Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Soulbound

Soulbound (Darkest London #6)

by Kristen Callihan


Once two souls are joined...
When Adam's soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled—and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone...
Their hearts will beat together forever...
No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn't stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted—by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam's kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken...
Themes:  paranormal, historical
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
It’s finally here! The long-awaited full story of Adam and his Eliza. We have speculated about Adam for several stories now, including wondering what he really is and where he comes from, not to mention why he takes Eliza and chains her to him when he normally requires nothing of the sort from him GIMs.  I personally have been dying to find out the whole story and see if Adam can pull off an HEA for himself and his lady.  Callihan is one of those authors whose imagination is truly a wonder, her ability to take something most of us would see as mundane, like 19th century London, and turn it into a wonderland of paranormal creations, scientifically terrifying wonders, and horrifying plots to take over the world.  I was very skeptical about this series in the beginning but after the very first book knew I would be a longtime fan and as each new book opens the world of Darkest London to me, I am more and more drawn into these characters lives and dramas.  This story picks up shortly after the last one, but does give us a nice reminder (in the form of a prologue) of the beginnings of Eliza and Adam’s “relationship”, before jumping right into the new life Eliza is living with her long lost relatives.  In true Callihan fashion this story is full of darkness and redemption, growth and understanding and ultimately a love to change the world and I can promise you won’t regret reading it—though I do recommend reading the previous stories in the series first so you understand the many layers of this world. 
Adam and Eliza’s story is definitely one of heartbreak in so many ways, including seeing a once invulnerable and larger than life Adam brought low by torture and starvation, but in the end Eliza sees below his surface arrogance to the truly great man he is and finds a way to open her heart to him.   Their interactions were an outlet for Callihan’s sarcasm and facetiousness certainly, but under their sniping they slowly learn about each other and find an understanding of their motives and a way to work together to save themselves from the Fae that are determined to destroy them.  As the story progresses, we see just how important Adam is to the underworld that exists in London alongside the mundanes that don’t even realize they are not alone.  There was honestly so much going on in this story I will leave you to read and find out all of it, but I will say that you will not be able to put the book down and should make sure you have your reader's survival kit of snacks, drinks, and tissues nearby as you read. 
I loved Adam’s character almost as often as I hated him, just simply not understanding how he was determined to make Eliza think the worst of him just to save his pride.  When he finally accepted that only by sharing himself with her does he have a chance to win her, I fell in love with him myself and wished I could have had one of him for my very own.  His past is murky, but it’s obvious that he tries to do good in his life and find a way to make a difference while fulfilling his mission.  His strength and sweetness (when he allows it to shine through) comes with an edge, but that edge keeps him from becoming a forgettable character.  His back-story when we learn the whole truth really is remarkable and ingenious, something I could never have imagined but that Callihan presents so beautifully you just believe ever word.  Eliza on the other hand took a while for me to warm up to.  She seemed so often like a spoiled brat, refusing to accept her own choices in life and the consequences of those choices, but I think that was the author’s intentions.  She obviously has issues to work through and as she does work through them I start to like her a lot more.  But her one saving grace from start to finish is her inability to walk away from suffering, even her enemies, when she knows it is unjust and uncalled for.  When she cares for Adam at his lowest, even as she throws insults and sarcasm at him, her gentleness and care for him show that she is very much a good woman and a redeemable character.  Overall these characters were the best kind in any story—flawed, damaged, and in need of redemption. 
Soulbound was a story that grabbed my attention, pulled me in, and spit me out in the end with a new appreciation of the traumas a person can live through and still find love.  The overall plot, the Fae and their machinations, and the relationship between Adam and Eliza feed off one another, each unique but intertwined and there is no denying the storytelling genius of the author.   Adam was a broken man, split in half but determined to find a way to be whole again and find peace in his life, though unsure exactly how to do it.  Even though he has existed for centuries, he is unable to truly understand the one thing he needs to so he can find that peace, the woman who is the other half of his soul.  Eliza has had a rough life, but when she is forced to make choices, sometimes without enough time to think them fully through, she is often unwilling to deal fully with the consequences of her choices, which is anathema to me but gives her the perfect foil for growth as she begins to understand those consequences.  Thankfully Eliza begins to evolve and find acceptance of her new circumstances and in doing so is able to being to accept Adam and the sparks that have flown between them since the beginning of their acquaintance.  That passion for life and freedom carries over into their love and makes the heat between them a conflagration that could burn the world if they allow it to, if they focus on that love to the exclusion of all other responsibilities.  This was a story that was beyond awesome in some many ways, not the least of which was getting to see a lot of the other couples from the series and how they all interact and work together.  In the end I find myself dying to find out what happens next and suspect that St. John’s story will be next and can only hope I’m right.  Another great glimpse into the dark London Underworld and one that will keep you snorting at the wit and sarcasm, crying at the heartbreak and traumas, and falling in love with the H/h and hoping against all odds that they find their HEA.   Great work Kristen.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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