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Bound by ShadowDevon’s review of Bound by Shadow (The Dark Crescent Sisterhood, Book 1) by Anna Windsor
Paranormal Romance released by Ballantine 24 Jun 08

Picture the paranormal romance landscape: studded with brooding leather clad vamps and rugged lone shifters, all bent on saving the world from evil and protecting their women. What’s missing? Chicks. Ass-kicking chicks. Sure, you’ve got a token here and there, but in Bound by Shadow, the sisters are doing it for themselves. The Dark Crescent Sisterhood can hold their own with any fictional warriors, using research, strategy, technology and weapons to fight their foes in this flawed but ultimately promising start to a new series.

There is a lot of world building in Bound by Shadow. The Dark Crescent Sisterhood, or Sibyls as they are known, are triads of women. Each woman holds a power rooted in one of the elements, and each triad is made up of an Earth Sibyl (“the mortar”), a Fire Sibyl (“the pestle”) and an Air Sibyl (“the broom”). The women are raised and trained at one of three “Motherhouses”: Russia (the Earth Sybils), Ireland (the Fire Sybils), Greek (the Air Sybils). The Earth Sibyl then chooses a broom and a pestle, and the triad is assigned an area to protect. The women also have other roles to play based upon their various strengths, and…well, let’s make a long story short. I found this world intriguing, and enjoyed the friendship factor between the women and the fact that they were intelligent, accomplished and tough. But there is a lot to follow, and a lot of magickal hooey, and it slowed the book waaaay down.

Slow was a big problem for a lot of this book. It put me to sleep a number of times. There were some really interesting things going on. NYPD detective Creed Lowell meets the Sibyls through his partner, Andy, when they are following leads on the ritualistic murder of a Senator’s son. He is immediately attracted to Riana Dumain (the Earth Sibyl), and vice versa, but Creed has a beast inside him and Riana knows it. What’s inside Creed? What happened to the murdered boy? I kept falling asleep while waiting to find out. With the world building, the romance, and the mysteries, everything just seemed to move slow. But once things come together at the end, the last hundred pages or so were great, action packed.

I didn’t find Creed and Riana’s romance particularly compelling either. It started with instant lust. Riana had her hand on Creed’s junk for silly reasons twice in the first fifty pages. Although there were some hot love scenes later, I never got past the weak start to their romance. It didn’t help that neither were particularly interesting characters. I never got a sense of them as people. I think that happens a lot in the first book in a series. So much other stuff has to get done, the love story gets the shaft.

Bound by Shadow fell victim to the “everything but the kitchen sink” syndrome that can happen with a paranormal romance. There was an interesting but overly involved mythology, an overwrought yet underdeveloped romance, and an intriguing mystery that was dropped for chapters at a time. The hero and heroine of this book were kinda cardboard, but I like the idea of the Sisterhood. So I will stick around for Bound by Flame (due 29 July 2008), in hopes that the storyline tightens up and the romance gets more compelling.

P.S. I just visited the author’s site, and have deduced that the third book (Bound by Light, 26 August 2008), features a character that I hoped would get a book and the excerpt was great, so I’ll be reading that one too.

devonGrade: C

The Summary:
Falling for a demon can be hazardous to your heart.

Riana Dumain is a fully trained Sibyl, a warrior priestess battling evil whose practical magic keeps her grounded in earthly science–and desires. She knows that gorgeous NYPD detective Creed Lowell is dangerous, and possibly a foot soldier for the evil Legion cult, using his badge and drop-dead looks to consolidate demonic power.

Creed’s low profile Occult Crimes Unit pulls Riana and her two sister Sibyl into the case of a politician’s son, murdered in a ritualistic sacrifice. Soon, Riana’s instincts prove true. Creed, the hottest half-human she’s ever known, a demon in bed and out, is guarding a trapdoor to hell. And unless Riana can find a way to tame her mystery man’s treacherous inner self (and her heart), all of Manhattan may be enveloped by darkness.
Read an excerpt here