Aryln is a young girl who finds out from her mother on her deathbed that her father is in fact an elf from another realm. She journeys to find her father to tell him about her mother’s death and then her plan was to return to Earth. Little to know that Kai, her fathers best friend, would happen upon her and find in her something he has been searching for for 500 years – one who his is soulbound. Panic sets in as Kai doesn’t want to lose her and without properly thinking instigates the binding process without Arlyn’s knowledge, much to the horror of her father as it’s not really the done thing! Whilst Aryln tries to find her place in her new found family and world she battles with secret assassins and also her growing feelings for Kai, but are they true feelings or because of the binding process? A secret plot across hundreds of years is uncovered with near grave consequences, secrets are revealed and some true feeling about Arlyn’s half blood heritage is a cause for a shocking turn in long standing friendships. Will she be able to live her life in this new found realm?
I have to admit that I got off to a shaky start with this one, the story for me seemed to start almost a few chapters in. The blurb suggests that we would be present for the sad passing of Arlyn’s mother where the promise to find her father was made and also some, at least, of her journey through the veil. We are however, thrown straight into the story at full pace with no prologue, which I would have found helpful. Because the main crux of the story is Arlyn’s relationship with Kai and the Soulbond I found that this became very lost as it happened very early on whilst I was also trying to get my bearings with the world created.
That being said, a few chapters in and I really started to find my flow with the book. I have read some other reviews which indicated that they felt Arlyn was lacking as a heroine and her indecisiveness and constant fear of failure was difficult, I would counter that with the fact that Arlyn is a young girl who has just lost her mother who was her only family. She is thrown into a world riddled with social protocol and etiquette, a father she doesn’t know and a suitor who has thrown her father’s world into chaos – so I feel that her perceived shortcoming are justified in that, and indeed i would have found it less believable had she going at everything at full steam. Although the Soulbond is the name of the book, this is not a romantic fluff piece with elves, yes that story is there but not enough in my view to make it traditionally romance. I enjoyed the pace of that element and I think that those scenes were a good mix of hand fan and left to the imagination.
The world created by Bethany Adams is a beautiful one, descriptive like you could almost be there, well developed characters and an exciting and secret revealing finale. Yes the pace was a little steady at times, but unless you are a regular reader of fantasy this pace is needed so you can get to grips with all the different nuances of realms and language. It’s style which is one which switches POV which is a style that i personally love as i think you get far more sense of each character this way.
I very much enjoyed this as the first fantasy book I have read in a very long time and I look forward to finding out more about Arlyn and her family in the book 2.