Bound By Duty – Stormy Smith
Amelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she's an Elder but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must maintain control but he refuses to explain why. Even worse, she's betrothed to the prince of the Immortals and she doesn't even know his name.
Finally breaking free to live a few normal years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky Southern girl and to fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is and not what she'll be.
As she learns more about herself, Amelia realizes the line between love and duty is a thin one. As her power continues to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The question is, will her head or her heart win the battle?
#ReadIndie Review: Um . . . unpopular opinion alert. This one was brutal.
Amelia is a college student with some unusual problems. As a baby, her mother was murdered by a mysterious queen, and Amelia was arranged to be married to the prince. Now, as a college student, Amelia’s magic powers are out of control, and the time for her wedding is fast approaching. Should she fulfill her duty and marry a prince she’s never met for the good of the magical world? Or should she follow her heart and run away with Aidan Montgomery, her human boyfriend?
“Your heart is yours to give, it is no ones to take. Not a queen. Not a prince. No one.” – Bound By Duty
One of my issues with self-published books is that they often feel half-baked, like they could have used a few more rounds of developmental editing before the author hit the “publish” button. That’s my main problem with this book. It would have been great if the author had spent more time with it.
Let’s start with the characters. Amelia’s mood swings are so drastic that I’m surprised the other characters don’t have whiplash. One second she loves Aidan, the next she wants nothing to do with him. One second she’s blowing up about people keeping secrets, the next she’s keeping her own secrets, the next she’s blowing up because people are telling their secrets. There are just so many secrets! Keeping them is more effort than they’re worth. I feel sorry for her friends.
Speaking of Amelia’s friends, I didn’t like Aidan or Bethany. Aidan is creepy in a stalkerish way. No matter how many times Amelia tells him “No” or “Go away,” he doesn’t. I guess I can’t totally blame him for that because Amelia is the queen of mixed messages. She changes her mind about Aidan every paragraph or two. I can see why he’s confused. Still, I cringed every time he called Amelia “Doll.”
“You wish, Montgomery. You just seem to irritate the crap out of me.” – Bound By Duty
Amelia’s friend, Bethany, exists to talk about boys with Amelia and to remind the reader that she (Bethany) is Southern. Amelia treats Bethany like crap, and they only interact when they have boy problems, so I’m not sure why they’re friends.
This is a smaller issue, but I wondered about Amelia’s brother. He left home at 18 and spent years searching for information about the queen. Now he’s in his 20s and owns a gym and a beach house. Where did he get the money for all this? Their family doesn’t seem to be rich.
Next, worldbuilding. I needed to know so much more about this world. Despite the frequent and inelegant info-dumps, the magical world is vague. I never found it threatening. I don’t understand why everyone has to be so secretive. I don’t know how magic works. I’m not sure how common mages are. The humans don’t know about them, but Amelia isn’t surprised when she encounters one.
Finally, I got the feeling that the author occasionally wrote herself into corners and didn’t know how to escape. Whenever this happens, Amelia faints and wakes up somewhere else. It’s like the author is pressing the “reset” button on the story. Amelia doesn’t ask what happened while she was unconscious or who saved her. The reader is expected to roll with Amelia’s convenient fainting spells, but I don’t roll easily. I felt cheated.
The premise of this book is a good one: Amelia has to choose between her love and her obligations. However, the execution makes the premise hard to enjoy.
I was given a free copy of this book as part of the #ReadIndie Challenge. This does not influence my review.