Review of Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul by Dicey Grenor
I admit to bumping this book up my TBR list. Mainly because it was a vampire romance with some urban fantasy elements. My absolute favorite. I’m glad I read it as this book is great for those who follow the genre. Certainly worth checking out! I posted this review on Amazon, but it once again got stalled on Ammy’s filters so may not show up until tomorrow. Anyway, if you enjoy a little humor with your paranormal, you might read my review below.
Willow is a two-year old vampire with a history of narcolepsy that dates back to her childhood. She had hoped to get rid of it by getting turned, but immortality didn’t help. Not only this, but she got stuck being one of hundreds of brides bonded to a Maistre vampire, Max. She managed to get away from him and start a life of her own, but it hasn’t been easy. One thing her undead life has given her is some nifty abilities to please patrons at a fetish fantasy club she works at. Those who watch her regularly don’t know many of her acts are real, rather than fake, but that works to keep her identity a secret. This is especially important because vampirism is illegal and anyone who is discovered to be a vamp receives an immediate execution. Willow has to work particularly hard to avoid that fate, especially because her narcolepsy tends to put her asleep at some rather inopportune moments.
Though things have gone fairly well since leaving her maistre vampire, problems of all kinds are starting to crop up. First, a man she holds some affection and interest for, Remi, wants to take their relationship to the next step. She likes him, but doesn’t want to commit herself to anyone. His being human and not knowing what she is only makes the prospect more difficult. Second, someone attacks Willow at the club but gets away before she can find out who they are or why they tried to kill her. She also has to deal with a vampire hunter/executioner who suspects her true nature. Like a good hound dog, he refuses to give up, no matter how hard she tries to act human. If this isn’t enough, her maistre vampire wants her to come back to him and he is jealous of Remi, but she doesn’t want to give up her new life. Willow likes her independence and doesn’t want to be part of a large vampire clan. Luckily, she discovers friends along the way who are willing to help her so that she just might survive all the new obstacles in her life.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novel. It had an interesting premise, which made me want to try it. The book turned out to be a good choice because I felt drawn into the story almost immediately. Willow isn’t some heroine that has impressive fighting skills and no fear. She does try to fight her battles and stand up for herself, but isn’t always successful, so she learns to call for help when it’s needed. It was also rather comical to see how Willow, who was raised in a religious family, dealt with being cursed as a vampire. She had a pretty good idea her soul wouldn’t go to heaven, but that didn’t stop her from trying to live the right way, even if she couldn’t step into a church and holy objects burned her. Yet when it came down to it, she dropped her morals if they got in the way of survival. This made her practical, yet it was funny to see her inner thoughts on how she just blew another one of the ten commandments. It initially bothered her before she gave up worrying after awhile. I liked that she wasn’t perfect and had faults. Her character felt real and sincere to me.
The world building for this novel is also well done. Pieces are revealed as needed to form the whole picture but it isn’t done in some long, boring narrative. Instead the author tried to “show” how things work and rarely relied on using lengthy back story. This kept the pace of the novel comfortable. I would warn potential readers that there is a lot of sex (including implied rape scenes), violence, and gore in the story. Those things didn’t bother me, as they are carefully done, but may be a problem for some. The only actual problem I had with the book is the plot. This is very much a character driven story. Various issues come and go throughout the novel. Most get resolved before the end, but not all of them. Yet I wouldn’t exactly say there was one overarching plot that the heroine dealt with the whole time, unless you counted Willow’s reservations in dealing with Remi as a lover. The book might have been slightly better if there was more focus on a problem outside of Willow’s love life, but that is just a small complaint and honestly didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.
For those who want a typical paranormal romance, this one may not be for you. If you want to try something new and different, then you should give Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul a chance. It isn’t going to be a perfect romance, if that is what you are looking for, but it will be highly entertaining and unique. All the characters involved have serious issues, yet you enjoy seeing how they deal with them. Dysfunction is key in this book, but it all works to enhance the story. I am assuming there will be a second novel, based on the ending, and have every intention of picking it up. Dicey Grenor’s writing style is enjoyable, humorous, and entrancing. Not a combination you can find often!