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Oath Bound by Rachel Vincent
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This final book in the Unbound trilogy was a satisfying conclusion and a complete change in tone from the previous book. Instead of the almost unrelenting grimness of the previous book, this one had lots and lots of funny parts. This is somewhat remarkable because the heroine had been through a horrible time watching her parents and sister murdered in front of her and being attacked and losing her baby and her future prospects as a mother. She was bent on finding the person who killed her family and her future and watching him die.

Sera Brandt did have some resources. She was the illegitimate daughter of Jake Towers and planned to call on the Towers syndicate to help her get justice. Since Jake's death, his sister Julia has taken charge. As we have learned throughout this series, Julia is a complete snake who will do anything to keep control of the syndicate. Since Jake's death and the escape of Kori and Kenley Daniels, Julia is facing some issues.

She happened to be talking with Julia and Jake's wife Lynn when Kris Daniels shows up. Seems Julia has kidnapped Kenley again and Kris wants her back. In the ensuing confusion, Sera learns that she has inherited the Towers syndicate, not Julia as everyone had thought. Also, in the confusion and amid the gunfire, Kris takes Sera with him to his safe house which Sera interprets as kidnapping.

A lot of the humor comes from the debate between Sera and Kris about whether or not he kidnapped her. But it isn't long before Sera gets on board with Kris, Kori and the rest of the crew who are eager to bring down the Towers syndicate. Along the way Sera learns about her Skills and she and Kris fall in love.

This was a great conclusion to the Unbound trilogy. ( )
  kmartin802 | Aug 11, 2015 |
Holy balls, Oath Bound was awesome. I know it’s not the classiest language but it really sums up my reaction to the novel. I’ve been a fan of Rachel Vincent’s since I first picked up Prey but her writing has really grown over the course of her various series and it shows in Oath Bound. This is probably her best book yet. From following her blog, I know it wasn’t the easiest novel to write but her dedication totally paid off. Each of her Unbound books has built on the previous ones and Oath Bound is a fitting and strong end to the Unbound trilogy.

As with the other books in the trilogy, Oath Bound is told from two alternating points of view: Sera’s and Kris’. Kris is a familiar character since he was featured in Shadow Bound and is related to two of the central characters in the series. But now he’s front and centre and it was great. He’s such a complicated man, which is the perfect hero for such a complex series. Like his sister Kori, Kris is a Traveler but he’s managed to avoid the notice of the various Syndicates. He’s a smuggler and he wants to bring down the Syndicates that have caused so much pain for his friends and family. Sera, on the other hand, is a complete unknown. We learn about her history and Skills slowly and each reveal makes her more interesting. She’s young but she knows herself well enough to realize when she’s in over her head…eventually…Both Kris and Sera have a lot of secrets but Sera’s secret is a doozy: she’s the secret bastard child of Jake Tower, the late head of the Tower Syndicate, a man not known for his kindness or compassion. I can only imagine how hard it is to learn that your biological father is all kinds of evil but Sera grew up with a loving family so it sort of makes things better. (I say “sort of” because Sera’s family was killed.)

If the characters in Oath Bound are complicated, the plot is even more tangled. Sera is seeking vengeance for her family’s deaths and trying to figure out what to do with herself. She’s a babe in the woods when it comes to the Syndicates, something she quickly learns as the story progresses. Kris is trying to take down the Tower Syndicate by having his sister Kenley unbind people she’d bound to Jake Tower while in his employ. It’s not entirely a noble goal but it’s definitely an uphill battle, even with the aid of characters we know from the previous Unbound novels.

Since this is a relatively new release, I don’t want to say too much about the plot but I will say that Oath Bound is a truly fantastic novel. Vincent has created an amazing (and scary) world in the Unbound series and I’m sorry that this is the last book (at least as far as I know). But the main storylines are wrapped up in a satisfying manner and I’ve truly enjoyed this trilogy. It’s one that has improved from book to book and I look forward to re-reading these stories time and again.

http://ireadgood.wordpress.com ( )
  jthorburn | Feb 16, 2014 |
4.5 stars

I've really enjoyed this trilogy. I think this world is very interesting. I love the characters. I'm sad that this was only a trilogy. I think Ms. Vincent could've gone further with it. I love the Skills that people have and how it is a blessing and a curse. The end of this particular story has a big twist that I didn't see coming.

Once again, Rachel Vincent is great at world building. In this world, some people are born with Skills. There is a mafia of sorts (also called syndicates) that is always on the lookout for these Skilled people. Usually they are tricked into Binding contracts that they cannot get out of, but there are some people who are so Skilled at Binding that they they can Bind people against their will. This is why being a Skilled person is a blessing and a curse. In this trilogy, we meet many people who are part of either one of the two syndicates in town or are hiding from the syndicates. The books are told in first person by the two characters who will come together in that book. The author is kind enough to inform you which character is talking at the beginning.

