The Bonded by John Falin
Vinculum. A word hastily scrawled on a scrap of paper left behind by his long dead parents, becomes much more than a mystery. It becomes Adriel’s world. Adriel struggled with his life, travelling the world and searching for his place in it. His pale green eyes and snow-white hair instantly singled him out in a crowd, but that wasn’t what made him different. As he struggled with conformity, he also waged war with himself—never able to control the raging pressure that swelled deep within him, alluring him with dark desires, tempting him to think of unspeakable things. Things no human should ever think about. When he awakens from a vicious attack, he is reborn in a world where the unspeakable is real. And they are more terrifying than the one he has fought within himself for so long. Blood-sucking creatures, terrors with razor-sharp claws, and strategists with lethal plans lurk in the shadows, living in a world of darkness….And Adriel is one of them.
Wow, I saw this on a few blogs during a blog tour and expressed my interest in reading it. (OK..It was the cover..I mean look at it! Awesome.) Imagine my delight when the author asked me if I’d like an ARC of The Bonded. I knew from the synopsis that I was about to embark on an urban fantasy about vampires but I had no idea I was about to enter a dark and gritty world filled with so much more. Falin delivered a unique twist on the history of not only Vampires, but Wears and Fae too! I quickly consumed this tale with its heavy world-building and captivating protagonist.
We meet Adriel with his cocky loner attitude and his shocking white hair and transparent green eyes and we know that he is different. He has been alone in the world since he was sixteen and has traveled the world in search of something unknown; all the while controlling a dark beast that lies within him. All of that is about to change in a small Maryland bar when he encounters a beautiful woman named Percy and her two obnoxious ego induced friends. The tale that unfolds is captivating as Adriel begins a journey that is fascinating, centuries old and filled with danger.
Adriel is confident, snarky and at times obnoxious. He is highly sensitive to smell and his hearing is outstanding. He requires periods of solitude and has the ability to discern a lie. I found him to be fasinating and complex. The discovery of whom or what he is was a fascinating journey and one I look forward to continuing. While we witness growth throughout the novel in his character he is not yet complete. Percy is strong, brave, and loyal. Her connection to Adriel is fascinating. The relationship that develops or evolves is not really a romance but something bigger and deeper. Their banter was hilarious at times and their bond heartwarming. We meet clans of vampires and waers and their clan’s hierocracy and individual personalities were engaging. Quilici a clan leader of the waer was well fleshed out and I thought his insight and rational thoughts interesting. He made the tale feel genuine and the suspense come alive. Cassius is everything you will love to hate in a villain and I look forward to seeing him get his just desserts! We catch a glimpse of the Fae and I am eager to discover more.
This dark, sometimes gritty urban fantasy had elements of high fantasy and lore. While this tale is just the beginning of Adriel’s Legacy the author did a splendid job of laying out the world-building. I finished reading with a strong sense of the main clans, and an understanding of Adriel and Percy’s role in the saga to come. While the history and character’s kept me enthralled, the pace may be offsetting to some, but I assure you it is well worth it. While Adriel isn’t the most loveable protagonist I have ever met, he grew on me and I really appreciated the complexity of his character and felt it added to the believability of the tale. I am really excited about continuing this journey.
I recommend The Bonded to fans of dark urban fantasy, high fantasy, lore and sagas. Falin shares with us his clever imagination and I am anxious to see where he takes me.
Four cups of bold Columbian coffee out of five