A few years ago I went through a stage of reading nothing but fantasy fiction. I got a little tired of it and decided it was time for a break. Only recently I have started reading some again. When I saw Alan Baxter’s ‘Bound’ and heard that it was like Jack Reacher with magic, I was all in. ‘Bound’ has recently been re-released with some great new artwork. I have come across Baxter’s work in various anthologies and have enjoyed his stories. ‘Bound’ is the first book in a trilogy that features the escapades of martial artist/cage fighter Alex Caine – a man with an unusual ability to see his opponents moves shortly before they execute (giving him quite the advantage when fighting!).
‘Bound’ is a great read. Baxter (a Kung Fu teacher) clearly knows about fighting and the scenes where Caine is dishing out some punishment are handled well. The book has many fantastical elements and is quite dark but it doesn’t fall into the cliche category. The pacing of the book is one of its real strengths with barely a breath being drawn between the next exciting sequence. The dialogue (so often a downfall with many writers) is crisp and authentic, keeping you immersed inside the story.
Caine himself is an engaging character, I wasn’t sure about him early on in the book, particularly at the start when he comes across as kind of arrogant and narky, but hey, good guys can’t be nice all of the time, right? As the story progresses he does become more personal and I soon found myself warming to him and cheering him on as he battles evil.
Other characters including the excellent Silhouette and Mr Hood are also given great depth and there are some great ideas at play. I enjoyed Caine’s transformation throughout the book. At the start he is a fighter with a strange gift but he becomes something much different by the stories end.
‘Bound’ is a great example of dark and gritty urban fantasy. It’s filled with great action, cool characters and an engaging protagonist. Unlike some trilogies ‘Bound’ gets straight into the action, not wasting time with page after page of world building and politics, something that I find the Fantasy genre guilty of quite often.
Pick up a copy of ‘Bound’ from here.