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Being an avid fan of Christine Feehan makes one understand the uniqueness of her talent. Ms Feehan has an amazing ability to write about her characters instead of shoveling them into her style of writing. It is a gift that continues to astound me. Sometimes she will write a book that I find boring, insipid or even just uninteresting, then I will really look at the characters and I realize it’s not the book... I know why write about such characters? Well because they are pivotal to the main arc and others might enjoy their stories and most importantly Ms Feehan needs to write them. When I read such a book I usually place it aside only to be re read if I am reading the entire series in order. Spirit Bound is not such a book.. Ms Feehan has eclipsed herself in this book.
I love words, absolutely love words.. there are so many wonderful words, some that slip silently off your tongue, others that virtually dance on air. Words that hurt and words that heal.. Words that bring a character to life and other words that kills the plot. The ability to mix together the proper words is what a writer focuses on. How does she bring her characters to life? How does she show us their world, share with us their life’s journey? When done right.. oh the joy we receive. In Spirit Bound.. Ms Feehan does it oh so right!! Ms Feehan, continues her Sisters of the Heart Series.. about a group of unique women who have survived individual tragedy and come out stronger.. They find each other in therapy and form a tight circle, creating their own family.. literally Sisters of the Heart. We were introduced to these women in Water Bound and had a taste of their individual talents in Spirit Bound we see a little bit more of each of them and they definitely make fascinating secondary characters and I will look forward to learning each of their stories. While I enjoyed Water Bound it had a bland feel to it.. it was too regimented and contained of course Rikki, the heroine of the book was autistic and as I stated in my opening paragraph Ms Feehan writes her books around her characters. Rikki needed bland and regimented but in Spirit Bound we focus on Judith. Who is anything but bland!! She is vibrant and alive and filled with color. Ms feehan brings her to life completely!
In Spirit Bound we meet Stefan Prakenskii the third Prakenskii brother to have a story. He is deep undercover ready to continue his life in the shadows.. knowing that is all his life can ever be, gray and dismal, bleak but he has a purpose. He is driven to remove as much of the truly evil element from the world as possible. To take them down as he hides his true self deep within, knowing eventually the man he is will destroy the man he could be. All he clings to is the love he has for the brothers he barely remembers. When his assignment parallels a threat to Lev, one of his brothers he leaps to defend Lev and complete the assignment by any means possible.
While in prison, pretending to be an upper echelon thug, trying to get close to Crime Lord, Boss, Resident Evil extraordinaire, Jean-Claude La Roux; Stefan has the opportunity to study Judith. As his target is completely and totally obsessed with her. Years ago Jean-Claude met and fell in love with a young artist whose innocence and beauty shines through the very pictures on the wall. Calling out to not only Jean-Claude but Stefan as well. As his assignment leads him to Sea Haven and Judith and Lev, Stefan creates an entire new persona to infiltrate the town.
Judith, a beautiful woman with a tormented past. Years of self recrimination forces her to attempt to control her gift. She compartmentalizes parts of herself forcing herself to remain calm and focused and never letting herself feel anything in the extreme and certainly never the negative emotions (For all you Nalini Singh readers out there it reminded me of how the Psy removed all emotions and created the alter netmind.. ) While this allows her to heal from the debilitating grief caused from her past, it also destroys parts of her very being. Even her art has changed... less of her joie de vivre shines through. And always an aura of sadness wraps itself around her. To the extent that instead of rejoicing in the life she has created she spends many hours hiding in the dark, creating a room of revenge. Ms Feehan delighted me while introducing both Judith and the room with the following passage
“DARK purples swirling with black lines moved across the high cobalt ceiling, weeping crystalline tears. With so much sorrow filling the room, floor to ceiling, simple stone and wood could barely contain the intensity of emotion. Sorrow lived and breathed. Rage moved in the walls, breathing in and out, so that the slashes of red and orange undulated, bulging outward and then pressing back, great gulps of air to control the force of anger, the need for retribution, for vengeance. Rage lived and breathed alongside sorrow there in the spacious confines of the large, dark studio. A breeze drifted in from the open French doors leading to the patio and backyard where great grasses obscured all view of the studio from outside, teasing at the flames flickering at the tip of each of the dark candles illuminating the paintings. The dancing light caught glints of jagged glass embedded in the dark, angry paintings. Bold, red Japanese characters wept out a single name—Paul Henderson.” *Spirit Bound Chapter 2
When Judith and Stefan meet it is instant attraction and Ms Feehan creates a relationship that sizzles with sensuous delight. It is a fast paced and unlikely relationship and yet completely believable. You, understand their almost compulsion like need for each other. Stefan, for the first time in his life finds it impossible to remain in character and parts of his real self keep revealing themselves to Judith. Judith begins to trust, really trust for the first time in years.. and as Stefan gradually reveals more and more of himself she falls deeper in love.
The necessary evil in this book is two tiered and most excellently combined. Stefan has to learn how to rely on Levi and how to trust Judith. He doesn’t quite get the concept of total honesty and Levi, the younger brother, is the one to show him the way. I liked the way the brothers interact and renew their relationship. In a way forging new ties.. with the childhood as a foundation. We do get to spend a teeny bit of time with Jonas and we see Aleksandr as the interesting and intriguing man that he is. Both Levi and Stefan recognize him for the predator he was originally written as. Which I enjoyed immensely as in the last few Drake novels, Ilya comes to power and Aleksandr comes off as the red headed step child. It’s nice to remember that he too is a dangerous man. What I didn’t like, is once again we didn’t get to see Ilya as he is off on a prolonged honeymoon with Joley. I want that reunion!!
True to form, Ms Feehan leaves enticing threads just dangling.. teasing us with what is going to happen farther along in the story arc. I can't wait for you all to read this book so we can discuss what is happening...
I will promise you this.. as far as I am concerned this was one of Ms Feehan’s BEST books! Her characters are passionate, loyal, driven and totally perfect just as they are. I rarely give a five star review as that needs to be with held for the best of the best but believe me, this one earns all five stars.