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Shadow Bound Mass Market Paperback – May 22 2012

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (May 22 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778313433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778313434
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3 x 16.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #520,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent loves good chocolate, comfortable jeans, and serial commas. She\u2019s older than she looks and younger than she feels, but is convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan. Now absorbed in the dark, tangled loyalties of her UNBOUND world, as well as the travails of a teenage banshee in her SOUL SCREAMERS world, Rachel can be found online at or

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


If you live in the dark long enough, you start to forget what light looks like. What it feels like. You may remember it in an academic sense. Illumination. A possible source of heat. But after a while those abstract memories are all you have left, and they're worth less than the memory of water to a man dying of thirst.

I didn't know how long I'd been in the dark. Long enough for most of the pain to fade into dull aches, though the latest batch of bruises would still have been visible, if anything had been visible. Long enough that I couldn't remember what shade of gray the walls were. Long enough that when the light came on without warning, it blinded me, even through my closed eyelids.

I'd lost all sense of time. I didn't know when I'd last showered, or eaten, or needed the toilet in the corner of my cell. I didn't know when I'd last heard a human voice, but I remembered the last voice I'd heard, and I knew what the sudden light meant.

Light meant a visitor.

And visitors meant pain.

The door creaked open, and my pulse leaped painfully—fear like a bolt of lightning straight to my heart. I clung to that one erratic heartbeat, riding the flow of adrenaline because I hadn't felt anything but the ache of my own wounds in days.

If not for the pain, I couldn't have sworn I was still alive.

"Kori Daniels, rise and shine." Milligan was on duty, which meant it was daytime—outside, anyway. In the basement, it was always night. There were no exterior windows, and no light until someone flipped a switch.

The dark and I used to be friends. No, lovers. When I was alone, I walked around naked just to feel it on my skin, cool and calm, and more intimate than any hand that had ever touched me. The dark was alive, and it was seductive. We used to slide in and out of one another, the shadows and I, always touching, caressing. Sometimes I couldn't tell where the dark ended and I began, and at some point I'd decided that division didn't really exist. I was the dark, and the dark was me.

But the darkness in the basement was different. It was false. Broken. Weakened by infrared lights I couldn't see, but I could feel blazing down on me. Caging me. Draining me. The shadows were dead, and touching them was like touching the stiff limbs of a lover's corpse.

"Kori," Milligan said again, and I struggled to focus on him. On my own name.

The guard shift change had become the ticking of my mental clock—the only method I had of measuring time. But my clock skipped beats. Hell, sometimes it skipped entire days. If there was a pattern to the granting of meals, and showers, and company, I hadn't figured it out. They came when they came. But mostly, they didn't.

I didn't sit up when Milligan came in. I didn't even open my eyes, because I didn't have to. I hadn't sworn an oath to him, and I hadn't been ordered to obey him, so participation was at my discretion. And I wasn't feeling very discretionary.

I rolled onto my stomach on my mattress, eyes still squeezed shut, trying not to imagine how I must look after all this time. Skinny, bruised, tangled and dirty. Clad only in the same underwear I'd been wearing for days, at least, because humiliation was a large part of my sentence and I hadn't been granted the privilege of real clothing. My period hadn't come, which meant I wasn't imagining not being fed regularly, and water came rarely enough that I'd decided I wasn't being kept alive, so much as I was being slowly killed.

I'd been a bad, bad girl.

"Kori, did you hear me?" Milligan asked.

I'd had no problem with him on the outside. He'd respected me. At least, he'd respected the fact that the boss valued me. Milligan had never gotten grabby and he'd only leered when he thought I wasn't looking. That was practically chivalry, on the west side of the city.

Now, I hated him. Milligan hadn't put me in the basement, in that rotten fucking cell of a room. But he'd kept me there, and that was enough. If I got the chance—if I ever got out and regained my strength—I'd put a bullet in him. I'd have to, just to show Jake Tower that I was down, but not out. Beaten, but not broken.

Milligan would be expecting it, just like I would, in his position.

