This novel was a very...interesting read, and not the type of book I usually go for. The only reason I requested this book was because of the "royalty" concept, and as a huge fan of Disney and princes, I just couldn't stop myself. While even in the beginning my hopes weren't high, it was pretty much what I expected: vague, and without a properly-built setting. The romance was kind of cute and honestly probably the only reason I read this book until the end. Thankfully, the novel was a quick read, and it managed to keep my interest enough for me to keep going back.
The MC, Mellea, was a slightly annoying character; she grated on my nerves. A lot. In the first half of the book she was blindly argumentative, believing everything her father ever told her about the Guardians. Then when she meets Leo for the first time, she can't seem to do anything but nag and inform him of how much of a monster he is (despite the fact that the only time he becomes a monster is when Mellea calls him that). I have no idea how Leo could stand her, let alone want to be united with her. Of course he had his problems too, but they were more of the teenage boy issues you'd expect in a rich guy.
Lucky for me, naggy Mellea was present only in the first part of the book. Towards the end, it was all clingy Melle...which it turns out is ever worse. At this part:
"I squeal a little and tuck closer behind Leo,"
I think I snorted. How does a girl who goes around shouting at Guardians who have the power to kill her suddenly hide behind them? I'd have been more impressed if she used that as a move on Leo:/ I know I usually prefer MCs who aren't totally independent and still have a need for a little bit of romance, but Mellea was just pathetic. I have to say at this point I kind of missed her courage and nagging. It doesn't help that she's the only one of three "brides" who didn't get to learn combat. My reaction was even worse when I read this:
"Leo shouts, 'Arin, do not be so graphic around Mellea! She is not ready to hear that kind of talk.'"
Just...no. I can't even--. So now Mellea is so fragile that she can't even hear about death? I mean, come on! At this point I had almost no patience for the girl. I'd be lying if I said I could stand her. I suppose it turns out that independence really does look good on a girl. However, her weaknesses aren't the only reason I didn't enjoy reading the novel from her perspective. I'd have been completely fine with her fear of death if she had always been like that, but earlier in the novel, when the Lady Guardian died - a sweet, beautiful lady who gave her great advice how to make the best of her situation - the only thought Mellea could come up with was:
"There was still so much more I hoped to learn from her."
I believe that was exactly where my dislike of Mellea first started getting into the extremes. What kind of person thinks that after someone dies? I'd expect compassion at the death of an enemy, let alone a kind queen. And anyways, how does a person go from this unloving-unloved character to being a scaredy-cat? It just seems like a lot of personality changes, making the MC a character I just couldn't connect with.
So like I mentioned, the romance was what kept me reading. For example, Leo and Mellea's first meeting was adorable. There was that whole "I hate you but I'm mesmerized by you" thing going on, and some of the barbs exchanged just cracked me up. Here's my favorite scene with Mr. Guardian Successor:
"'What is your name?' Leo unexpectedly asks.
'Mellea Wendorn,' I say. I have no idea why I felt a need to throw in my last name. In fact I should have used a fake name. Geez I'm a moron.
Leo mumbles, 'That is a very strange name. I do not really care for it.'"
Though scenes like this were my favorite part of the book, after reading I felt like this wasn't my usual age group of books. I have a feeling that the novel is aimed more at people in middle school, though maybe that's just me. The lack of world-building and the not-so-intricate plot only glued that idea into my head even more strongly. I don't mean to be rude, but I feel like this is the type of book that I'd end up writing if I ever tried, a book with a tiny plot that's shoved aside in favor of the romance (of course, any book of mine would be a thousand times worse). Nevertheless, I got the same feeling after reading the book that I did when I first saw the cover of Bound: that it just wasn't that great.
Bound is an interesting novel that will fulfill any young reader's desire for a cute romance, but the lack of plot development and the presence of a double-personality main character encouraged me to turn away. As a side note though, while I had, in fact, planned not to read the next book in the series, that nice little cliffhanger at the end is making me doubt my decision >.<
Author: M.J. Stevens
Released: January 21, 2014
Publisher: M.J. Stevens
Genre: Fantasy, Romance