Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: Bound by Night

Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampire #1)



Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories—along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .
A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation—a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.

Themes: Vampires

Rating: 5 stars

Heat Rating: 


Wow, I never thought I would be able to say this, but I have found a series that seems even more twisted and emotion packed that Ione’s last series, Lords of Deliverance, and even it’s predecessor, the Demonica Series. This first novel in the new MoonBound series begins with a tragedy and continues to tug your heart string right up to the final pages, making this one of my favorite new reads of the year.  I will admit I was reluctant to start a new series by this author because I had become so invested in the other series; I was certain she couldn’t do another totally different series justice while continuing the greatness of the other series, but I was once again proved wrong in my assumptions—don’t you just love when that happens? :) Ione takes us into an all new reality where the existence of vampires is not only widely known but something that has become a bit of a business and political hot button.  With humans capturing vampires and turning them into slaves as well as conducting some pretty gruesome research using them as lab rats, this world is dark, twisted and shows us the darker side of human nature while bringing to light some parts of human history that should never be repeated. If you’ve looking for another lighthearted vampire romance you’re looking in the wrong place, but if you’re anticipating another great desolate, emotional, and terrifying look at an alternate world written by an author who has made this her trademark, you will not be in any way disappointed.
The story begins in the past, with a glimpse of rebellion; young Nicole is attacked during the rebellion of her families “servants” and left for dead when the vampires that her parents have always profited off, rise up and attempt to win their freedom.  Fast forward almost 20 years and Nicole is back in the limelight.  She has spent the majority of her life hiding from her past and working in the lab in an attempt to keep order in her life, but with the death of her parents leaving a whole at the top of the family corporation, the time has come for her to take the reins.  When she comes out of virtual hiding, returning to her family home, she’s not even home for a few weeks when she is attacked and kidnapped by vampires. Not just any vampire though, the mate of her former nanny, the one that she watched kill her beloved caregiver almost 20 years before—Riker. Riker is determined to use Nicole’s position and knowledge of her families disgusting business to save the life of an innocent vampire that has been stolen from his clan, before he takes his final revenge of the evil family that cost him his mate and unborn child. Nicole’s anxiety hides a core of steel and as they spend more and more time together, facing all the hate and anger of their past, each discovering that their pasts might just not be what they each thought, and the emotional connection between them morphs into something neither ever would have imagined.  But will their tenuous new bond be enough to overcome the past to build a future, or will the demons that haunt them both keep them from finding their destiny together.
I couldn’t even begin to express the levels of emotion that are layered in this story.  There is so much between Nicole and Riker from their pasts and into their present.  The hate and rage that each levels at the other, attacking and forcing them to face sad truths and misconceptions that have shaped their lives, makes this story deeply complex and heart wrenching from start to end.  I can honestly say I haven’t read a story with more dark emotion and passion in a long time, especially one that was so well written.  Riker certainly has his reasons for his erroneous belief about the past in general and Nicole specifically, but I was sad to see that Riker carried so much hate for a woman who had very little to do with the circumstances of their past.  True her family had a lot of rotten branches, but though she was guilty of sticking her head in the sand and letting her fear rule her, she never went out of her way to be cruel to anyone, even vampires. Riker’s dark passions and hatred lead to a lot of sadness in his life, but when he starts to accept the past and embrace the changes he needs to make to have a happier life, he becomes a very lovable guy.  Still with his dark and stormy edges, but one that I could easily see myself falling in love with. Nicole is a different type of character than many I have read.  While she is educated and thinks herself a woman of the world, her naiveté and innocent views of the world and the actions of other humans, she can’t seem to find the good in vampires either.  Her fears led her to make generalizations of the goodness, or lack thereof, of all vampires, and she has lived her life accordingly.  When she is finally forced to face the fact that nothing she believed about her past or family was true, she became a stronger woman, one willing to stand up to others for herself, her friends, and her new beliefs. The growth these two characters underwent, the changes thrust upon them as their time together brought startling truths to light, was a perfect example of making snap judgments and basing your life on one bad moment to the detriment of your entire life.
While there was certainly a dark angry passion between Nicole and Riker from the very beginning, it was one so laced with abhorrence and hatred that you just can’t imagine how these two could ever become friends, much less lovers or more. Ione has always been a master at taking two individuals from disparate backgrounds, sometimes even sworn enemies and making them face the fact that nothing is ever as simple as black and white in the world of shades of gray. Nicole’s belief that Riker killed his mate is one major reason for her to never open herself to him in any way, but when that changes, she begins to see that she might have too harshly judged Riker in particular and perhaps even all vampires. The time they are forced to spend together makes denying the pull between them that much more difficult, until even the angers of their pasts isn't enough to keep them apart.  Even though Riker gives into his lust for Nicole, he still keeps himself distant, separate in any way except the most basic need to be together to accomplish their goals. Nicole hates that she is developing deeper feelings for a man who can’t seem to let go of the past and see her for the woman she is, one that just might be falling in love with him. In the end it takes a sacrifice on both their parts and their willingness to not let the past destroy what they could have, to allow them to see the great relationship they could truly have together.
This chilling and heavily emotional novel opens to us a new and scary world where vampires are second class citizens that are forced into slavery and treated as nothing more than property. (Being a student of human nature I can say that I could perfectly imagine this happening if another species was ever found to exist among us.)  Nicole lives in the upper echelons of society though she has never fit in among them.  Her tragic past has given her a healthy fear of the vampires that live around her, but when she is forced to deal with her worst nightmare she steps up to the plate and handles the situation the best way she knows how.  Riker has let his hate and rage fester for Nicole and her family for a long time and letting go of it is just not something he’s willing to do, even if it means pushing away a woman he is coming to trust and have softer feelings for.  When faced with the choice of learning to depend on one another and trust in their instincts or possibly losing their lives to the true enemy of both of their pasts, both Riker and Nicole have to accept that sometimes the hardest choice is really the only choice we can live with.  Riker and Nicole burn up the pages while breaking your heart, and I can guarantee there will be at least one if not more times you will wish you could reach out and kick Riker in the balls, but in the end Riker redeems himself as a true hero and a match made for Nicole.  Two broken characters, each with terrifying and haunting memories of their past, each unwilling to let go of their prejudices, forced to work together for a common goal, one that could forever change their future, in one of the best written novels I’ve read recently. Who could ask for more in a story? I cannot wait for more in this series, and am dying to know whose story will be next, though I certainly have my suspicions.  Hold on to your hats folks, it's gonna be a wild and crazy road as we travel through the world of the MoonBound Vampire clan! Bring it on Larissa, bring it on.

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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