The door creaked open wider and I buried my face in the crook of my arm, nose pressed into the dirty mattress, braced for whatever would come. Prepared to turn myself off and make the world go away. That was the only way to survive in the basement. Convince yourself that whatever they do to you doesn't matter. And really, it doesn't. How can it, if you can't stop it and no one else wants to? So I dug down deep, to a place where there was no pain and no thought. Not my happy place. Thinking of a happy place—any happy place—only reminded me that I wasn't really there. That I never would be again. I went to my empty place.

"Tower's on his way," Milligan said. "I think you're getting out."

My heart leaped into my throat, but I didn't move. Surely I'd only heard what I wanted to hear. If I wasn't careful, I sometimes imagined things, and there's nothing more dangerous in the dark than unwarranted hope.

"Kori?" he said, and that time my eyes opened. "You're getting out today."

I sat up slowly, blinking furiously in the light, wincing over the residual pain from the gunshot wound in my shoulder. I'd heard him, but it took forever for the words to sink in, and even once they had, I didn't let myself believe it. It could be a trick. Jonah Tower—Jake's brother—had told me I was getting out before, but he only said it so he could watch me suffer when I realized it wasn't true.

"If you're lying, I'll fucking kill you," I croaked, my mouth and throat so dry my tongue felt like it had corners.

"I'm not—" Milligan glanced down a hallway I couldn't see as a set of firm, even footsteps echoed toward us. "Here he comes."

I swallowed a sob. I'd expected to die alone in this false dark. In these dead shadows.

Milligan stepped back, and Jake Tower replaced him in the doorway, a steel-spined symbol of power and authority in his white button-up shirt and suit jacket, sans tie. I hated myself for how relieved I was to see him, when he was the one who'd locked me up. I hated his clean clothes, and combed hair, and tanned skin. I hated the apple wood smoke clinging to his clothes from the grill, making my stomach rumble and cramp. I hated the slight flush in his cheeks that told me he'd had two glasses of red wine with his steak—never more, never less, because Tower was in control. Of everything. Always.

Jake Tower was the heart of the Tower syndicate. We—the initiates—were the lifeblood of the organization, but Tower was the pump that kept us flowing through the veins and arteries of this living machine. He pushed the buttons and pulled the strings, and we belonged to him, all of us, bound into service, sealed in flesh, by blood and by name. We lived and died according to his will. And we obeyed because obedience was a physical mandate. Even when our minds resisted, our bodies complied, helpless in the face of a direct order.

But I'd found a loophole. I'd disobeyed the spirit of an order, if not the order itself, and as punishment, Tower had thrown open the gates of hell and shoved me inside. He'd locked me up and given Jonah free rein, and for all I knew, Jake had forgotten I even existed until…

Until what?

Until he needed me. Why else would he be here? Why else had he let me live, if my current state could even be called living?

Tower's nose wrinkled—I didn't smell good—then he closed the door at his back and sat on the edge of the bare foam mattress covering the raised concrete slab that was my bed. He grabbed my chin and tilted my face toward the light, studying me. I knew what he saw, though there was no mirror in my cell. Bruises. Dark circles and sharp cheek bones. Split lips. And the damage didn't end with my face. I looked like hell and I felt worse.

Tower looked.satisfied. "Does it hurt?"

"You fucking know it hurts." Everywhere. That was the whole point. With my existence reduced to fear, and pain, and dead shadows, surely I would never even consider another betrayal. "The lights?" I didn't want to ask, but I had to know. "Your idea?" Jonah wasn't smart enough to think of something like that.

Tower's lips curled up in a small smile, like he'd just remembered some distant childhood pleasure. "An irony I hope you fully appreciate. Absolute, inescapable darkness for the shadow-walker. Imprisoned by the source of your own abilities. How did that feel?"

I am a Traveler. A shadow-walker. I can step into a shadow in one room, then out of a shadow anywhere else I want to go, within my range. I can see better in the dark than most people. Sometimes I can look into one shadow and see through another one, somewhere else, like looking through a periscope, or one of those paper-towel-roll telescopes we used to play with as kids.

