REVIEW: Bound by Sophie Oak

Megan Starke has given up believing in knights in shining armor. With an unrewarding job and a failed marriage, no one would confuse her life with a fairy tale. No one is coming to save the day or carry her off to a romantic fantasy. So when she wakes up in a magical world and discovers she is to be the grand prize in a fierce and bloody tournament, she isn’t sure if she’s having a sexy dream or a horrible nightmare.

Beckett and Cian were raised to be the saviors of their people. Prepared all their lives to lead the Seelie Fae, prophecy proclaimed they would find a bondmate whose love would complete them and unleash their magical powers. But the thrust of a traitor’s blade stole that future and now it threatens to take their lives. Struggling in exile, their glorious destiny has become a curse. Unless they can find the perfect woman to save them, they will descend into madness and ruin. When all hope seems lost, Beck sees Meg and knows she’s the key to their salvation.

Warnings: dubcon, violence

Category: M/F

Bound is the first in a series of supernatural romance novels. Full of drama, angst, misunderstandings, steamy kinky smut and fantasy magic and action. It’s a really fun genre novel that will keep you more than entertained, especially if you’re in the mood for some consensual D/s dynamics and M/M/F threesome fantasy smut. I really had a great time reading it; even if it is fairly tropey it still manages to deliver some really fun storytelling and characters.

Alternating through a variety of character POVs, this story is told very well, and the prose does a lot to convey the character’s perspectives and emotions and how they often might contradict each other. The story follows Meg, who has been kidnapped from the human plane and taken to be sold as a female bondmate at a tournament, and who should come to win said tournament for her hand than the would-be king of the faeries, who has a twin brother. Both of them need to marry the same woman for plot reasons, which is of course very titillating, and Meg soon finds herself embroiled in a whirlwind romance with the two of them. I do wish that the story had explored it’s plot a little bit more, and there are a lot of big moments that the story just skips past in a time skip, whole parties or developments that we only hear details about after rather than having the scene unfold on the page. The political plotline isn’t resolved, giving us an open ending, as the real story is the relationship between Meg and the brothers, rather than the external conflicts that intrude upon the triad.

While the character development is pretty solid, and I really did love the concept of the twins being halves of each other; very literally one soul in two bodies, I also found Meg herself to be quite frustrating at times. Meg is sharp witted, fun loving and courageous… unfortunately she is also stubbornly emotional in ways that fit so perfectly into the stereotype of women being unpredictable and irrational that I was constantly rolling my eyes at her. This is, of course, a genre trope: Most of the drama and conflict within the story comes from miscommunication and needless conclusion jumping because… that’s how these stories work. But it’s an element of the genre I have always disliked. The portrayal of the lead female character as being impossible to please and unable to think logically over emotionally is such a tired cliche, and I get frustrated every time I encounter it. Meg constantly refuses to take Beck at his word, and flip-flops in her feelings towards him over and over again. I get that miscommunication drama is a staple of the genre, and I also get that a lot of this is to fulfill the fantasy that her insecurities end up finally proven wrong, but its just not something that I enjoy personally.

The worldbuilding here appears to be influenced by Irish folklore, but how accurate that is to its source material I cannot say. I can say that it presents a very fun and engaging world to explore, with various planes existing simultaneously, lots of different fairy tale and fantasy races and peoples, political arenas and legends and prophesies to sway the characters. I especially loved the take on vampires; the vampire plane is a mirror plane to ours, and vampires are depicted as being very business focused. Whoever knew that they could be just as predatory about the stock market as about obtaining human blood! All in all, a very fun little backdrop for the drama of this story to take place against, and I really liked the little humorous features like the goblins and their coffee, or the intriguing power dynamics which both fae and vampires utilize in their relationships. (Of course, I could have gone for more being present in the setting than just maledom/femsub, even if the author prefers that configuration it would have been easy enough to put the inverse, or some queer relationships in some of the background characters.)

The sex in this book is very steamy, especially if you’re looking for some good consensual kink dynamics. The biggest drama of the book is the fact that Meg likes kinky sex, and Beck is nervous to give it to her for fear of overstepping boundaries or hurting her. When she finally convinces him to dominate her, it is incredibly satisfying, especially considering the push and pull of their initial encounters where he was warring with himself and trying to hold himself back despite wanting to do so. Of course, it’s also a threesome book, and Ciel is an absolute darling. He can be domineering as well, but in softer ways than the brutish Beck. Together they make quite the team, and the fantasy of being ravished by two hot twins who are both head over heels in love with you is certainly steamy stuff. That said, the dialogue during sex can be a bit over the top porno in quality, less organic than I would have liked. The prose is good though, and does a lot to convey the experience and ecstasy that Meg feels. The added bonus of the psychic bond and connection she has with the two of them only makes it all the more delicious.

This was a really fun book. I had a blast, and am even more excited to note that the next book in the series features my favourite side character from this one, Dante Dellacourt. Pick this up if you’re in the mood for some cheesy goodness, because it won’t disappoint.

Have you read Bound? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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