I love this series. I've read the books and listened to them as well. I highly recommend this series. It was great to read some PNR that is set in a completely new type of world. ( )
  mlsimmons | Sep 20, 2013 |
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

In true Rachel Vincent fashion, Oath Bound weaves a complex tale where relationships go from every day complicated to an unravelable tangle of blood oaths and family ties. A small oversight quickly snowballs into the biggest blunder in Tower Syndicate history and Sera gets swept away into a world she’s spent her whole life hiding from and knows absolutely nothing about, and that’s only chapter 1! The romance is understated yet equally as significant as the action-driven plot which makes this book a well-rounded read that’s immensely satisfying on all fronts.

Kris’ first love was a Seer and even though she passed away years ago, he’s convinced that the predictions Noelle made in her sleep were meant for him and him alone. So ever since her death he’s been trying to change the future and beating himself up over every failure even though Elle’s late night ramblings were about as clear as mud. He sees Sera as an opportunity to make amends for all the lives that he failed to save and when things go horribly wrong he can’t help but feel responsible. I really liked Kris because he’s the epitome of “nice guy” with an interesting mix of badass gunslinger thrown in for good measure. He has a lot of men-are-from-Mars moments which frustrated me at times but he never fails to come through when it really counted and, at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

I liked Sera’s innocence and the fact that her morals take precedence over everything, even money and power, which are two very tempting lures. Experiencing the story from her POV was a great refresher to Vincent’s Unbound world too because of how new Brandt is to the Syndicate way of life. Revisiting the differences between Skilled and unSkilled was as helpful was it was interesting. She’s also a fighter in spite of her past and I admired her refusal to give-up no matter how impossible the task. Kris and Sera’s relationship progresses at a natural pace and also mirrors the plot well without ever overshadowing the latter which is exactly what you want in a well-written Urban Fantasy novel.

Liv/Cam, Kori/Ian, and Kenley/Van all have their roles to play in this installment as well and I loved that Vincent gave readers one last chance to say goodbye to these beloved characters. I’m surprised and a little saddened that Rachel decided to make Unbound a trilogy because there’s still so much story to tell. What about the Cavazos Syndicate and Liv & Cam? Oath Bound is complex, gritty and original; a definite must for all Urban Fantasy readers. But as much as I enjoyed Sera and Kris’ HEA, I wish that Liv and Cam had gotten theirs too. ( )
  RabidReads | May 13, 2013 |
I was lucky enough to hear Rachel Vincent speak earlier this year at The Harlequin Blogger Summit. Having already enjoyed her Shifter's series, I ordered Blood Bound and Shadow Bound to read in preparation for her visit. Though I didn't have the time to review either novel I devoured them both and gave them each 41/2 stars.

In general I prefer urban fantasy to paranormal romance but what I love about this series is how well it combines the two. Oath Bound, like the other installments, is gritty, dark, fast paced and action packed. The development of the romance is an important element but it doesn't take precedence over the plot, which is complex and well thought out.

Oath Bound is the final novel in the adult paranormal romance trilogy which is set in a world where the 'skilled' population are forced to choose sides between two ruthless mafia-like syndicates. Jake Tower and Ruben Cavazos exploit the abilities of 'binders' to press those they find useful into servitude to ensure the operation of their criminal and business enterprises. The complex and creative world building quickly drew me in, much of the groundwork is laid down Blood Bound and the framework remains an important part of the story through the trilogy. In Oath Bound the a major part of the plot involves the characters actively working to dismantle the Tower group.

Blood Bound also introduces the core characters for the trilogy but each of the books in the Unbound series features a different couple who become romantically involved. In Oath Bound that is Kris and Sera, through whom the story unfolds with alternating first person points of view.
ris's sister, Kori, a Shadow walker, was featured in Shadow Bound developing a relationship with Ian Holt. Kenley, their youngest sister and a gifted Binder, has been an integral cast member all the way through, and Oath Bound begins with her kidnapping.
Sera is a newly introduced character, the unacknowledged, illegitimate daughter of Jake Tower, who proves to be a vital linchpin in the group's plans to destroy the Tower Syndicate. Sera has made the mistake of approaching her Aunt Julia for help when Kris interrupts Sera's meeting with Julia after Kenley is taken. In the firefight that follows, Kris takes Sera with him as he escapes into the shadows. Sera is incensed, certain she is being held hostage while Kris can't properly explain his compulsion to take her.

Various story arc's span the trilogy so I would recommend starting at the beginning if you are interested. I have really enjoyed the Undone series and while Oath Bound provides closure, I'm sorry the author chose to end it. Still, Rachel assured me when I had the opportunity to ask, that a new adult audience series would be launched later this year and I am looking forward to it. ( )
  shelleyraec | May 1, 2013 |
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"The Tower Syndicate will fall... The secret daughter of the head of an infamous Skilled crime family, Sera Brandt has hidden her past, her potential and especially her powers. But when a tragedy strikes her other family, Sera needs justice. And the only way to get it is to reveal her heritage including a rare Skill and take the reins of the Tower Syndicate from her cunning and malicious aunt. If he can figure out how... Kristopher Daniels might have the answer. He's fought the syndicate to protect his sisters, but hed never realized just how close to the new heir he needed to get.... And if they can survive. Neither is used to trusting. But theres something between them that cant be ignored. And so Sera is on the run with a man she can't figure out, a target on her back and the new knowledge of just how powerful she really is...."--Publisher's description.… (more)

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