But the basement darkness was anemic, thanks to a grid of infrared lights, too high up for me to reach. So while my cell looked absolutely, claustrophobically dark to the naked eye, that darkness was too shallow for me to travel through. The shadows were dead. I was trapped in the element that had always been my ally. My escape.

How did that make me feel?

Like I'd been betrayed by my own body. Like I was lost to the rest of the world. Like I no longer existed at all, which would have been easy to believe, if not for the pain anchoring me to the reality of my own miserable existence. But I wasn't going to tell Tower that.

"It sucked, on ice. Happy?"

He said nothing. Whatever he wanted to tell me would come on his terms, and making me wait for it was just another way of making me suffer.

"Why?" I demanded, pissed off that my voice was as weak as the rest of me. "Why didn't you just kill me?" He'd killed others for far less than what I'd done.

"You needed to pay for your crimes, and others needed to know you were paying." He said it like he might explain that grass is green, as if it should have been obvious, and the emptiness in his voice was the scariest thing I'd ever heard.

"You told them?"

"You were an object lesson, Korinne. I showed them." He glanced at the slab of one-way glass in the top half of the interior wall, and my blood froze in my veins. I started to shake, and I couldn't stop.

"You let them watch?" He'd invited an audience to see me beaten, and broken, and humiliated, and… I closed my eyes against this new layer of humiliation.

"Only those who needed to see."

"Kenley?" No. Please no. I didn't want her touched by this. I didn't want her to know. If Tower was void of human emotion, Kenley was made of it, and she couldn't defend herself. That was my job.

Tower shook his head. "Your sister only knows that you're alive. She's anxious to see you."

I exhaled slowly and blinked back tears that would never fall, using them as fuel for the rage burning deep in my gut. Fury that would have no outlet for four more years. Anger that would fester and burn as I planned for the day when I'd be the one throwing punches and spilling blood. Jake Tower would pay. Jonah would pay. Milligan and the other guards would pay. Everyone who'd watched would fucking pay.

I would listen to them beg while they bled out on the floor.

But I'd have to survive to get revenge, and to survive, I'd have to play Jake's game. It was always his game, always his rules, and the only cards he dealt me were penitence and obedience. So I would play the shit out of penitence and obedience—anything to get out of the basement—and keep the cards I'd dealt myself up my sleeve. Until it was my turn to deal.

"I have an assignment for you, Korinne," Jake said. "A chance to redeem yourself."

I said nothing, because nothing was required, but my pulse raced so fast I had to lean against the wall to steady myself. Milligan was right. I was getting out of the basement.

"Ian Holt."

"Who?" I licked my lips, but my tongue was too dry to wet them, and now that I knew I was getting out, I found it hard to concentrate on the details, rather than the promise of regular meals, and showers, and relative freedom.

"He's a Blinder of extraordinary skill."

"You want him killed?" I'd never heard of him, which meant he wasn't ours. And if he could be used against us, he was a target.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9d1b7588) out of 5 stars 33 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ce1fac8) out of 5 stars The worldbuilding is truly excellent & Rachel does write well, but neither the characters nor the storyline lived up to it May 22 2012
By AJ - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Paranormal fiction by definition isn't normal. It's other, it's different. But what makes paranormal fiction so good is how it plays with all sorts of supernatural things and makes them feel real and relatable. Even in cases like the Unbound series, where words and oaths are power, where Skilled people can travel through shadows or blot out the sun. There is no question that Rachel Vincent's worldbuilding captures that perfect blend between paranormal and plausible, but unlike the previous book in this series, nothing else does.

I'm not used to having to be critical of anything Rachel Vincent writes, so bear with me.

