After the death of my mother and her Bonded, I was relieved to find my own Bonds. I was sure everything would be okay if I had them. It wasn’t. The fate of our people is in my hands and I know we’re better off if I’m alone. After five years on the run, I’m caught and dragged back to face the men I ran away from. I thought I was doing the right thing. Now, I’m not so sure. North, Nox, Gryphon, Atlas, and Gabe may never forgive me but one thing is for sure. I won’t ever forgive myself.
425 pages | 25 chapters | Read: 01/01/23 | Time: 4 Hours
OMG! I read this in 4 hours! I’m writing this gone midnight. I literally couldn’t put this down. Out of all the TikTok recs I’ve had, this one reigns over them all. There were so many tropes to this – reverse harem, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, supernatural, fantasy, class structure. Honestly, the list seems endless.
The main character ‘Oli’ (thank goodness for the shortened name as my dyslexic brain couldn’t come with the longer version) has essentially been dragged back to university to face 4 of the 5 bonds she ran from 5 years ago. There are bloody feisty emotions running rampant ALL OVER THIS!
North is the possessive bastard of the bunch. The one that dragged Oli back and has imposed her ‘prison’ sentence. He is on the council and is very cold and detached towards Oli – an act I’m sure.
Nox is an utter bastard. There’s enemies to lovers and then there are characters I feel nothing but hate fore – he has a steep hill to climb to change my mind.
Gryphon, generally a solid rock, thaws slightly but not enough to form a full opinion of him. He is very much imbedded in the TT (Tactical Team) soldier-esque mode.
Gabe we see the most as he shadows Oli around the university campus. So he’s the easiest to connect to. He’s also bloody angry and much of his ‘on screen time’ is spent either arguing with Oli or trying to make her jealous.
Atlas is the last of her bonded but for most of the book we only see him via text as he is located on the other side of the country.
Outside of the bonds we have Sage, Sawyer, and Felix.
Sage quickly becomes bff with Oli. She also has a complicated bond scandal so their friendship starts as the coming together of 2 misfits. Sage is a powerful fire elemental.
Sawyer is Sage’s brother and while he starts off frostily, he quickly becomes part of Oli’s trusted circle.
Felix is friends with Sawyer and has been crushing on Sage for years. He’s a cute character and rounds up the quartet of friends.
As with many ‘gifted’ fantasy books, there is a class structure and an opposing power (The Resistance). They are both hinted at throughout the book but it is the latter that we get a more detailed look at.
Oli presents as un-gifted but from the beginning of the book she shows she is lying and for the majority of the plot we don’t find out what that gift is and honestly it made me want to fight more at finding out. When I did, I didn’t have the usual adrenaline I feel but rather I felt overwhelmed with emotions, tearing up a little in equal parts relief and pain.
I honestly wasn’t expecting to be so invested in this book or feel so strongly emotional towards it. Oli is a character I instantly connected to. Her life experiences filled me with so much curiosity. The strains between her and her bonds are so fractured that I feel like it will take a mastermind to glue them back together.
I hope, as I’ve seen reading this, that the bonds will be a slow burn and that the characters will have time to grow and adapt as the barriers between them are taken down.
The spice factor doesn’t exist in this book. Oli barely lets her bond out of the box and mentions regularly about not having sex wit her bonds (AKA becoming ‘bonded’).
The only reason I didn’t jump straight into book 2 was because I finished this at 1 am!
I give this phenomenal book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!!!