Cyrene Strohm is a Queen’s Affiliate, a high-ranking official of the court of Byern, with power and privilege to spare. But she’s also a keeper of dangerous secrets: like the fact that she holds the heart of the King, and that she possesses magic in a world where magic no longer exists.
Determined to discover what this means and how to use her newfound abilities, Cyrene sets off for the distant land of Eleysia. An island nation where Affiliates are strictly forbidden from entering.
But the journey is perilous, and the destination may mean utter ruin, as Cyrene comes to learn that everything she’s been told her whole life – about her court, her homeland, and even herself—are bound in a beautiful lie.
Staggering down the hallway, she didn’t even look up when she heard her name.
“Hmm?” she asked.
“Cyrene, there you are!”
Someone grabbed her shoulders, and she tipped her head to look up into the most beautiful face. She smiled and felt a renewed burst of energy flow through her.
“Hey,” she whispered.
“Hey,” he said, threading his fingers through hers. A shiver ran up her back. He glanced around the empty hallway and then tugged her away from the main corridors. She turned a corner, and he pressed her back into a darkened alcove. His mouth was only inches from hers.
Her exhaustion was wearing off from the excitement of being with him.
“I was really worried about you,” he breathed.
“You don’t have to worry about me,” she said, trapped in his gaze. She teetered on her tiptoes and nearly brushed their lips together. Her heart was racing ahead of her. This felt almost better than reaching for her magic. Definitely better than moving one drop of water at a time all day.
“You’re wrong.” Then, he softly dropped his mouth down on hers. His lips were tender and slow as they caressed hers. “I will always worry for your safety.”
Cyrene’s cheeks heated, and she sighed, leaning back against the hard stone of the alcove. “I didn’t mean to worry you.”
His hands pushed up through her hair and tilted her head back up to look at him. She closed her eyes and sighed. She was so tired, and just the feel of his fingers was lulling her to sleep.
“That feels good.”
His mouth found hers, and despite her exhaustion, she pushed back against his lips with more force. She refused to let the fact that she was tired get in the way of her time with him.
“Whoa,” he said, pulling back from her. He rested his forehead against hers, and she could tell he was breathing heavily. “As much as I want this, and I do, I want to make sure you’re okay. This didn’t scare you away?”
She shook her head. “This, most certainly, does not scare me.” Then, she kissed him again for good measure.
He laughed. “Good. Because I’ve been wanting to kiss you since I first met you.”
“You have not!” she insisted.
“Are you kidding? A gorgeous, feisty woman who wasn’t afraid to put me in my place the first time she met me? I mostly certainly have.”
When readers consider the works of USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde, I’m certain her new adult and contemporary romance novels come to mind. Linde is the successful author of the Take Me duet and the Avoiding, Record, and All That Glitters series. But during the fall of 2015, Linde branched out into young adult fantasy with the release of The Affiliate, the first novel of her Ascension series. And you know what? I was really impressed – so impressed that it’s been difficult to contain my excitement for the release of The Bound, the second novel of the series!
Cyrene Strohm is an Affiliate, the highest ranking position a woman can attain in the court of Byern, but she also has secrets. She holds the heart of King Edric, and she also possesses magic. Magic has been strictly forbidden, even nonexistent, in Byern for nearly two thousand years. Having intense feelings for Edric, while also fighting something so innate is a difficult predicament for Cyrene to be in – especially when she has little to no control over her newly discovered abilities. Advised to travel to the island nation of Eleysia, Cyrene sets off with her friends on a search for Matilde and Vera, two women who can teach her how to control her magical abilities.
The prologue of The Bound is ONE OF THE BEST that I have ever read! Linde chose a very bold way to begin this novel, revealing something which is key to the overall plot of the series. After reading The Affiliate, the prologue was eye-opening to say the least! In the first few chapters of The Bound, Linde nicely recaps what we have already learned about Cyrene, while also refreshing our memories of events which occurred in The Affiliate. This will be helpful for those who are considering a reread of The Affiliate prior to reading The Bound.
In The Bound, Linde introduces us to several new characters who I think will be important to the overall series. At the end of The Affiliate, Cyrene convinces Orden, her friend Affiliate Maelia Dallmer, and High Order Ahlvie Gunn to flee Byern with her. It doesn’t take long before we meet Avoca and Ceis’f in the Hidden Forest, and as you will find, Avoca is especially important in The Bound. Then, we are introduced to Dean Ellison in the woods of Aurum. Dean is positively dreamy, and he’s definitely a character I’ll be watching for in future novels!
At different places in the novel, I’m pretty sure Linde is foreshadowing. Linde plants seeds in the minds of readers by showing us possible future outcomes. She did this with the Ring of Gardens Ceremony in The Affiliate, and she does it again in The Bound. I also began to notice that history seems to be repeating itself, two thousand years later. With Cyrene’s dreams and/or visions, we are able to see parallels between current characters and those who lived in the past. Between foreshadowing and history repeating itself, I’m extremely intrigued to see where Linde is taking Cyrene’s story.
Linde’s world building is imaginative, and her descriptive writing calls forth the senses. She uses colorful, evocative descriptions in The Bound. As an example, she gives us vivid illustrations of cities and random details about customs, clothing and traditions. The Ascension series also appears to have a complex plot, with The Bound being a piece of a large puzzle. Linde must have put a great deal of time and effort into plotting this series because it feels like we are only now beginning to crack the surface.
Overall, The Bound is a great fantastical adventure, and I enjoyed it even more than The Affiliate! The Bound is one of my 2016 favorites, and I’m giving it 5 stars!
The Affiliate: Book 1
“With rich romance and twisty political intrigue, THE AFFILIATE is a breakneck fantasy ride that’s perfect for fans of THE SELECTION or THRONE OF GLASS.” –Susan Dennard, NYT bestselling author of TRUTHWITCH
On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm’s lifelong plans come to fruition when she’s chosen for one of the most prestigious positions in her homeland–an Affiliate to the Queen.
Or so she thinks.
When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene’s position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have…
King Edric himself.
Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom. Find out in this first book in USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s new Ascension series. Great for fans of Game of Thrones, Tudors, and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.
K.A. Linde grew up as a military brat and created fantastical stories based off of her love for Disney movies, fairy tales, and Star Wars. In her spare time, she is an avid traveler, loves reading young adult novels, and dancing. Additionally, K.A. has written more than a dozen adult novels and is a USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Lubbock, TX with her husband and two super adorable puppies.
K.A. Linde loves to hear from her readers!
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her online at one of the following sites: