Book One of the Legacy of Tril
By Heather Brewer
Available now from Dial (Penguin)
Read my review of ELEVENTH GRADE BURNS
My ARC and Heather Brewer's site say that SOULBOUND will be available in July 2012. Amazon says June 19, 2012. I'm not sure who to trust, but my guess is you can go ahead and buy yourself a copy.
I normally don't quote blurbs in my reviews, but I was about to start explaining the world of Tril and realized the blurb did it quite neatly in a single sentence. "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." Kaya is a Healer and the daughter of two Barrons. But Barrons are not supposed to have relationships with each other. Kaya must attend the Shadow Academy and be the model Healer or her parents will be killed. But Kaya doesn't want to remain defenseless on the sidelines. She wants to fight.
Kaya and her friends should be safe within the walls of Shadow Academy. Somehow the Graplars, quick, vicious beasts, are breaching the defenses. If the perimeter's weakness can't be found, everyone living in the academy might perish. I loved that there is a self-contained plot in SOULBOUND in addition to the questions to be explored later in the Legend of Tril. Nothing annoys me more than the trend of first books that are all rising action. Kudos to Brewer for avoiding that trap.
I think Kaya is an easy heroine to identify with, especially for teenagers. She questions authority and works to pursue her dreams at all costs. I enjoyed Brewer's Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, but the real reason I wanted to read SOULBOUND was the fierce woman on the cover. Kaya lives up to the cover's promise.
Other major characters include Maddox, Darius, and Trayton. Maddox is assigned to be Kaya's guard and soon becomes her best friend. They're two troublemakers who are always there for each other. Darius is an Unskilled who teaches swordplay to the Barrons. He saves Kaya from a Graplar, then acts like he hates her. Yet he's the only person she can trust to teach her to fight. And Trayton is the Barron bound to Kaya. He's the rule-abiding sort, but Kaya's influence pushes him towards breaking tradition. I liked both guys, which makes me sad that there's probably going to be a full-blown love triangle in book two, SOULBROKEN.
If you're like me, you'll want to read SOULBROKEN the instant you finish SOULBOUND. (Cliffhangers, man. Cliffhangers.) Not even a cliffhanger would make me want to continue if the first book was bad, however. SOULBOUND is a terrific beginning to what should be an epic series. I like the characters and the world is intriguing. I'm ready to see Kaya shake up the establishment and to find out just what evil King Darrek's deal is. Fantasy fans will eagerly devour SOULBOUND.