After two hundred years, Hiro’s relationship with his maker and lover, Hideyoshi, is crumbling. They’ve always been a contentious pair — one vibrant and volatile and the other cold and dispassionate. Hiro must know he is loved and Hide is simply too distant and withdrawn to offer that reassurance. It’s a tragic situation and Hiro does the unthinkable — he walks away. For a decade he lives another life, a kinder, simpler, and a more loving one.
Hide is torn between rage and desperation after Hiro leaves. Aside from losing the one person upon whom he truly depended, Hiro’s absence threatens the tentative truce between the youkai and hunters. Now, time is running out for Hide and Hiro and they must find away to bridge a chasm of hurt, anger, and distrust if they have any hope of saving their people.
Blood Bound is the third in the Youkai Bloodlines series and these must be read in order. There is simply too much complexity to the characters and their story to try and untangle these books as standalone reads.
I enjoyed Blood Bound as much as you can enjoy a book that leans heavily towards angst and deals with huge themes of love, loss, and what it means to be human. I’ve said before that Hide and Hiro are not kind. They are monsters and they do terrible things. But they aren’t without a measure of humanity and it’s this measure that maintains their sanity. They’re complex and there are times it’s hard to understand their actions, but I found this continuation of their story to be compelling. Both Hiro and Asagi are, in my opinion, decidedly more cruel than Hide this time around. They have their reasons and they’re even justified, but some of the time both were harsh in their condemnations.
Blood Bound does have an issue that’s cropped up before and it’s one that could be easily resolved. There is quite a bit of jumping back and forth in time and switching of narrative and it’s never clearly identified. It made it frustrating to start a new chapter and have to take time to figure who was talking and when the action was taking place. It’s a relatively small thing, but it was jarring and made the transitions from chapter to chapter more difficult. Simply putting some clarifiers at the start of each chapter would have helped tremendously.
On the whole, Blood Bound was just as strong at its immediate processor, Blood Pact. This is a series that continues to explore serious themes through characters that are challenging and multi-dimensional. Their story isn’t always an easy one and at times I found myself loathing Hiro and Hide and championing them all at the same time. Blood Bound has its issues, but on the whole I found it a strong entry into the Youkai Bloodlines series.