Spirit Bound by Christine Feehan
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Reread from November to December 2015.
I liked this more the second time in some ways. I didn't have as high expectations because I wasn't reading this after Water Bound this time. It's not my favorite in this series, but it's still very good. I wouldn't knock the rating down much, but it would go down to 4.5/5.0 stars this time because I'm getting pretty strict when it comes to five star ratings.
I'm a sucker for Russian heroes. I won't even lie. I liked that Stefan is as much a creation of his experiences in the training school for spies he was forcibly inducted into as a child as he is a person who has a deep internal life that he's not been able to live. When he first sees the picture of Judith when he's undercover as Jean Paul Le Roux's cellmate, that's when he falls in love with her, I believe. Even though he didn't allow himself to admit his feelings at that point. Seeing Judith for the first time brings it some. I think Feehan excels at writing about soul mates and love at first sight. It's evident that it's the case with both Judith and Stefan. I enjoyed their journey. There's an interesting contrast between Le Roux and Stefan, both dangerous, rough men, and one was trained to be a killer but wasn't a sociopath, and the other seemingly had many advantages, but was emotionally dead on the inside, taking advantage of a young girl like Judith and destroying her young life. I'm glad that Judith was able to rise from that and become the woman she was meant to be, and that Stefan doesn't take her for granted.
I internally squeed when the brothers Lev and Stefan reunite. I'm Team Prakenskii 'til I die. I am so waiting for the complete reunion of all the seven brothers. I even hope that Feehan finds some cousins to look them up.
I love sisterhood and so the idea of Judith and her sisters by choice really hits home. You can have different kinds of soulmates, and in a non-romantic sense, her sisters are her soulmates.
It was really hard to squeeze in this reread, but I'm glad I did it!
Hope to reread Air Bound soon and finally read Earth Bound for the first time.
It's very hard to top a book like Water Bound, but this is a very good follow up. I think that Lev and Stefan managed to feel different although they are brothers, both very dominant, possessive, dangerous, edgy, and surprisingly passionate men. I'm not going to lie and say that I wouldn't have liked Stefan even if he was too much like Lev. I just have no resistance to this kind of character. But, I am glad that I liked him in a different way. Lev started out very rough and turned into, not a puppy dog when it came to Rikki, but a lethal guard dog, who loves her and her sisters so much that he can be soft for them. Stefan is still learning how to be soft. He undoubtedly loves Judith very much, but he's not going to soften the way Lev did in that way. Instead, his strength and his hard core are given to protecting his beloved and her family, her way of life. It should be interesting to see how Stefan adapts to being part of the family of sisters and husbands in Sea Haven.
Christine Feehan does have the tendency to be long-winded, so it makes her books a bit harder to read than a more concise author (my favored writing style). But she utterly worth the effort. She does passion, danger, dark love in a captivating, distinct way. It's interesting how her and Anne Stuart (my #1 author) write the same genre of romance, but do it very differently. And each one is obligatory in my reading regimen. When I want the domineering (which isn't my favorite except how she does them, go figure), possessive, lethal beyond belief hero who falls head over heels for a woman, along with an interesting intersection of mystery and paranormal, friendship, familial love, and an appreciation for the important things in life, I run to Feehan, because it's her trademark.
Okay, rambling aside. I really liked this book. It didn't move me like Water Bound, because that's just a one of a kind read. But there was a lot to offer in this book. I loved Judith. She has an effervescence, and a strange air of the zen in the middle of a swirling wind of chaos. That's not really easy to convey, but I get that from her. Stefan is the right man for her, because she can handle the things about him that make him a very tough sell for other women, and she touches his heart, makes him feel like a man, not a shadow. And for Judith, Stefan is the one. He calms her in ways she needs calm, opens her up and encourages her to be at peace with her abilities and her emotions, the good and the bad, and he meets her head on with the fiery passion she craves in life. Plus, he appreciates the importance of art in her life.
I thought long and hard, and I have to give this five stars, because even without being perfect, it meets my needs. As a emotional reviewer, that's five star criteria.
Man, these books don't help my Russian fixation at all!
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