Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.
Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.
Lord Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.
But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.
Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the kingdom’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.
The first thing that drew me to Bound for Blood and Sand was that it was being marketed for anyone who liked Tamora Pierce. I couldn’t ignore this because Pierce happens to be one of my favorite author. After seeing that, and reading the synopsis, I was hooked. I had to read it!
The main protagonist Jae and her twin brother Tal are “Closet” slaves at Aredann, an outlying estate whose reservoir is rapidly drying. Aredann is not the only reservoir that is drying up, the entire world is running out of water. Elan, the son of the Highest has come to Aredann to try and find the Well to save not only Aredann, but the entire world. The only problem is that his father has declared Aredann to be abandoned.
What I Liked:
On the same vain as Tamora Pierce’s Lion Quartet I was not expecting how heartbreaking this book was going to be. As I mentioned above, Jay and her people are Closest are Cursed because their ancestors betrayed the Highest many years ago. The curse? Think of Ella’s curse from Ella Enchanted but on steroids. Every questioned asked by an Avowed or Highest, any order given, must be followed, and the truth is ripped from their mouths.
With this kind of power over people, you’d be sure that there would be those who would take advantage of this. There are. One specific Avowed is the terror of Jae and for a long through the story we deal with her PTSD with the time that this certain Avowed that “touches” her. This is dealt with during a part of the story and is very very well done.
I loved Jae and how real she was. She was strong but it was realistic and I felt myself both cheering for her and crying for her. I haven’t felt that way in a long time about a character and it was refreshing!
What was okay:
I felt that for the most part the world was very small. We didn’t get to see much of the other areas of the world and only had them told to us by people. While it was okay, I felt like I was craving more. More of the world. More of the other people and estates.
Another thing that I felt sort of iffy about was Elan. Now, I completely understand that because of the way that he was raised he had a bit of naivety and entitlement. But it was frustrating to see some of interactions with Jae. Again, completely realistic but in certain parts I had flashbacks to a certain prince from a certain Tamora Pierce book (I know I know). I don’t want to spoil that book for those who haven’t read Tamora’s work but yeah. I felt the frustration then and I felt it with Elan.
What I didn’t Like
I can’t find something that I really didn’t like to include in this part!
Would I recommend:
Yes, I would recommend for those who do love Tamora Pierces books it does definitely follow the same vein. Although, there are elements that are not portrayed in these books like slavery and rape. So, with that being said I would definitely recommend giving it a try!