Soulbound: A Ferry Of Bones & Gold – Hailey Turner
When the gods come calling, you don’t get to say no.
Patrick Collins is three years into a career as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency when the gods come calling to collect a soul debt he owes them. An immortal has gone missing in New York City and bodies are showing up in the wake of demon-led ritual killings that Patrick recognizes all too easily from his nightmares.
Unable to walk away, Patrick finds himself once again facing off against mercenary magic users belonging to the Dominion Sect. Standing his ground alone has never been a winning option in Patrick’s experience, but it’s been years since he’s had a partner he could trust.
Looking for allies in all the wrong places, Patrick discovers the Dominion Sect’s next target is the same werewolf the Fates themselves have thrown into his path. Patrick has been inexplicably attracted to the man from their first meeting, but desire has no place in war. That doesn’t stop Patrick from wanting what he shouldn’t have. Jonothon de Vere is gorgeous, dangerous, and nothing but trouble—to the case, to the fight against every hell, and ultimately, to Patrick’s heart and soul.
In the end, all debts must be paid, and Patrick can only do what he does best—cheat death.
A Ferry of Bones & Gold is a 115k word m/m urban fantasy with a gay romantic subplot and a HFN ending.
I think Netflix should pick this up as a series.
A Ferry of Bones & Gold is the kind of richly realized world you can write pages upon pages of fandom wiki entries. You got gods from different pantheons, were creatures and every type of magic user available. The Mage Corps and the 30-Day War alone is worth reading as a separate book. I dare not multi-task while I was listening to this lest I miss any of the mini info dumps scattered throughout the book. It was a heroic effort not to inundate the reader with backstories, the book had a big cast and any of them could be a good lead character. Hailey Turner succeeded in delivering all the need-to-knows without slowing down the pace or detracting from action.
And this is one hell of a fast-paced, action-packed story. Patrick Collins, formerly a soldier, now a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency should have been in Maui sipping drinks with umbrellas. Instead, he was assigned to handle a case of a missing god and demon-led killings that threw him into the path of shifters, particularly Jono, an alpha without a pack and whom he was attracted to. One important pack member was the seer, Merrick, who was the target of the Dominion sect. There were many attempts on Merrick’s and Patrick’s lives and a few more dead bodies found. Demons started appearing and only a battle-hardened mage like Patrick can stop them.
Now when a book promises magic, I expect to see spells being cast left and right and I am happy that the book did not hold back on the magic. There were many heartstopping battle scenes and Patrick giving it all he got until he was burned out. His kamikazee approach to battle might wreck havoc on his friends’ stress levels but he gets the job done. And this time he left the city standing.
The book also talks about soul debts and how Patrick, Jono and other mortals seems to be subject to the whims of the gods. On the other hand, the gods needed to be remembered and worshiped in order to be relevant. This, along with the inevitability of fate and Patrick trying really really hard to fight it create another layer of conflict. That they’re inescapable made me feel for the characters, although it’s hard to feel sorry for Patrick, he’s a cocky bastard.
The romance between Patrick and Jono was the insta-attraction kind. They were thrown together, literally, by the fates. And though I think their relationship could have been better developed, the short time they spent battling demons and dodging bombs created a strong bond between them. Bonus that we get Jono’s POV! It was fun seeing him get all possessive and growly over the bossy little mage.
Soulbound is an engrossing series and A Ferry of Bones & Gold was an awesome series opener. It delivered an immersive world, gripping plot, a great cast, and enough magic to keep the wannabe wizard in me happy. The romantic subplot mesh well with the story. It was good enough for Patrick and Jono to be memorable without taking focus from the rest of the story. They get an HFN this time but what do the gods have in store for them next?
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits