Bound... and Determined! (A review of Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost)

(Wench Care) Welcome aboard, Saucy Readers! It's been an exciting couple weeks for new releases! Wench Anne and I were the only two (as I recall) who weren't in the process of devouring Burned as soon as it came out, but really that seems to only have been because we were saving up all our loves for the release of the newest Vlad book from Jeanine Frost: that's right, Night Prince #3, Bound by Flames released on January 27! Now, personally, I'd been so caught up in reading The Belgariad and The Malloreon that I'd completely lost track of the date. So the evening of the 26th found me frantically racing through the first two books trying to get ready for the third. Unsurprisingly, but also wonderfully, it was totally worth the effort!

(Wench Anne) I was waiting with bated breath for bound by flames. Initially, I just reread Twice Tempted. But, after reading that, I had to go back to Once Burned. I just couldn't get enough of Leila and Vlad. And, now, while I want to read Burned, I might have to go back to Vlad first. We'll see. But, first, let's talk about Bound By Flames!

Follow us through the jump to see what we thought of the latest Night Prince book!

Book one, Once Burned, introduces us to The Fantastic Frankie - an unassuming young woman with a gift for tumbling, and the ability to not only shock the hell out of people, but to read a person's worst sin, and to tell where they have been, are, and will be. It also introduces us to Marty, Frankie's performance partner with a traveling circus in Florida. When Frankie is kidnapped, it isn't long before Vlad is on the scene, and the fireworks take off from there.

In book two, Twice Tempted, Leila strikes out on her own. She leaves our Vlad, and most of us boggled at the strength of will that feat alone would take. Then, finding herself at the center of a murder plot? With herself as the intended victim? Oh, this is just bad news after bad news after heartbreak! Will Leila and Vlad find their way, or will they be driven apart - yet again?

And now, we arrive at book three. Bound by Flames. Avon Books tempts us with this blurb:

Play with fire, pay the price.Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…
Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…

Our Impressions: 
(Wench Anne)I really enjoyed Bound by Flames. It had everything you want from a
We were riveted!
Jeaniene Frost book: action, romance, witty banter, Cat, Bones, Mencheres. It has it all. Well, except Ian. Ian would have been nice, but that's OK. Vlad more than makes up for no Ian. The story moved forward, and is going in an interesting direction. Most importantly, Leila and Vlad are actually attempting to work with each other on compromises. It was a big step forward in their relationship. I can't wait to see how much more they grow before the series ends. I'm glad she decided to split this into four books. More story would have overwhelmed this one.

(Wench Care) First and foremost, Leila's a badass. Holy crap! I've made no bones (*snicker*) about the fact that Cat has almost always grated on me. She makes no sense to me, and has
Leila is one bass ass chica.
both a perpetual whinging tone to her, and a climbing power scale that makes me think Mary Sue. Don't get me wrong, I happily devour all the standard Night Huntress books, but Strong Female Lead is exactly none of the reason why. Then we get Vlad. I'm still a little irritable that we don't spend any time inside Vlad's head, though we do spend time in the men's heads for both Spade and Mencheres. But, we get Leila instead. I was fully prepared to not like her. First, because she comes with that same whinging setup as Cat, and second because can someone that young really be good enough for Vlad? I. Was. Impressed. Leila is, without a doubt, one of the strongest female leads I've read recently. She's creatively brilliant, she's tough, she's emotionally strong... and yet, still human. Even when she's *not* human, she's human. Go figure that one out. Pairing her with equally stubborn, exceedingly strong and willful Vlad would either go extremely well, or extremely explosively. What I didn't expect was that it would be both.

(Wench Care) Okay, I'm not sure where I sit on "expanding a trilogy to four books." We're all aware of the nasty history involved in an author stretching their series beyond its original plan. However, the book seems to flow very well, and stops at a logical time. If the entirety of the plot (that we can guess from the end of Bound by Flames) of the next book were to be dropped into book three, it would have been too long for publishing neatly. This is not to say that I ever find a book too long, but there are a lot of people out there who, while they'll happily pick up a 250-350 page book and wend through it, would balk at a 700 pager. That's not me, but I can understand it, and can understand the decision to cut the book short. I like that Vlad is forced beyond his comfort zones. I like that he's having to make changes to his My Way Or The Highway mentality. I like that Leila is thinking for herself, isn't second guessing all her decisions, and is actually a valuable part of the team. What I don't like is that through the Night Huntress series, we're given a specific set of expectations surrounding new vampires - the time it takes to control hunger, the time it takes to conquer sunlight, all that stuff. Time and again, though, our heroines never seem to face those challenges - it's always such a surprise that they're able to jump these hurdles faster! But, that's an "overall" gripe, and not one specific to Bound By Flames. This book specifically, I'm kind of surprised how often the plot strays to "kidnap the girl," though again that seems to stretch across a large swath of Frost's work in this universe. Overall, however, I'm exceedingly happy with the book and the series to date.

(Wench Anne) I think it's sort of redundant to say, but I adored Vlad and Leila in this book.
So good to see our favorite characters!
They were both absolute perfection. Vlad was his usual possessive, fierce self. But, amped up to 157 times the normal levels. Leila was even more badass than previous books. Being a vampire is really agreeing with her. I only hope I would be as strong as her in the same circumstances. And, as I said above, this book had Cat, Bones, and Mecheres. It was lovely to see them. I just wish we could've seen more of them. 

As for dislikes, my major dislike is that some of the events of the book seem repetitive. There are some very similar events in this book that we've seen in the other two books. And, because it was split into a fourth book, this book seemed a little short. Not terribly so, but a tad on the short side. But, really those are the only complaints I have.

(Wench Anne) I really loved this book and would easily give it four out of five stars, or flames, as Vlad would prefer.

(Wench Care) Overall, the series is going very well, there is a definite lack of power creep, Leila is not a general pushover, and Vlad seems to be willing to do what it takes to try to keep this relationship on the level. His means of showing affection are unusual and typically not noticed until much later, and Leila is very good at both missing them... and then rewriting her impressions when she notices. Bound by Flames is going to be so worth the reread time, and I think I might just go do that... after mentioning that Anne is absolutely right - five flames it is!


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