Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Release Day Review: Hexbound by Bec McMaster

(Dark Arts #2)
Bec McMaster
Release: October 18, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the author
It should have been an easy task... 

Verity Hastings has a little trick; she can find anything, no matter where it's hidden. It's a skill that's kept her safe and fed all the way from the orphanages and workhouses of her youth. But when she steals a mysterious item for a masked man, she knows the con is on her this time.

In order to protect herself from his associates, she can turn to only one person: Adrian Bishop, the sorcerer she stole the relic from.

Scarred recluse, Adrian Bishop, is rarely surprised anymore. But when a rather enticing little handful turns up on his doorstep claiming to be his mysterious thief, he doesn't know what to think. He needs the relic back, no matter the cost, and he's not above using Verity to find it. But as Verity begins to sneak under his guard, for the first time in years there's a ray of light in his dark world. He will do anything to protect her–anything–but can Verity ever love him once she learns the truth of his darkest secret? 
I loved the idea for the Dark Arts series when I read the first book, Shadowbound, a few months ago. The series follows three brothers with magical abilities who share the same father. Years ago a seer predicted that Drake's presence in his sons' lives would destroy them so he has stayed away. In that first book, Drake's ex-wife steals three magical artifacts that allow her to control a demon. The effort to stop her brings father and sons together for the first time. As much as I loved the magic and the characters, I felt like that book just tried to do too much, which is not uncommon for a series starter.

Hexbound, however, is much less cluttered. It still features all three brothers and their significant others, but really focuses on Bishop and Verity. He's an assassin for the Order that governs sorcerors who struggles with the effects of using death magic. She is a thief whose ability to teleport makes her the best in the business. They had instant chemistry even when she was trying to rob him, but the romance took some time to develop, with the heroine trying to seduce the virgin hero.

What I really loved was getting to see more of this world, like Seven Dials, the warren inhabited by the gangs that make up the Hex Society. I couldn't help but think of Six of Crows when visiting Verity's former home, maybe because the gang is called the One-Eyed Crows. And I loved the action, as Bishop and Verity battled first each other, then zombies and rival sorcerers.

Even though Hexbound is really a continuation of the storyline from the previous book, I think you could read it without having read Shadowbound (as long as you don't mind being spoiled) since all of the relevant plot points are recapped thoroughly. I felt like I needed the reminder too even though it hadn't been that long since I read it. There really was a lot to keep track of.

Hexbound sets the stage for the third brother's book, which is sure to be full of feels given his history. But I wonder if there might be more to come in the series. There are some great supporting characters who could use their own HEAs as well.

Recommended for fans of: McMaster's London Steampunk series


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