Series: Bound by Blood and Sand #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.
Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.
Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.
But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.
Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the realm’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.
Wow this book was really enjoyable! I believe I first heard of this book before it was published and put it on my Goodreads TBR but then had forgotten about it by the time it was published. I’m surprised I haven’t seen too much talk of it in the book community because it was a good book! I’m glad I picked it up on a whim while at the library.
Here’s a little background info on the story: In this book, there is a group of people called the Closest. The Closest are forced to obey every command given to them by the group of people called the Avowed. Basically, they’re slaves that are treated extremely poorly. It is believed that the Closest’s ancestors started a war against the group of people called The Highest and The Highest cursed the Closest because of it. The story follows Jae, a Closest girl who lives in a town on the outskirts of civilization. This town has been in a drought for quite some time and The Highest are planning to move the Avowed living in the town elsewhere while leaving the Closest behind to die. One day Jae accidentally taps into magic that was put into a fountain on the property by one of her ancestors generations ago. After discovering this magic, Jae begins to learn the truth about what really happened between the Closest and The Highest in the past and how she can use this new found magic to save her people.
As I said before, I really enjoyed this book. I especially liked all of the magical aspects. It was similar to magic in other books in that it was elemental magic, but I think it was pretty unique as well! I loved learning more and more about the magic, its history, and what Jae could do with it.
I wasn’t able to rate this book 4 stars or higher mostly because of the fact that I wasn’t completely connecting with all of the characters. I liked Jae and her brother, Tal, but I wasn’t totally sold on Elan (the son of one of The Highest). I understand that he was brought up thinking a certain way and while he wasn’t horrible to Jae in the beginning, he still was pretty condescending. Elan ends up redeeming himself throughout the later parts of the book, but he still rubbed me the wrong way in the beginning.
I must also note that there was no romance in this book! That’s something you don’t usually find in YA. I was waiting for Jae and Elan to start falling for each other, but they didn’t. There’s always a possibility of it in the next book, but I’m so glad there was nothing like that in this book! I just think it would have taken away from the rest of the story and been unrealistic as well.
Bottom Line: While this book wasn’t perfect, I still really enjoying reading it. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story wraps up in the next book!