April 10, 2014

Review: Darkbound

Darkbound Second book in The Legacy of Moonset series
By Scott Tracey
Available now from Flux (Llewellyn)
Review copy
Read my reviews of Phantom Eyes and Moonset

I thoroughly enjoyed MOONSET, which I called a book about "small towns with secrets, people with secrets, a closely bound found family, black magic, and a protagonist who has a lot to learn" and noted that I was eager for the next book to see how some surprising revelations played out and what other secrets would be uncovered.  It set the stage of five siblings bound my magic, possibly as part of their now deceased parents' villainous master plan.

DARKBOUND's point of view shifts from Justin (the mediator sibling), who narrated MOONSET, to Malcolm (the just-wants-to-be-normal sibling).  It picks up all the threads left open at the end of MOONSET, ties them up with the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and throws in a powerful creep who misunderstands the meaning of love.

I took a bit to warm up to Mal at first.  I really liked Justin the super socially awkward.  Mal gets along with most people pretty well.  It's his siblings, the characters the reader already cares about, who he doesn't quite mesh with.  He wants a freedom that none of the others do.  But warm up to him I did, especially as DARKBOUND began to redeem Jenna (the troublemaking sibling).  Jenna wasn't flat-out awful or anything, but it's nice to see her point of view get some sympathy and for her to get some heroic moments.

I also liked how Mal was rounded out by the things he didn't say and his contradictions.  He clearly has a complicated relationship with his body (possibly an eating disorder) that possibly comes from the lack of control in his life due to his coven bond.  He also only expresses interests in other men, but never outright discusses his sexuality.  He gets along quite well with the head of the witchy Congress, despite the fact that he has a number of reasons to fear and dislike her.  He's unreasonable about magic in a way his siblings aren't, but he's more reasonable about a few things.

DARKBOUND does have it's flaws.  The climax is somewhat confusing, and definitely casts Mal in a different light.  Ash, Justin's girlfriend, disappears from the narrative completely.  There are only a few hints as to what the Moonset coven's ultimate plans were.  (Is this series going to be longer than a trilogy? I don't know.)  However, like its predecessor, it is fun.

I wonder which sibling will narrate next.  Jenna?  I'd love to read a book featuring her, but at the same time younger sibling Bailey and Cole have been shifted to the side.  (Cole certainly displays an intriguing bit of strangeness in DARKBOUND.)  But I'm eager to see where this series goes and how my perception will continue to shift as I read.  After all, like their parents, Justin, Jenna, Mal, Cole, and Bailey might not be the good guys.

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