Unbound Series by Rachel Vincent
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Published by Harlequin HQN
Genres: Paranormal Romance
I’ve been on a bit of relisten kick lately, ever since late last year. I decided I would relisten to this series. It is one that I really loved and since wasn’t reviewing when I read them the first time, I thought now would be a great time.
So, the Bound series. It is a PNR series that takes place in a world just like the one we live in today. However, their are people in this world that have special abilities. These “skills” (not a complete list, but the most important ones):
- Trackers, people who can try by blood or name
- Readers, people who can tell when a person is lying
- Travelers, people who can travel from one dark shadow to another
- Blinders, people who can create darkness around them
- Jammers, people who block the signature of other skilled people. Many hare highly paid nannies to help keep children from being found by trackers
- Binders, people who can bind you a contract to the point that it can kill you to break that contract.
That last one is really important. There are two “leaders” in this city. Ruben Cavazos and Jake Tower. They each control about a third of the city, with the last third being “free”. These guys are kinda like mob bosses. They offer to help people who are desperate and then sign these people to an unbreakable contract. Their underlings get chainlinks tattooed on their bodies to show their affiliations. The more links, the longer you’re in the syndicate or how long you’ve signed up for.
I will also mention that names have a lot of power in them. Every Skilled person has four names, first, last and two middle. Each parent assigns a middle name, but they don’t tell the other. This way, only the actual person knows all four names. That is something that they hold close and rarely share. They even go so far as to name their children where the first name can be shorten, so that you aren’t using your full name on a daily basis.
Blood Bound (Unbound #1)
By blood, by word, by magic…
Most can’t touch the power. But Liv Warren is special— a paranormal tracker who follows the scent of blood.
Liv makes her own rules, and the most important one is trust no one.
But when her friend’s daughter goes missing, Liv has no choice but to find the girl. Thanks to a childhood oath, Liv can’t rest until the child is home safe. But that means trusting Cam Caballero, the former lover forbidden to her.
Bound by oath and lost in desire for a man she cannot have, Liv is racing to save the child from a dark criminal underworld where secrets, lies, trauma and danger lurk around every corner…every touch…every kiss.
And more blood will be spilled before it’s over…’
This being the first book in the series, there is a lot of worldbuilding. Not to the point of being overwhelming, but we have to learn the rules of this world.
Liv, Elle, Anne and Kori were all best friends in school. So, when they were kids, the swore that they would always come to each other’s aid, if asked. Kori’s little sister, Kenley, convinced them that they needed to write it down. They didn’t realize that Kenley was a binder. So, this binding ruined their friendship. Especially since the paper it was written on was lost, so it couldn’t be destroyed.
Liv and Cam have a past. Liv, up and left in the middle of a party six years ago. She left everything behind, Cam, her family, her friends, everything. That is until Anne shows up to ask Liv to help her find the person who killed her husband. Cam comes with Anne and Anne wants him to help. This forces Liv and Cam back together. It turns out there is a lot more going on than Anne’s husband being murdered. These old friends are tested. Bonds are really hard to trust.
Shadow Bound (Unbound #2)
Kori Daniels is a shadow-walker, able to travel instantly from one shadow to another. After weeks of confinement for betraying her boss, she’s ready to break free of the Tower syndicate for good. But Jake Tower has one final job for Kori, one chance to secure freedom for herself and her sister, Kenley, even if it means taking it from someone else
The job? Recruit Ian Holt; or kill him.
Ian’s ability to manipulate the dark has drawn interest from every syndicate in the world, most notably an invitation from Jake Tower. Though he has no interest in organized crime, Ian accepts the invite, because he’s on a mission of his own. Ian has come to kill Tower’s top Binder: Kori’s little sister.
Amid the tangle of lies, an unexpected thread of truth connecting Ian and Kori comes to light. But with opposing goals, they’ll have to choose between love and liberty.
This story follows Kori. There was some things that happened in the first book that got her in a lot of trouble (putting it mildly). She’s been released from her prison to help recruit a new guy, Ian, who’s a blinder. He can create shadows so dark people can’t see at all. Ian is one of the strongest binders anyone has ever seen. Kori must get him to sign with Tower or she might not live much longer. Ian has his own agenda and has no intention of signing.
Oath Bound (Unbound #3)
The Tower Syndicate will fall…
The secret daughter of the head of an infamous Skilled crime family, Sera Brandt has hidden her past, her potential and especially her powers. But when a tragedy strikes her other family, Sera needs justice. And the only way to get it is to reveal her heritage–including a rare Skill–and take the reins of the Tower Syndicate from her cunning and malicious aunt.
If he can figure out how…
Kristopher Daniels might have the answer. He’s fought the syndicate to protect his sisters, but he’d never realized just how close to the new heir he needed to get….
And if they can survive
Neither is used to trusting. But there’s something between them that can’t be ignored. And so Sera is on the run with a man she can’t figure out, a target on her back and the new knowledge of just how powerful she really is….
In this story, we follow Kori’s brother, Kris. He’s a shadow walker just like Kori. He and his sister have been working to save people from the Tower syndicate. When he breaks into Jake Tower’s house and sees a woman in a yellow scarf. He grabs her and saves her from Tower’s men from shooting her. Sera has a lot of secrets. One is really big. She’s Jake Tower’s illegitimate child. He never even knew she existed. She goes to the Tower residence because she’s hoping that long lost family will help her track down the people who killed her family.
This book was a great wrap up to the series, though I would’ve loved to see more of this world. It is such an interesting world and great characters. This series is a fairly dark series (though not as dark as the series that comes after it, Menagerie, which I also love). There are some things that might trigger some people, but you don’t see the abuse on the page, just reference to it after the fact. It is also great that you see these characters overcome the horrors that they’ve had to deal with.
Gabra Zackman does an amazing job with the narration of this series. She keeps the voices consistent from book to book. I like her men and women’s voices. As these stories are told from first person POV that switches between the hero and heroine, Zackman even changes the narration parts so you can tell if the male or female is telling the story. Made the switch of POVs very easy to follow.
Go to Audible to listen to audio samples.