Early Review: Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent

May 20, 2012 Review 8

*This title will be released on May 22, 2012*

Shadow Bound (Unbound, #2)

Title: Shadow Bound
AuthorRachel Vincent
Series: Unbound #2
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Excerpt: Yes
Source: Netgalley
Reviewed by: Abigail

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (May 22, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0778313433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778313434

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery 

Sexual Content:
References to rape and torture. One sex scene.


Okay – A few good points, but with significant flaws. Library/swap/borrow if you want.


If you live in the dark long enough, you begin to forget the light…

KORI DANIELS is a shadow-walker, able to travel instantly from one shadow to another. After weeks of confinement for betraying her boss, she’s ready to break free of the Tower syndicate for good. But Jake Tower has one final job for Kori, one chance to secure freedom for herself and her sister, Kenley, even if that means taking it from someone else…

The job? Recruit Ian Holt—or kill him.

Ian’s ability to manipulate the dark has drawn interest from every syndicate in the world, most notably an invitation from Jake Tower. Though he has no interest in organized crime, Ian accepts the invite, because he’s on a mission of his own. Ian has come to kill Tower’s top Binder: Kori’s little sister.

Amid the tangle of lies, an unexpected thread of truth connecting Ian and Kori comes to light. But with opposing goals, they’ll have to choose between love and liberty….


Paranormal fiction by definition isn’t normal.  It’s other, it’s different.  But what makes paranormal fiction so good is how it plays with all sorts of supernatural things and makes them feel real and relatable.  Even in cases like the Unbound series, where words and oaths are power, where Skilled people can travel through shadows or blot out the sun.  There is no question that Rachel Vincent’s worldbuilding captures that perfect blend between paranormal and plausible, but unlike the previous book in this series, nothing else does.

I’m not used to having to be critical of anything Rachel Vincent writes, so bear with me.

If only the characters had been half as good as the worldbuilding, this would be a much more favorable review. But they weren’t.  Kori was grating from the start. I didn’t believe anything about her.  SHADOW BOUND begins with Kori being released from weeks of hellish torture where she was starved and brutalized in everyway possible.   A couple weeks later she tops the scales at one hundred pounds and yet she knocks out massive skilled body guards and attackers left and right.  Didn’t buy it.  Nor did I buy how quickly she started having romantic/lust filled emotions for Ian hours after meeting him (considering her rape and torture only two weeks ago). Worse still was the complete lack of chemistry between these two. Kori was over the top hard with temper issues, endless clichéd gripes, and one stupid move after the next (every time they go outside they get attacked…the solution is to obviously keep going outside and act surprised when an attack happens).  Ian wasn’t much brighter. He has an endgame that will 100% make Kori loathe him forever, but he wonders constantly about making sure her feelings for him are genuine.

Beyond Kori and Ian’s lack of intelligence, everything else felt ridiculously contrived.  Why exactly is Kori picked for this crazy important assignment?  Why is she allowed to stay on this assignment when she tries to sabotage it the first time she opens her mouth? Why do Kori and Ian conveniently forget that their loved ones will die if they don’t get the other to do something horrible and instead go on dates and share flirtatious backstories? Why does no one think to look for them at Kori’s house when they run off?  I can’t count how many times I wondered why the easy, obvious action/answer wasn’t picked.  I just didn’t get it. 

I’m a huge Rachel Vincent fan.  I gave the first book in the Unbound series a 5/5 rating so I was more than ready to love SHADOW BOUND just as much, but even though the worldbuilding is truly excellent and Rachel does write well, this time neither the characters nor the storyline lived up to it.  Fortunately there will be two new characters leading the story in OATH BOUND when it comes out in 2013. I have to hope this installment was a fluke and that the next book will be just as killer as the first.


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8 Responses to “Early Review: Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent”

  1. StacyUFI

    That is very disappointing. I think I will pass on purchasing a copy and just read the review copy I got from Netgalley. I really loved book 1 and all Rachel's other books so this is sad.

  2. Abigail

    I was so surprised by how different this book felt compared to the first one. FYI the netgalley version has quite a few missing words and typos.

  3. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    This book definitely didn't live up to its potential. I found that Kori and Ian did fall short as characters but I still did love the world and Rachel's knack for telling an excellent story.

  4. Abigail

    I adore this world. That's part of what made the shortcomings so disappointing. Did you review it?

  5. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    Not yet, I just finished it today so hopefully this week sometime. I understand your disappointment but not to the extent of giving it a 2/5. I need to check out a few other reviews and compare.

  6. StacyUFI

    Thanks Abigail I will keep that in mind. I was so excited to dig into it but now I find myself pushing it off. Uggh