Stars: 4 / 5
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.
2) Plot Reveals:
e. It is surprising that Christine included two female in Viktor’s biker group. I loved that part totally.