If only the characters had been half as good as the worldbuilding, this would be a much more favorable review. But they weren't. Kori was grating from the start. I didn't believe anything about her. SHADOW BOUND begins with Kori being released from weeks of hellish torture where she was starved and brutalized in everyway possible. A couple weeks later she tops the scales at one hundred pounds and yet she knocks out massive skilled body guards and attackers left and right. Didn't buy it. Nor did I buy how quickly she started having romantic/lust filled emotions for Ian hours after meeting him (considering her rape and torture only two weeks ago). Worse still was the complete lack of chemistry between these two. Kori was over the top hard with temper issues, endless clichéd gripes, and one stupid move after the next (every time they go outside they get attacked...the solution is to obviously keep going outside and act surprised when an attack happens). Ian wasn't much brighter. He has an endgame that will 100% make Kori loathe him forever, but he wonders constantly about making sure her feelings for him are genuine.

Beyond Kori and Ian's lack of intelligence, everything else felt ridiculously contrived. Why exactly is Kori picked for this crazy important assignment? Why is she allowed to stay on this assignment when she tries to sabotage it the first time she opens her mouth? Why do Kori and Ian conveniently forget that their loved ones will die if they don't get the other to do something horrible and instead go on dates and share flirtatious backstories? Why does no one think to look for them at Kori's house when they run off? I can't count how many times I wondered why the easy, obvious action/answer wasn't picked. I just didn't get it.

I'm a huge Rachel Vincent fan. I gave the first book in the Unbound series a 5/5 rating so I was more than ready to love SHADOW BOUND just as much, but even though the worldbuilding is truly excellent and Rachel does write well, this time neither the characters nor the storyline lived up to it. Fortunately there will be two new characters leading the story in OATH BOUND when it comes out in 2013. I have to hope this installment was a fluke and that the next book will be just as killer as the first.

Sexual Content:
References to rape and torture. One sex scene.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d44ad5c) out of 5 stars Great series May 31 2012
By LilyElement - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kori is a Traveler, she is able to walk into any shadow and go where ever she wants that is within her range. The skills in this series vary and are much sought after by syndicates. There are Blinders who are able to draw shadows (darkness). Healers, which are pretty much self explanatory, they are able to heal. And there are also binders, who are able to make contracts between people that if broken can lead to pain/death.

Kori is recovering after being tortured and asked to prove herself by recruiting someone into the syndicate. With little choice she meets Ian, a Blinder with significant power. The syndicate's leader, Jake Tower, tells her to do anything to recruit him. Being the rebel that Kori is, this means she shows Ian all the negative things about being part of a syndicate so he will make an informed decision. Little does she know that Ian has an ulterior motive.

The book legitimately made me pissed off for Kori. She was tortured, and treated like crap and I felt really bad for her. I found Kori to be an interesting character and made me want to read more. The writing is amazing, as usual for a Rachel Vincent novel. If you have enjoyed any of her previous work I highly suggest you read this series. If you haven't read a Rachel Vincent book, do yourself a favor and go buy one now!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e1d4768) out of 5 stars Exceptional writing and superior storytelling May 25 2013
By RabidReads - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rachel Vincent is an auto-buy author for me; so much so that I couldn't resist pre-ordering Shadow Bound a month before its release. Then I got my hands on an ARC five days before the publication date which means that I thankfully didn't have to wait for my mailman to show up. The Unbound world is exactly how I remembered it, pure awesomeness. Vincent has a real gift for storytelling and will have you eating out of the palm of her hand in no time. Even though Kori and Ian's characters didn't quite do it for me and some of their actions aren't always exactly credible; there's still more good than bad to be had in Shadow Bound.

This installment focuses on the darker skills, namely shadow-walking and blinding. Right off the bat I felt a connection between Kori and Ian because their gifts are similar in nature and work in tandem. Even though they do manage to resist each other in the beginning it was obvious that they'd become involved sooner rather than later. As a result, there is a certain degree of predictability to the plot that made the story not as enthralling to read as Blood Bound. Although, Rachel does explore the limitations of certain skills and explains how a syndicate contract actually works which I found intriguing and nicely explained.

