Ophelia Brand’s life is in shambles. Married to an abusive man and forced to act like the perfect politician’s wife in public, her freedom has been completely stripped away. Alone and without purpose, Ophelia feels as if there isn’t much in this world to live for. Everything changes when an employee kidnaps her from a state dinner. Ophelia is thrust into a new world filled with people who claim to be an ancient race of Mages. They also claim that she is one of them.
While the country falls into the hands of a tyrannical dictator, Ophelia finds herself torn between the friendly Reece who wants nothing more than to protect her, and Spencer, the leader of the resistance who sees her as a tool to fight the war. Tensions run high as Reece and Spencer both try to help her master her powers and unravel the spells that restricted her from using them. As revelations of her past come to light, and the war is brought to her feet, Ophelia must quickly make a choice of who to trust.
Release Date: April 8, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy, PNR
Binds is an impressive debut by author Rebecca Espinoza. Espinoza combines a smart heroine with fresh urban fantasy in this journey through a Mage-filled world. It's is an excellent beginning to a new series that has enough answers to satisfy your curiosity, yet raises enough questions to keep you coming back for more.
Ophelia is a battered and abused wife of a very powerful politician. She is beat, smacked, emotionally and verbally abused, and made to feel as if she were trapped by the man that was supposed to love her. She is intimidated and terrified of her husband, but cannot seem to find a way out of her hopeless situation. Whenever she attempts to escape, her husband always has a way of tracking her down. Her life seems pointless until the day she escapes with the help of her supposed chauffeur, Reece. Reece is the handsome, charming man that becomes Ophelia's savior. It is obvious that Reece is attracted to Ophelia, yet there is more about Reece than Ophelia knows. Reece takes Ophelia to a rebel camp where she learns about her suppressed past.
The leader of the rebel camp is the dashing, brooding Spencer. Spencer is a total alpha male. He gives orders that he expects everyone to follow. Spencer is a very powerful Mage who is bound and determined to help Ophelia grow into the woman she is supposed to be. Spencer may be harsh, intense and frustrating, but there is something about him that Ophelia cannot walk away from. As with Reece, all is not what it seems with the enigmatic Spencer.
This book was paced nicely, although I think there was a bit of a lull in the middle. The beginning of this book was intriguing, while the ending kept me on the edge of my seat. The middle slowed this story down just a bit. I attribute the slower mid portion of this book to the intense world building. It is the first book in a series and there are a lot of rules we had to learn about to understand this story and the world it takes place in.
I was happy with the relationships in this book. There was no insta-love, thank goodness. I liked how main character Ophelia felt attracted to both Spencer and Reece, but not enough to forget herself or the situation she finds herself in. There is a bit of a love triangle that develops, especially towards the end, but it's not intense, and although there is a romantic side theme, this book stays true to its urban fantasy foundation.
I really loved Ophelia. She is a such a good person that I don't know how anyone could not like her . She is a character that has an awful life. Even though she knows she will be punished if she disobeys her husband, she is more than willing to take a beating to protect innocent people. She is selfless and noble without being too innocent or sugary sweet. When she learns about her past, she doesn't flip out and make stupid decisions. She does whatever she can to learn about her heritage and how to harness her special-ness. When she faces a horrific situation towards the end of this book, she tries to save not only herself but a girl she befriends. Ophelia also is not afraid to make her own decisions, one of which sets us up for the next book in this series.
I liked both Spencer and Reece. I have no clear cut favorite yet. Spencer and all of this bossiness and intensity is hot. We learn some very important information about him at the end of this book - information that is a game changer. What we learn about Spencer is significant and opens up all sorts of possibilities for the rest of this series. I am very interested in Spencer moving forward. Reece is the sweet, caring boy-next-door type. Except that he has a secret. A much as his secret changed things for Ophelia, I don't dislike Reece and I admire how he has attempted to right all of his wrongs. He is a character striving to be a better person, and he is very likeable to me.
Binds is an excellent beginning to a new urban fantasy series. The writing got stronger as the book progressed, and Espinoza has woven a story with twists and turns that I am looking very much forward to continuing. With strong characters and a well-balanced world, this book should be on every UF lovers TBR list.
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