Aparna (inspirethoughts) wrote,

Book Critique – #347: Bound Together (Sisters of the Heart/Sea Haven #6)

For review on Drake Sisters Novels: Go here.
For review of all books from Sisters of the Heart/Sea Haven series: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: Yes, if you want to continue with the Sea Haven novels, believe in siblings made even though not related by blood, believe in second chances and true love.

Bound Together is the sixth and final installment in the Sisters of the Heart / Sea Haven series published in March of 2017. This is the much awaited story of Blythe Daniels – the oldest of the Sisters of the Heart - and Viktor “Czar” Prakenskii – the oldest Prakenskii brothers who had married Blythe and left her for an assignment very deep. From the time the series started I had been waiting to read the plot involving Blythe.

Sisters of the Heart / Sea Haven is the spin-off series from the Drake Sisters Novels (My review of this series here) written by Christine Feehan. Six women form a family after they meet in a special grief counselling group that deals with victims of violent crimes. Each of them had suffered extreme loss. While working through their grief, they form a unit loving and trusting each other. They combine their resources, buy large portion of the land in Sea Haven and form their own farming community on which they live as well. Though they don’t relate to each other by blood, they have formed a bond through heart. Here are the stories of six strong women calling themselves as Sisters of the Heart, dealing with their past, overcoming unbelievable challenges and finding true love.

The series also follows in parallel the line of Prakenskiis - the seven sons of the seventh son - similar line to the Drakes but all men. They are born in Russia into a family with magic and psychic powers. As children their parents were murdered by corrupt Russian Government officials, separated from each other and placed in facilities that trained them brutally in every way to become enhanced soldiers and killing machines. Now each of the brothers are hunted by their government as their services are no longer required. It is said that where one Prakenskii settles the others get drawn there and settle. Ilya Prakenskii - seventh son and carrier of the family legacy - settles in Sea Haven after resigning from Interpol, marrying the sixth Drake sister, Joley Drake (Their story told in the sixth installment of that series Turbulent Sea. My review of that book here). Now the remaining brothers follow, leaving their past, striving on a second chance at the kind of life they want and falling for each of the six Sisters of the Heart.

Victor “Czar” Prakenskii had chosen a path that led him to a one-way hell. Despite knowing the consequences he had been going through that path one single purpose – take down the world’s most powerful motorcycle club – Sword Motorcycle Club - that had been dealing with violence and atrocities unimaginable. In the process of bringing it down Viktor hoped to get another step closer to his ultimate personal goal. But wherever he went his team followed without question – 16 hardened soldiers trained by the Russian government similar to Viktor – especially at the hands of Kostya Sorbacov, a cold and brutal power house. All 17 bonded in the training, coming from similar background as Viktor. Now Viktor’s path took him straight to Sea Haven and into the farm where Blythe Daniels lived – the woman he married and had abandoned. Viktor had been undercover at Blythe’s step-father’s business – a business so illegitimate and filled with horrible atrocities. He murders her step-father, marries Blythe before he leaves for his latest assignment that cost him five years of his life. Now he was bringing not just him and his 17 brothers of his club, but also a long-festering jealousy and madness of a crazy one with stronger powers on the evil side.

Blythe comes across someone with a serene and balance façade giving the much needed support to her sisters, but she has deep waters that are churning and churning making formidable. Blythe and The Drake Sisters are first cousins - their mothers are sisters; although Blythe's mother really never appreciated the power she had and instead became jealous of all her sisters and their children including her own child.

Finally we get to see Jackson Deveau and Elle Drake (Their story covered in Hidden Currents - My review of that book here) in this plot - a scenario that readers have been waiting since Lev Prakenskii first appeared in the last in the Drake Sister final book Hidden Currents where he was undercover on Stavros Gratsos' ship aboard which Elle was kidnapped and tortured.

I had wondered when Christine will start putting up a family tree kind of chart that she had put up for the Carpathian “Dark” Series. Finally she has it in this book where she outlines each of the Drake Sisters and their husbands, each of the Sisters of the Heart and their husbands and the members of the next series spinning off from this series – Torpedo Ink Series; although not exactly in a Family chart kind of thing. That would have been interesting to see how the Drake Sisters, Sisters of the Heart and Prakenskiis get connected truly.

The most disturbing scenario was that Christine showed absolute no privacy between the members of Viktor's biker club. Albeit it is because Viktor is always protected it was disturbing for me. I would love to have some privacy and would not want the entire world to know what I was doing that moment. This is perhaps people like Presidents, Kings and Queens, even actors and actresses would face too - no privacy.

As every book in this series progressed, reader gets insight into what kind of tortures the Prakenskii brothers or the Sisters of the Heart faced or the Drake Sisters encountered. And each book we see them increasing in many fold. This time I can say I hit the top - so much of what Viktor faced was unimaginable. Now I wonder how much more hard and gory they would be as the Torpedo Ink series would start.

Christine has crafted the end battle expertly giving everyone their due without downplaying anyone. With so many characters it would have been a confusing one, yet she managed to make it look simpler and easier. The entire scenario reminded me of Padmavyuha battle formation in the epic battle Mahabharatha (More about this battle formation here). Wouldn’t be surprised if Christine had picked some of her ideas from this formation.

As always there is a lot of repetition of context through the book that bugs me a lot in Christine's plot…I just wish she could reduce that.