It was impossible not to immediately feel something for poor Kori. When we first hook-up with her she's being released from "the basement" after 6 impossibly long weeks of torture, rape and humiliation. Needless to say, she's not too happy with her boss at the moment and the last thing that she expects to find is love. I enjoyed her spunk, fearlessness and snark. Kori is fiercely defensive of her sister and will never hesitate to protect her at all cost. Ian is smart, determined and loyal; his world gets knocked on its ass when he meets miss Daniels. Together their chemistry wasn't exactly what it could have been but they still manage to have a couple of really great moments.

The story took a little too long to take off in my opinion. I found that the character development dragged and the main plot didn't actually kick in until several chapters later. I hate to say it but there was an instance where I was actually a little bored. Vincent also introduces a bunch of new skills without really explaining them which I found disappointing considering she did such a stellar job in the detail department in Blood Bound.

Even though Rachel Vincent didn't hit it out of the park with Shadow Bound you can't help but be swept away by her exceptional writing and superior storytelling.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cca11c8) out of 5 stars Wow! Deep, Dark, and Amazing. June 25 2012
By GoldiReviews - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"One moment she looked vulnerable and bruised, and I wanted to bandage wounds I couldn't even see. Then a second later, that woman was gone, and in her place stood a fierce hellcat, angry at the world and spitting flames with every word, and I wanted to poke her just to see the sparks fly." - Ian

Vincent's second in the Unbound series is darker and more intense than the first while still managing to have the same superior world building. Shadow Bound follows a new couple - Kori and Ian - in the same world as Blood Bound. Before beginning this story I knew it would be different from book one because of its focus on Kori, a tough and stubborn character with questionable morals - and that was just what we gleamed from her short appearance in Blood Bound.

However, at the beginning of Shadow Bound Kori is in a very different situation. She is being punished for aiding the main characters from book one in getting into her boss' house. She has been thrown into a special dark room in the basement where infrared lights keep her from 'walking in the shadows' to escape. She has been beaten, tortured, raped, and broken.

"If you live in the dark long enough you start to forget what light looks like." - Kori

Kori is released from her makeshift prison in order to complete a task for her horrible boss, Jake Tower. She is needed to recruit Ian Holt into Tower's mob-like syndicate. I really loved all of Kori and Ian's interactions, which is good since that's how 80% of the book takes place. Kori and Ian each have their reasons for not trusting the other and each has their own secret agenda, especially Ian. He has come to solve a problem that will save someone close to him and he constantly tries to remind himself that he is there with a goal in mind. He is not their to sign his life away to Tower, but unfortunately that's what Kori needs him to do. Kori battles with bringing Ian into the syndicate, which would make Tower happy and keep her sister safe, and the fact that she is dooming this man to a life under the thumb of a cold and depraved boss.

If you read the first Unbound book, you will remember that the story was told from Liv and Cam's alternating points of view. In Shadow Bound, the story alternates between Kori and Ian's POV, but Vincent makes things a lot less confusing by labeling each chapter with whose point of view it is told from. This was a big plus for me.

Kori's POV was almost certainly the most difficult to write, although seeing her through Ian's eyes was almost just as painful. She is definitely a dark and twisty character, someone not used to being so vulnerable. As you can imagine, she is quite a bit messed up after her time in Tower's basement and her fear for her sister, her attempt to keep Ian at arm's length, and her conflicting feelings about convincing Ian to sign with Tower all roll together into a big ball of crazy. Despite her frailness, she is still a skilled a** kicker when need be. She is a wonderful and faulted character that I really enjoyed.

"I stared at her, awed by her strength and determination. She'd done time in a hell I could only imagine, and come out intact. 'I feel sorry for all the people who will die without ever meeting you, Kori. But the selfish part of me is happy, because I don't even want to share you with the people you already know. Most of them don't deserve you.'" - Ian

Ian is, of course, a wonderful balance to Kori. He is strong and sexy, but knows when to be honest and gentle with Kori. He has some secrets that come out slowly throughout the story, much like Liv and Cam's secrets in book one.

