Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Length: 11 hours, 22 minutes
Patrick’s life has always been a balancing act. Between the government and the gods, between his official job and his duties to his pack, between his present and his past. And so far, he’s been doing okay. With Jono at his side, with his pack’s support and with his friends, he’s managed. But now all of that is coming crashing down on his head. After the nightmare that was Paris, Patrick’s hidden identity isn’t so hidden anymore, and his family — his grandmother, his grandmother’s coven, an entire extended family of people who thought he was dead — wants to talk to him. They want to be part of his life, a life that’s now in ruins as Patrick is fired from his job for not disclosing his ties to Jono and the god pack. A job he needed not just for the money, but for the protection it offered them.
Then, the cherry on the shit sundae that Patrick didn’t ask for … he’s framed for murder. And while he’s innocent, he also can’t go to trial. Too much would come out, the web of lies protecting him is too fragile to face public scrutiny, especially with the Dominion Sect and the local demon knights already scenting blood in the water. Patrick has no choice but to do the unthinkable: Patrick has to ask the gods themselves to help.
This is the sixth book in the Soulbound series, and I think it’s one with the most tightly focused and dense plot of the series. Every little moment of foreshadowing in the previous five books is coming to a head, here. To fully enjoy this book, you need to have read the others — and frankly, the others in the series are just so very, very good. If you haven’t read them yet, why not? Go do that!
Patrick has always been strong, always been able to dig out of himself that last little bit of raw rage and anger, to claw his way back to his feet and face down whatever hell is in front of him, mortal, shifter, vampire, or god. If he has to bleed, so be it, but he won’t be beaten down. When he breaks (and he does; no matter how strong he thinks he is or tries to be, Patrick is so very human), it’s in private, where he can be held in Jono’s arms, surrounded by the unshakable love, trust, and devotion the other man offers him. But in this book, Patrick faces a nightmare he never thought he’d have to see again.
In the second book of this series, Patrick was drugged and almost raped and killed in sacrifice for a goddess of death. The helplessness, the violation of his free will, and the fear took time to pass. It took acceptance of his own vulnerability and without Jono, Patrick would have simply compartmentalized, internalized, and tried to forget. So to have to face an emotionally similar situation as he’s possessed by a demon is absolutely traumatic for him. The soul deep violation, the spiritual pain, and the physical pain as he’s tortured, as his body is used against his will and hurt, leaves Patrick once again fragile and brittle and — along with his need to rely on the gods for help, knowing they’re only helping him for their own needs and not out of any regard or care for him — it tears him down, leaves marks on him that will take time to heal. Time he frankly doesn’t have.
And it’s so well written, and so well narrated. Jono, too, has come into his own. There’s no more playing nice. There’s no more playing at all. He’s acknowledged Fenris, taken his place as god pack alpha of the city of New York, and anyone who thinks differently can face him in the challenge ring. Jono may seem like the softer of the pair, being more openly caring, being more friendly and inclined to make nice … but when Patrick is hurt, all bets are off. And I have a soft spot for watching smart, caring people go absolutely murderous on people who’ve hurt their loved ones.
It’s hard to wax enthusiastic about a book I honestly loved (I have both audio versions and ebook versions of this series). But to really get the full enjoyment out of this story you need to have read the others, to pick up on the absolute genius amounts of foreshadowing, Chekhov’s guns, and brilliant character building. And it’s only helped by the absolutely amazing Gary Furlong, who does the narration for the audio books. As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, the character list for these books is just huge. Different genders, ages, cultures, and species. Vampires, wolf shifters, dragons, gods, fae folk, possessed knights, mortals … if you’re able to, definitely try the audio book.
At eleven and a half hours long, it’s lengthy, but there’s never a slow spot in the book. It’s a lot of action, politics, emotional bonding moments between characters I’ve grown so fond of over the series, and a wedding. It’s so very fulfilling, and fun to try to find all the callbacks. There’s only one book in the series to go, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.