Bound Together perfectly not only binds the Drakes, Prakesnkiis and the Sisters of the Heart but also Viktor and Blythe in many ways. The title fit like a glove to the story plot, for we get to see several sub-plots that had begun in the Drake Sisters series getting closure too. Of course Christine has left enough openings for a new series.

A very good ending to the series with opening for a new series that engages the reader well taking them into the dark world of magic and psychic powers at the same time showing the light to the right path. Brilliantly closed the series.

Spoiler Alerts:
1) Sub- Plots:
a. Ilya seems to have a misunderstanding with Viktor. Lev seems to be standing y Ilya. Will this get resolved in future books of Torpedo Ink Series? Will Ilya realize how much of a sacrifice his oldest brother has done for him?
b. Arianna Ridell - wife to Maxim Prakenskii - was pregnant in the previous book. She is one of the sisters of the heart and bound to element of Air. Their story is told in the third book in this series Air Bound. My review of that book is here.
c. I am still waiting for Elle Drake and Jackson Deveau to come back from their extended honeymoon to see what they will do about Lev Prakenskii settling in Sea Haven - since he was connected with the Stavros Gratsos and although tried to save Elle Drake, Jackson might not see that way.
d. We see that four children - 3 girls (Lucia, Nicia and Siena) and 1 boy (Benito) - who were saved from the human trafficking ring by Maxim and Airiana are in the process of being adopted by them and live on the farm.
e. There is a hit on Jackson Deveau and real hatred – all by Evan Shackler-Gratsos. Interesting to see the connection between these two. But I don’t remember reading about that when I read Jackson’s story in Hidden Currents – last installment in the Drake Sisters series.
f. More children are introduced in this plot that Viktor and Blythe are in process of adopting – Zoe, Darby Henessey, Zoe Henessey, Elena Henessey and Kenny.
g. Leslee Huber - a friend of Elle - is mentioned in this book. Will she become a main character in future Torpedo Ink Series is something we have to wait and see.

2) Plot Reveals:
a. Viktor and his biker gang of 18 people will be moving to Sea Haven in the next book. As mentioned in her site and in talks with her, Christine will be starting a new series with this biker gang. I wondered when it would start. Finally it is revealed that Torpedo Ink Series would be the title to this biker gang with Victor Prakenskii as the Czar – President of the gang. And per the list of characters she has put up in the book Bound Together I am guessing there would be at least 18 books for this series as well. Makes me think though how did Christine come up with the number 18 for this series. A question I would like to ask her personally if I meet again.
i. We get bits and pieces of insights into each of the members of the Torpedo Ink Club as the book proceeds.
b. Blythe Daniels had been pregnant with Viktor's baby when he had left her but she lost the baby due to the beatings of her mother - Sharon.
c. Viktor had left a note to Blythe before he left which never reached Blythe. Who might have taken it? Why couldn’t his brothers also reach him when Blythe was going through a difficult time? Who had intercepted them? Walter Sandlin - a new villain identified in this plot - leaves enough of a rope for a reader to figure out he would form a key role in the future spin-off Torpedo Ink Series.
d. Blythe had always been depicted as the stronger of the Sisters with a power to balance all the others' powers, yet somehow very very calm. As her powers are revealed one wonders if her mother had married someone who was the seventh son who had been passed on all powers, and if Blythe's mother Sharon had not been widowed she might have had borne seven daughters.
i. She is an empath and could take others sorrow feelings and fill them with bright cheerful ones.
ii. She can weave whatever emotions with the energy or power around her.

e. It is surprising that Christine included two female in Viktor’s biker group. I loved that part totally.
i. Alena Koval who was sister to Dmitri and Isaac – all three who had survived the cruel and brutal training imported into them by Kostya Sorbacov in an attempt to make them super soldiers.
ii. Lana Popov
f. All of the Prakenskii brothers, Drake Sisters, Sisters of the Heart come with special abilities that are not normal for a human to believe they would have – psychic and physical. It follows natural that Christine would have similar to the rest of Viktor’s Torpedo Ink Group too. We just have to wait and see what they would eventually turn out to be.
g. Alena Koval has sever nightmares – sometimes that would pull others into it if they touched her. Her character has evolved a lot in just this one book. I wonder if she would be the next character in the first book of Torpedo Ink series by Christine. (Note: I am calling her as next character cause we are already meeting Viktor here who is a bridge between Torpedo Ink and Sister of the Heart Series).
3) Torpedo Ink Group abilities:
a. The team can speak telepathically.
b. Victor “Czar” Prakenskii – a fast climber, can be so still that he almost blended into the background.
c. Savya “Reaper” Pajari -  Can mimic anyone with ease.
d. Savin “Savage” Pajari – Can mimic anyone with ease.
e. Pytor “Transporter” Bolotan – is a human computer, could read and absorb a book in minutes, learn a language as quickly.
f. Isaac “Ice” Koval – can bring up or down the temperature of a room instantly, he could feed the storms outside.
g. Nikolaos “Mechanic” Bolotan – Can control any kind of metal or electronics.
h. Luca “Code” Litvin – He has ability that makes data from computers to flow into his mind
i. Alena "Torch" Koval - She has ability to mesmerize anyone with her voice.
Tags: books, critique by amateur, reviews, sisters of the heart

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