Sixteen year old Arelia LaRue lives in New Orleans where the music is loud, voodoo queens inhabit every street corner, and the ghosts are alive and well. Despite her surroundings, all she wants is to help her Grand-mere Bea pay the rent and save up for college.
When her best friend Sabrina convinces her to take a well-paying summer job at the infamous Darkwood plantation, owned by the wealthy LaPlante family, Arelia agrees.
However, at Darkwood strange things start to happen, and gorgeous Lucus LaPlante insists that he needs her help. Soon, the powers that Arelia has been denying all her life, come out to play and she discovers mysteries about herself that she could have never imagined. - Goodreads Blurb
Kira Saito introduces readers to an entirely different world with her novel, Bound, the first book in the Arelia LaRue series. The story revolves around New Orleans and Voodoo folklore, which is a topic that I haven't seen very much. Though, I may have just been looking in the wrong places.
The novel itself was well laid out. It introduces Arelia who will one day be a great Voodoo Queen. It then tempts her into learning more about the spirit world that surrounds her. Arelia, obviously intrigued (though frightened) accepts her Aunt's help in studying her ability. But just beneath the surface, someone wants to stop Arelia from using her powers.
Sounds great? Sadly, that's where it ceases to be so... interesting. The characters, all of them, lack the depth required when it comes to this folklore genre. It's folklore. Therefore, readers need a strong connection to the characters in order to accept the story as believable.
Saito fails to connect the reader with Arelia. She isn't a character that draws the audience into her world and she appears to be quite unwilling to help herself. Saito makes her out to be a Voodoo Queen, but pinpoints Arelia's weaknesses. I wanted so much more from this novel. It has the potential to be an amazing book and it could have been if I would have felt any connection to Arelia, but she just falls flat. She has the role of a dynamic character but refuses to be anything but static.
Arelia's best friend, Sabrina, isn't a nice person. At all. Yet, Arelia still accepts her like a sister, back-stabbing and betrayal included. She's a stereotypical rich girl who doesn't care about anything but herself and what brand her lip-gloss is. It's sad to see a character that could change the outcome of the story cut out of a pattern. And the hero of the story, Lucus? He doesn't seem to do much of anything. Though, he does portray the Southern Gentleman quite well. But he does lack the charm.
However, I must admit that I did read the entire novel in less than one day. It was a quick easy read that didn't require much in the realm of focus. I would recommend it for a light read if you'd like to know a little bit about Voodoo history. Saito does a nice job revealing the details of Voodoo without it becoming too much to comprehend. That part of the novel: I very much liked.
rating: 2/5 cups