My Rating: 4/5
Author: Christine Pope
Title: Binding Spell (Tales of the Latter Kingdoms) (Volume 3)
“A case of mistaken identity takes Lark Sedassa from her family’s estate and into the power of Kadar Arkalis, the ruler of North Eredor, who thinks he’s captured a much greater prize. Although he soon realizes his error, he makes Lark his bride anyway, still hoping to capitalize on her family’s connections. Escape is nearly impossible, and before long Lark is not sure whether she even wants to leave. As she struggles with her growing feelings for her captor, she must find the strength within herself to draw on powers she doesn’t even realize she possesses. Without those powers, she cannot hope to face the evil rising within the kingdom…or save the man she now calls husband.”
Binding Spell is a fantasy novel that follows Lark through her kidnapping and marriage to Kadar Arkalis – the Mark of North Eredor. My initial thought before I started reading the relationship between Lark and Kadar was Stockholm syndrome. Nope, not in this story. Lark find her own in this book.
This is the third installment of the Tales of the Latter Kingdoms. I have not read the other two books, so I’m not sure how everything would flow. I was told by the author that this book can be read as a standalone, and I feel this is an accurate statement.
The story is written in first person – through Lark Sedassa. She’s not your typical damsel in distress. She tries to escape her kidnapping repeatedly (obviously without much success because the description states they get married.) She stands up for what she thinks is right and speaks her mind. She also knows she has limits and when to test her chances with the challenges she faces. Lark has magic – a secret that she holds as well as others like her. Once she is in Eredor, she soon discovers that there is at least one other person with a strong sense of magic. This sets her off on finding out who it is and what to do about it. Can she trust her husband with this secret? Can she help save North Eredor from an evil magic?
The plot moves well and kept my interest throughout the book. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the force marriage because I have read a few stories with similar dilemmas. Some were good and others I could have done without. This particular was one of the good ones, because the mystery of this magical person and a dark power out to take over the kingdom made the story more worthwhile. The only complaint that I have on the story is that the ending seem to be rather fast. I suppose I was expecting a little more “umph” fighting the villain than what was written. Perhaps a short epilogue on how things settled after the climax would have also helped.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It’s a nice clean fantasy novel with a little mystery. If you like fantasy novels and magic, you might want to try this book.