The world of the Skilled and the powerful syndicates that want them is expertly written and fascinating. Vincent pulls you into this unique world and builds in more and more layers as the story goes on. Characters from book one, including Liv and Cam, make appearances in the book in useful ways - meaning that they don't just pop up for no reason. As much as I was disappointed that we wouldn't get a whole series devoted to Cam and Liv, I am now glad to have been able to read Kori's story.

Recommended for fans of: dark and faulted characters, unique world building, Rachel Vincent series, and fantasy without paranormal creatures.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cd918d0) out of 5 stars Vincent has done it again June 10 2012
By MrsJohnson82512 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent

Goodreads Description:

If you live in the dark long enough, you begin to forget the light...

KORI DANIELS is a shadow-walker, able to travel instantly from one shadow to another. After weeks of confinement for betraying her boss, she's ready to break free of the Tower syndicate for good. But Jake Tower has one final job for Kori, one chance to secure freedom for herself and her sister, Kenley, even if that means taking it from someone else... The job? Recruit Ian Holt--or kill him.

Ian's ability to manipulate the dark has drawn interest from every syndicate in the world, most notably an invitation from Jake Tower. Though he has no interest in organized crime, Ian accepts the invite, because he's on a mission of his own. Ian has come to kill Tower's top Binder: Kori's little sister. Amid the tangle of lies, an unexpected thread of truth connecting Ian and Kori comes to light. But with opposing goals, they'll have to choose between love and liberty....

Why did I pick this?

If you don't know by now, you should know that Rachel Vincent is my favorite author. I fell in love with this world in Blood Bound. I could not wait to get myhands on the second book in this series. I think I actually drooled a little bit. ;-)

What did I think?Like I mentioned above, RV is my favorite author so I might be a little biased. But.... From the very beginning paragraph, the mood is set for the entire book.

If you live in the dark long enough, you start to forget what light looks like. What it feels like. You may remember it in an academic sense. Illumination. A possible source of heat. But after a while those abstract memories are all you have left, and they're worth less than the memory of water to a man dying of thirst.

I've always thought Vincent had a way with words. This has to be one of the best first paragraphs I've read in a while. Unlike the first book in this series, Blood Bound, this is told from the point of view of Kori and Ian. If you haven't read the first book, beware of spoilers.

In Blood Bound, we were introduced to this world where a man's life is his word. And you are bound to it. It was a very interesting twist to that expression. I loved the world that Vincent created. It was dark and so unlike anything I've read before.

In this second book, it picks up right after what happened with Kori and Jake Tower. Kori went against Tower's orders and got him shot. Which is a bad thing considering he is her boss and she was his guard.

I was in total captivation the entire time. I had no idea what was going to happen next. None. Vincent kept throwing punches and Kori kept taking them.

Let's talk about Kori. Wow. Just wow. Really. Kori has been through some shiz. For real. But she also has to be one of the strongest, caring, most badass chicks there are out there. There were times where I did an actual fist pump for her and the next, I wanted to cuddle her up.

Ian. Is. Hot. I loooooved him. Dark, daring and so strong. I loved how Kori was hard where Ian was soft. It's usually the other way around. He was the perfect match to Kori's crazy. They both complimented each other so well. I didn't think that Vincent could top Faythe Sanders in a badass chick, but she just did with Kori.

One of the things that I loved about this book is the unpredicatbility of it and the fact that every decision that had to be made was practically life or death choice. That was the world. They lived in it. Every day. I couldn't imagine what that would truly be like. Kori gives a damn good idea though.

It's so hard to talk about a book without having any spoilers. I truly cannot do this any justice.

Rachel Vincent has done it again. I've never read a book of hers that I did not like. She is a brilliant author. Period. Now I seriously cannot wait until the next installment.

Favorite Quotes:

Kori- Once those milling in the entry had their chance to see me, Nina guided me into the main event. Into the snake pit, where every hiss would feel like praise and every bitelike a deep, hot kiss. The venom would flow like honey, too think to swallow, but too sweet to entirely resist. -Pg 28

Ian-When she didn't object, I pulled her closer, until our knees were touching. "I want you. I want only you. I want all of you. But I'll take whatever you're ready to give." -Pg 301

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