Rating: 3.5 out of 5
As a thief and a warlock, Noah survives by using his wit and charm to prey on the privileged. His dangerous criminal boss wants an enchanted dagger belonging to a family of wealthy mages, including their pampered—but handsome—son, Ben. Failing to complete the job will be hazardous to Noah’s survival.
Noah bumps into Ben at a lavish party, and as soon as they meet, the connection’s undeniable, and it goes much further than ordinary attraction. Their bond reaches into their souls, entwining and changing their magic.
Which Noah thinks he can use to get to the dagger. After all, he isn’t sure this soul bond Ben seems so obsessed with is even real.
He also doesn’t count on being caught red-handed…. Or falling in love.
Soul Bonds by J.S. Harker is another first for me. New story by a new author, something I have always enjoyed. It was a easy tale to dive into, starting immediately with its great characters and intriguing plot. Thieves and warlocks? Fae and wizards? A divided society and tight social strata? All great elements and Harker combined them to wonderful effect here.
On one side is our thief, Noah. He’s on the job to steal a special dagger at the fancy ball when we first meet him. He moving through the crowd and his plan, sharp, furtive, and totally appealing in every way. I’m on his side from the get go, and its totally due to his engaging personality. I’m totally drawn into his situation and Noah.
The introduction of Ben, that dash of sex, danger, and high society comes shortly after. And starts ramping up the action and suspense. As well as adding in the element of the soul bond.
Harker has many layers to her story. The divided society, the line between warlock and mage, the history which also includes that of the soul bond. Its enough for a series in order to completely round out the world building. It’s too much really for one book to carry here.
Ben’s side gets most of the history background. The top families unification, their tight control via marriage and powers, governing etc. On the wild, poor side which is Noah? Not so much. How the warlocks were left out in the cold so to speak and how their loose associations came to be is never addressed. Which is a shame becaise I found that side highly interesting considering the part they play in the story…which is huge.
It’s as though there is this huge gap in the narrative where back histories for Noah’s friends and colleagues belong. It’s noticeable because they make such an impact.
I did like how the soul bond link was instigated…those flashes of power. Neat touches all and the uses found throughout the storyline.
The development of the romance between Noah and Ben worked, because despite all Noah’s lies (constantly), Ben accepted that there was more going on under the surface and continued to press forward. And Noah too struggled against his past, his poor judgement and present entanglements to have faith n Ben. I really liked it.
I guess it was that ending that I wished has more substance. It just sort of ended with no real conclusion as to what the parties would do next. And I like a definitive solution with the villains and didn’t get that either.
I could really see this turned into a series very easily. I hope the author returns to it after a while. I’ll be right in line to pick up that release.
The cover art by Aaron Anderson is nice and I liked the visual of Noah.
ebook, 208 pages
Published: July 17, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English
Series: Dreamspun Beyond