Spirit Binder (The Cascadian Chronicles #1)
By Meghan Ciana Doidge
Published: July 30, 2012
Publisher: Old Man in the CrossWalk Productions
Paperback, 219 pages
Theo woke severely injured, covered in blood, and missing ten years of her life.
Just to complicate matters further, Theo was born under a prophecy; one that has rabid followers with three different interpretations, all of whom are willing to sacrifice her in order to fulfill it.
Not knowing if she can trust the stranger she’s betrothed to, the warrior visiting her dreams, or even her own mother, Theo tries to piece together her past only to find that her present is far more dangerous.
It’s the power of her own blood that scares her most of all. This is a responsibility Theo never wanted, and a destiny she cannot deny, “All because of a prophecy she was trying not to believe in, but kept fulfilling.” --Goodreads
After being confused over many references in Time Walker, I have them all answered in Spirit Binder, so here is my recommendation people: read Spirit Binder first! Many little details, especially in the beginning of Time Walker, are references to this book, so please do read this first if you intend to try this series out at all.
Theo has just awoken from lying in a pool of blood and is now twenty-six, but only has her memories up to her sixteenth problem. This is the point where we expect Ms. Amnesia to go turn into a clueless numskull blaming everyone else for her problems. Thankfully, Theo does the opposite, despite the many secrets that are being hidden from her. While trying to uncover the secrets of her missing ten years of memories, Theo has to face a prophecy; the endearing Hugh, her betrothed of the prophecy; and the psychopathic uncle who comes along with the hot warrior who comes along with him.
I guess it's kind of obvious that Theo has a giant mess to sort herself out of. Like in Time Walker, Theo is a strong, independent heroine. However, I appreciated Theo more than Beth because she was willing to accept others' help more easily than Beth. It's hard to like characters who think that they can hold up the mountain, but end up screwing up everything. Noble idiocy is a serious illness that Theo has skillfully avoided, even with all of the trust issues she is having with everyone around her.
For the most part, all of the characters in Spirit Bound were hard to distinguish when it came to their motives. We see Theo's mother who obviously is hiding plenty of important things from Theo, but we still cannot dismiss her as a terrible mother. She clearly cares about Theo, but she is forced to allow Theo to follow her own path. Most fantasy novels have a syndrome called terrible parents, but thankfully the story is able to progress well without any abusive or negligent parents being the catalyst for the disasters. However, there is probably something that should be mentioned for horrible uncle-hood or something because I do not understand how Theo's mother and Theo's uncle can cooperate with all of the bad blood (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself with this pun) that Dr. Phil needs to remedy.
Although there is a hint of a love triangle in the blurb, the love triangle does not take over the entire plot. Since I already read Time Walker, I already knew how the love triangle would end up as, which was why I was glad that the love triangle did not consumer the story or Theo herself. Hugh, Theo's betrothed, and Ren, her warrior friend, are both extremely amazing guys that totally deserve Theo. Despite this, Theo knows to set her priorities straight and to not turn into a suicidal Bella. I do have to say that the rivalry between Hugh and Ren is adorable to read about, so there are definitely some bonuses for this love triangle if you are a hater for this clichéd plot device.
Unfortunately, my love for the characters could not prevent something serious from happening: lost plot lines. Notice, this does not mean that the entire story was fluff. What this means is that there were some instances that I felt somewhat lost while reading this book. I just wasn't sure about why certain things were said or done because they felt unnecessary or irrelevant to the overall whole of the book. Otherwise these few brief moments, everything else was well done when it came to the plot.
The conclusion of this book was really something that stands out among fantasy novels. There is definitely that climatic final battle that many fantasies do, yet I found this one so much more compelling because this was everything that I was anxiously waiting for. Some fantasy novels, such as Lord of the Rings or The Girl of Fire and Thorns, have these mini battles constantly throughout the entire book, making the last battle seem somewhat lackluster. Instead, there is the build-up for the finale that makes the battle seem more climatic and epic than it probably should seem. Regardless, the ending riled me up so much that I was spazzing out to discover what happened next.
After I finished Spirit Binder, I immediately went back to re-reading Time Walker to pick out the little details here and there that connect these two series. If you didn't know, Theo is a supporting character in Time Walker, so I was definitely glad to see more of her. There hasn't been a heroine that I have rooted for as much as Theo and I hope to find more similar to her.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.