Review: Bound by Sarah Bryant

Book cover of Bound by Sarah Bryant

Isn’t it strange when you keep picking up books with the same themes without you realising? I recently read The Brides of Rollrock Island, a beautiful book about the legend of seal-women, and what happens in Bound? Conversations about selkies. And that’s not even considering the obvious theme of angels, like in another book I recently read, Fury. It didn’t even click that this would be my second book on this theme in a fortnight. Anyway, to cut my babbling short, I really loved Bound although it wasn’t what I was expecting.

Plot summary – There are no such things as monsters, Sophie told herself. No demons, no witches, no ghosts…

Except that all of her life, Sophie has been seeing things – wraith-like apparitions which freeze her blood, and which no-one else can see. She’s managed to convince herself that they’re all in her imagination – to live a normal life. But then she meets the alluring Sam, who seems to see them too, and her life goes from strange to terrifying. Sophie’s search for answers lead to a dreadful question: What happens when an angel falls?

I’m not sure why, but it didn’t really ‘click’ that Bound was an angel story. I mean, yes, I’m aware of the angel statue on the cover and the big writing in capital letters on the top that may as well say ‘THIS IS AN ANGEL BOOK.’ But it still didn’t seem to permeate, so… shut up! I just don’t think the above summary does this book any justice – it makes it sound like some generic paranormal YA story, possibly complete with melodramatic angst and Sneaky Vampires.

Thankfully it’s nothing like that – instead it’s a dark tale of a young girl slowly realising that she isn’t who she always thought she was. When she accepts a waitressing job in Scotland to escape her divorcing parents, she discovers a little village where the inhabitants introduce her to the history that didn’t make it into the books.

I’m not sure whether it’s the story or the atmosphere that really make Bound what it is, as both are exceptional. Moronically, as I mentioned above, I didn’t expect this book to be as angel-centered as it was. I’ve recently had a less-than-perfect experience with angels (Fury) so I wasn’t sure what to expect with regard to quality. Thankfully, it’s got a great plot, complete with twists, revelations and action. Sarah Bryant has taken the angel mythology and given it a whole new meaning.

As for the atmosphere, it draws you in from the start. In first scene, Sophie visits the pub where she’s to work, and I swear it feels as real as the room I’m in now. The homely cheerfulness seems to completely envelop the reader and it’s almost possible to hear the chatter and bustle of the patrons. From dark alleys to mysterious towers, the scene always seems to jump off the page.

Sophie herself is… acceptable, as a protagonist. While not particularly needy, selfish or any of the remaining plethora of irritating traits that usually accompany female main characters in YA novels, she’s just a little too accepting. I know she grew up seeing things that nobody else could, but it’s a fair cry from the revelations she eventually comes to and nobody in their right mind would accept them as easily as she does. I can’t say it affected my enjoyment to a huge extent though, to be fair – more of a minor niggle.

The ending felt a little rushed, despite the intense build-up. The atmosphere increases and increases until there’s a sudden, final scene… and I just think the situation could have been resolved in a better way. And that’s as uncryptic as I can get without being spoilery, folks! It also never really explains the significance behind Sophie turning 18 – it just kind of seemed like a twee, unnecessary plot device. 

Long story short, Bound isn’t without its faults but I loved it regardless. It’s original, well-written, clever and I really, really want to read the sequel. Thankfully we don’t have long to wait. The release date for Riven is set for Summer 2012 and for me, it can’t come soon enough! I’m desperate to know what happens to Sophie after that enticing epilogue.

Visit Sarah Bryant’s website here, or find her on Twitter.


  1. The easily accepting nature of most YA protags is really starting to grate on me. Be in shock. Be in denial. But don't be so damn accepting all the time! 😛 I love it when a book is completely different from what I was expecting going into it…part of the reason I've stopped reading most synopses.

    Thanks for stopping by my IMM! 😀

    1. Hanna says:

      I think I'm going to have to start doing the same – book blurbs are usually completely and utterly AWFUL.

      I know I'D be surprised if someone told me they were a vampire/ I was a reincarnated Egyptian princess/ my pet cat could talk, so I really don't see why YA protagonists can't be the same 😐

  2. I've decided: I'm going to read this. I only had the one ill-fated brush with YA "angel fiction" and then haven't dared go back since, which is kind of sad because I really want to like it.

    Every time I see you refer to "sneaky vampires", it makes me smile. So true.

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