It had been some time since I had read the first three in this series by Anna Windsor. And when I finished, I was kind of glad. Because even with more then a year between installments for me, I felt like I was reading the same book for the third time.
The frist three in this series are bound by Shadow, Bound by Flame and Bound by Light. Then we have Captive Spirit. And planned are Captive Soul and Captive Heart. The series premise is that we have a group of Sybils. They are women who can manipulate and control elements. And they protect humanity in triads – with a mortar, pestle and broom. Each woman can control one element – fire, air, earth. Water doesn’t come into play until Bound by Light. In the first three, the Sybils are battling the Legion, an ancient group of evil. But each book is dedicated to a couple. And while we see a little of the group from the first three in this installment, it’s not really as if the group of women is really one group. And that makes sense since we were set up for a triad initially. And now we have a quad with Dio, Camille, Bela and Andy. So, this book seemed to me more along the lines of the distinction between Larissa Ione’s Demonica and Horesmen series – two very heavily related series with cross over characters but a distinct separation in the groups of characters at the same time.
Here, Bela, who lost the other two members of her triad in the battle with the Legion goes to each of the Motherhouses to reconstitute her triad. Except she forms the first quad in many years by asking Andy to be part of the group too. And her group is going to be hard to unite since Dio lost her sister a blames Bela (and is a weather creator which is rare and usually doesn’t make for a good fighter) and Camille has power problems too. They find they are fighting a new threat – a group of ancient demons who are part human part tiger.
Bela meets Duncan Sharpe, a police office investigating a serial killer. And he thinks the serial killer is his very good friend. Turns out his friend is battling the evil tigers. And Duncan is infected and going to become an evil tiger too – and he’s also possessed (sort of) by his friend John.
Where does that leave us? The typical show down between good and evil. The typical battle at the end which kills a bunch of bad guys, creates some havoc with the good guys, and ends up postponing the big showdown, since otherwise the series would be over.
I don’t expect anything tremendously unique in this genre. There’s only so many different approaches that can be taken. But recalling with happened in the first three books (the man is half demon half human and struggles to get control over the demon half and is saved when he figures out how to do it and then he and the woman get together), I had huge senses of deja vu. Yet another half demon struggle which ends the same way. So, really, three out of 4 so far have felt like the same darn story. Different woman, different type of demon, but the same way to get them together.
I was captivated by the murder mystery in the story – it helped keep the plot moving and that felt newer and more unique then the rest of the story. And there’s still plenty left unanswered to move us into the next book(s).
We do get a decent amount of other story – relationship development between the woman is pretty good. I expect we will see more of that in the next three books. And there were a number of peripheral characters that were introduced (Blackstone and his buddies, the new neighbor) and that we saw more of (some of the Mothers) and they were great. I expect we will see more of them too and that will be welcomed. And I hope Andy’s book is next – she’s awesome. And she’s funny too.
None of these books (or really any of the books in this genre) are classic literature; they won’t win any nobel price for writing. But despite the repetitive nature of the stories and how the couple couples, they are a nice escape from reality. I expect to pick up the next one when it comes out.