I Devoured This Exceptional Book – I sat down late on a Thursday evening to start reading Bound (Turning Moon Book 1) by Julie Embleton. I thought, I’ll read a couple of chapters, then really dive in on the weekend. When my Kindle indicated I was 75% of the way through the ebook, I stopped reading – and ONLY because it was quarter after midnight.
Find a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MCY63PI/
Friday evening, I finished the rest of this wholly original and spellbinding book.
Bound left me breathless!
Embleton’s writing is superb. I’ve read book after book using the same wording over and over to set a scene. And of course, simplicity is fine and many of those books were very good. But when an author as talented as Embleton purposefully puts the setting into our brains using phrasing like: “Bare limbs clacked overhead, the sound too close to rattling bones for Nyah’s comfort…” – we are no longer reading a good book. We are experiencing art.
Author Julie Embleton is an artist.
Throughout this novel you will find examples of her creative prose. Read this favorite snippet of mine:
Black droplets of molasses-like liquid oozed between the fingers of the clenched fist. They snaked over the pale, porcelain skin, worming their way to the edge where they gathered in a dropping glob before snapping free and falling…
I can see it – almost in slow motion, like time itself has stopped.
You will also enjoy Embleton’s subtle humor, expressed by her protagonist, Nyah Morgan, in snippets like: “I’ll never forget you,” she whispered to the comfy couch, patting its arm as she stuck her feet into her boots. “But last night was just a one-time thing.”
It’s the little details that round out the author’s main character in these quieter scenes. But early on in Bound we learn all is not peaceful in Nyah’s world. No, following the loss of a family member and a dear friend (and protector), Nyah is at the mercy of a truly vile Alpha leader of the wolf pack to which she belongs. This despicable counterpoint to Nyah’s own highly-principled self is one of the most frightening characters I’ve met (on the page) in a long time.
Embleton’s imprisonment of Nyah’s consciousness in her own body was terrifyingly brilliant. Reading this passage actually made me feel claustrophobic. Embleton effortlessly conveyed her main character’s helplessness. The desperation felt through Nyah’s experience is heightened at the additional magical punishment dealt to her by the evil Alpha’s decree. She is also cut off from the love and safety of her friends. She witnesses the devastation tearing through her pack.
And then, fate? Good fortune? Another pack’s Alpha might deliver help – and this brings the reader hope. Embleton gives us something to hang onto during Nyah’s grim journey. We put our hands to our chests, we’re able to catch our breath. And then we get to peek at this epic story through another POV (just a little): the honorable Alpha of the other pack.
I share the above (the dark and the light) because I want to celebrate Embleton’s pacing of this storyline. She does not rush, and she does not allow things to drag along either. She has masterfully plotted this storyline so that the reader never stops and questions how it all is playing out on the page. You will never need to “reread something” to understand what is happening, nor will you ever want to skip ahead to get to the “good stuff.” Because it’s all great stuff.
I love how Embleton chose to create a strong main character who is not invincible. In a fantasy tale such as this, readers are already suspending disbelief. I tire of some protagonists who never stop kicking butt, who never fail or lose. Yes, this is a dark fantasy, and it’s a believable one.
At times I read Bound with warm smile – there is a poignant flashback scene to Nyah’s friend Alan adding his name to her family tree when they were seven so she wouldn’t be alone. Other times I read pages through wet eyes, my heart breaking at the loss experienced by more than one character. Sometimes I held my breath. Through it all, I loved this book. I devoured this book.
The ending is completely satisfying. Sure, things will never be the way they were, but this novel had a beginning, a great story throughout, and a proper ending. And another book in the series is ready to pick up the tale: Released (Turning Moon Book 2). I’ve already started it.
A huge applause for this exceptional work of art from author Julie Embleton! Ms. Embleton, you have written an extraordinary book – I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this series.