrina, she ends up in the room of a shirtless guy. (Whom we later discover to be called Lucus)
(I won't spoil it for you here. You really need to read it for yourself)
Down at the ball, Arelia is bothered by an obviously drunk guest, Mr Dumpty. Let me tell you, this guy is another that rubs me up the wrong way. He's a fat, lecherous creep, and he really should drink less hurricanes (cocktails). Mrs Dumpty is chatting up one of the servers, and neither of the Dumpty's are paying any attention to their son, Ben. So it really isn't any wonder when he gets lost.
Arelia takes it upon herself to find him, as his parents are so oblivious they don't even know he's lost. She thinks he may have gone to try and find the alligators and the swamp, which is all he has talked about since arriving.
Having nearly got lost in the oak trees outside, Arelia finds herself communing with a spirit, Brise (who takes the form of an owl because he believes himself too ugly) and asks him to help her find Ben.
Upon finding Ben, events take a turn that I shall not spoil for readers, and Arelia needs to use her voodoo to help resolve the situation. During this time, she meets Lucus LaPlante (formerly known as "shirtless guy") and he helps her and Ben find their way out of the cypress trees surrounding the swamp.
The story goes on to tell you about Arelia and her voodoo, Sabrina and her materialistic ways, Ivan and his snarky remarks, and we find out more about Lucus LaPlante.
As well as finding out more about Darkwood Plantation and it's past, involving slaves who formerly worked for the LaPlante family. We also get to see the relationship between Arelia and Lucus, though whether it is a romantic relationship, I really cannot tell you, you must read it for yourself.
All I can say is, Sabrina has her claws sunk into Lucus, and you can't tell whether she is telling the truth about their escapades, or lying to make her friend feel inadequate.
If I haven't told you enough of the story at this point to make you interested in reading it, then either I don't make my point very well, or you don't know what you're missing.
I absolutely loved this book, and cannot wait for Kira to write the next one. I am really dying to find out what happens next.
Thank you Kira for allowing me to read this before it's general release. I hope you feel the review does your beautiful book justice!