Sunday, February 17, 2013

Soulbound by Heather Brewer

Title: Soulbound
Author: heather Brewer
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Pages: 394 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Birthday gift from my friends
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

Soulbound (Legacy of Tril, #1)Tril is a world where Barrons and Healers are Bound to each other: Barrons fight and Healers cure their Barrons' wounds in the ongoing war with the evil Graplar King. Seventeen-year-old Kaya was born a Healer, but she wants to fight. In Tril, and at Shadow Academy, where she is sent to learn to heal, it is against Protocol for Healers to fight. So Kaya must learn in secret. Enter two young men: One charming, rule-following Barron who becomes Bound to Kaya and whose life she must protect at all costs. And one with a mysterious past who seems bent on making Kaya's life as difficult as possible. Kaya asks both to train her, but only one will, and the consequences will change their lives forever.


I've held off on composing this review for days because even thinking about this book makes me start frothing at the mouth. Between nothing happening until the last thirty pages, too many things being explained with BECAUSE REASONS, a awful, ham-fisted approach to a great theme, and these effing characters, I haven't been able to sit still long enough. There's too much rage for my keyboard to take. Expect a lot of CAPS LOCK because there's no way to stop it.

It starts out decently enough with a Graplar killing Kaya's friend--a friend who only gets a rare few mentions throughout the rest of this lengthy novel despite how close she and Kaya apparently were. Then comes the letter from the Zettai Council telling her she better go to this school or else and oh yeah, her Soulbound Barron is dead. It's so completely obvious it's a lie they told BECAUSE REASONS that I spent the rest of the book wondering when they were going to reveal he's alive. Answer? Not until the end. FRUSTRATION.

The further in I got, the more questions I had. This seems like a typical European-society-based fantasy novel, but they've got katanas and a few Japanese words/names thrown in. What's wrong with giving them claymores or longswords or any of the other European weapons? An Asian-European fantasy this is not; it's just European with Asian elements occasionally shoehorned in so these people have an excuse to wield katanas. BECAUSE KATANAS ARE AWESOME.

Why the Barron/Healer society refuses to train Healers (Barrons will always be there to protect them) is idiotic. Barron gets too busy, untrained Healer is left on their own, and then we have a dead Healer because they'd rather stick to tradition than train the Healers they're throwing onto the battlefield in how to fight. I admire Kaya for objecting to this obvious bull, it's done so ham-fistedly it's not worth admiring anymore.

For all its issues, the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead handles the same theme much more decently. The Healers of that series are the Moroi and the Barrons are the dhampirs. The dhampirs are trained within an inch of their lives to defend the Moroi, but the Moroi aren't trained at all because the dhampirs will always defend them... until they're overwhelmed or killed, in which case the Moroi are screwed. In that series, the issue builds over time because that dichotomy is so deeply ingrained in their society, but here, Kaya just has right at it and handles the issues with none of the nuance it deserves.

Then Soulbound introduced me to my pet peeve line, aka a common line that appears in many books that makes you want to punch something. Mine? "Any girl in her right mind would have flirted with him (p. 84)," "It was a wonder any girl could resist him (p. 125)," and all variations of that line. Basically, lines that say ALL women love this guy and/or aren't in their right mind if they don't.

HEY. HEY. CUT THAT OUT, JACKASS. THIS NONHETEROSEXUAL FEMALE BLOGGER IS GETTING PISSED OFF BY YOUR HETERONORMATIVE ANTICS. Not to mention it's stereotyping heterosexual people too, but more importantly, it's acting like LGBT people and asexual people don't exist.

Maybe if things were actually happening, my annoyance wouldn't have been so great, but the majority of this novel is boarding school shenanigans where Kaya sneaks around for training sessions, time with her boyfriend/Barron, confrontations with the one-dimensional mean girl love rival Melanie, and worldbuilding done via classes. Those classes don't even explain the main point: why did Barrons and Healers go to war against the Graplar King a century ago? BECAUSE REASONS, THAT'S WHY. (I told you that was the explanation for everything. You had warning.)

The characters aren't even worth talking about. Kaya is flat, Darius is flat, Trayton is flat, and it took me five minutes just to remember their names. All the relationships are flat as well, happening with little to no development. Just blah blah blah blah blah.

The next novel seems to promise answers to a lot of the questions Soulbound raises, but I won't be sticking around for it. My annoyance levels are too high to deal with more of these characters and this series in general. Ugh! So much disappointment and anger!

1 star!

What am I reading next?: Blaze by Laura Boyle Chapman


  1. Sorry to hear that you did care for it. For me, there were parts that bothered me, but I really enjoyed it.

  2. Sorry to hear it's not a good book.
    You know what would be interesting? If one of those cliche love interests was a girl ;). I'm just really curious how that would play out.
    Then again, You need really good author to pull it off.


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