Blood Bound (Unbound #1) by Rachel Vincent

Bound by blood, condemned by fate

As a bloodtracker, Liv is extremely powerful. And in a world where power is a commodity that can get you killed, Liv's learnt to survive by her own rules.

Rule number one? Trust no one.

But when a friend's daughter goes missing, Liv is bound by a potent magical oath. She can't rest until the child is safe.

And that means trusting her dangerous ex, Cam.

A sinister prophecy tells that she and Cam will be the death of each other, yet Liv's tired of being a slave to destiny. She's ready to play the forces controlling her world at their own game.

No matter what the cost.

First of all let me say this, if you want to read books by a creative and innovative author then look no further than Rachel Vincent. Blood Bound is the third book I have read by this talented author, the second of hers that is targeted to adults and by far my favourite. Set in a world where your name is your most precious secret Blood Bound takes the term "binding agreement" to a whole new level in this action packed, urban-fantasy about a woman who fights every day to keep her freedom in a world where freewill can be signed away with a few drops of blood.

Olivia or Liv is a blood tracker, meaning if she has a drop of your blood she can track you down from miles away. Unfortunately for Liv being special in her city usually leads to gaining the attention of unsavoury characters, in her case, one of the leaders of the warring crime syndicates plaguing her city, the abusive Ruben Cavazos. The specifics of Liv’s job for Ruben are a secret, a secret even the reader isn’t privy to except for a few occasional hints throughout the story and although this isn’t the main plot of Blood Bound it is quite important.

From the very first few pages the story is set when Olivia gets a visit in the middle of the night from her estranged best friend Anne who has come to ask for her help, an act that should have been impossible due to a binding the two women signed along with two other friends when they were still teenagers. Why would they each make such an agreement? To override a deadlier one each of them unwittingly made years before - to help each other if one of the four girls merely asked. This doesn’t seem like such a big deal except refusing to help leads to your body slowly and painfully shutting down until you agree to help or die. And what’s worse is that not only does Olivia have to help Anne against her will she has to do it with her ex-boyfriend Cameron Caballero.

My favourite part of this novel was the world Rachel Vincent had created because despite it having similarities with other books I have read before (people with unnatural talents) it wasn’t just about the individuals but the rules they have to follow. People may be powerful but the more powerful they are the more careful they have to be because of the attention they can attract and even if a person isn’t “special” they have to protect themselves. Not just their identity or every drop of blood they ever spill in the normal measures a person would take in our world but they have to go beyond that by using nicknames, carrying around first aid kits wherever they go - first aid kits that include bleach. Rachel Vincent took such great care in every detail from rules, to loopholes, to the government and law that it wasn’t difficult at all to immerse myself into her novel, especially since she took care to thread details throughout her narrative piece by piece instead of piling it on top of the reader in one big info dump.

My other favourite part of Blood Bound was the host of characters the reader is introduced to. Characters that are strong but flawed and damaged by the choices they make, characters that may not all be likeable but are most certainly intriguing that you can’t help but want to know more about, and not just main supporting characters but characters you only hear about or see for just a chapter that I hope to hear more about in the next book. Speaking of the next book it’s going to be told by one of the side-characters I had quickly grown to love in this first instalment of the Unbound series so I have very little doubt I won’t love it just as much.