Shadow Bound: Fated Hearts – Garrett Leigh
“He’s not a wolf.”
Devastated by the death of his best friend, Zio is a soldier with one thing on his mind: revenge. Consumed by a conflict that’s raged as long as he’s been alive, he’s had little time or inclination to learn the legends of the shifter world he was raised in. And he certainly doesn’t have time to deal with a shifter of a different kind, even if it’s for the good of the war effort. For the good of his pack. The fact that he’s already crossed paths with the new face in his unit is almost irrelevant.
Do no harm. Give life not death: it’s the oath Devan was reborn to live by, so when he’s sent abroad to embed with a wolf pack as their resident healer, he doesn’t hesitate. In the supernatural world, some bonds are instant—soldiers become brothers, pack become family. But others run deeper and before long, Devan’s at the mercy of instincts he can’t control.
Zio’s inner wolf is desperate to be with Devan, while Devan struggles to keep the pack safe. But as the war escalates, and new love is tainted by anguish and pain, the battles within might prove the toughest of them all.
“I won’t let him die.”
We are dropped right smack in the middle of a war in this captivating shifter romance by Garrett Leigh. It quickly grabbed my attention and didn’t let go.
Fated Hearts is the first book of the Shadow Bound series. There is a short story prequel that I haven’t read yet. I’m guessing it will more or less give us an idea of how or why the Northern pack and the Southern packs are at war with each. This prequel is also the story of how the Shadow Clan’s alpha met his fated mate who is a vampire. From the hints given in the story, it’s just as good as this novel.
So anyway, the world is basically already established and we get right into the action. There are a lot of characters who are assumed to be known to the reader already. I felt it would have been ideal if I had known their backstories beforehand. However, overall, piecing together everything wasn’t a hardship and did not greatly undermine my enjoyment of the story.
Apparently, the shifters here stopped aging once they are turned. I liked this version of shifters. There are wolves and feline shifters as well as vampires with humans very much aware of their presence. Magic is present but low key. There is also mention of human weapons used in the pack war and their impact. I’m curious to see what other supernatural creatures are present and where the author takes the series. The Shadow Bound world is definitely worth exploring.
Zio is a soldier of the Northern pack who just lost his bestfriend, Emma, the pack healer. He took the loss hard and had a hard time accepting her replacement. Zio is a bit of a hot-head but a good leader of his squad. Orphaned as a baby, the pack is all the family he has ever known, the other soldiers his brothers.
Zio first met Devan at a club when he smelled something very enticing and followed his nose right up to a mysterious man in the dark. They had what they assumed was an anonymous hook up and thought they wouldn’t see each other again. Much to his surprise, the rando turned out to be their new healer.
Devan is a shifter from the Shadow clan. He has a calm, grounding presence. He’s also mature considering that he looks 21 but also makes sense since he’s been a shifter for 20 years.
The attraction between the two was undeniable. Zio, who is quite naive of some basic shifter biology, cannot seem to understand why he is so strongly drawn to Devan. The healer was hesitant to explain why for some reason but couldn’t help getting close This is where most of the delicious will they or won’t they tension comes from. I could feel their frustrations and longing leaping off the page.
This created a lot of angst, especially coming from Zio. His grief, anger, desire for revenge, desire for Devan all made him run away from others. We could see how young Zio is. He was turned when he was a baby 20 something years ago so his shifter age and biological age are the same.
Even when they finally acknowledged that they were mates, Zio and Devan were forbidden to complete the bond due to shifter politics. Things are so much bigger than just the two of them. War takes its toll and death inevitable.
I felt bad for those who lost their mates especially mated pairs who had major appearances in the story. The deaths weren’t Game of Throne levels but the results could still be felt strongly especially right after showing the close bonds and camaraderie among pack and their alpha.
Dan Calley, who is the narrator of most Garrett Leigh books, did a great job bringing the characters to life. The voices he used for each character really suited their personality. My only niggle is that I wished there was a pause whenever the POV shifts from one MC to another. I wouldn’t immediately realize that the POV already changed because the sentences were read without any change of pacing.
Among the shifter stories I’ve read, Fated Hearts is one of the well-written ones. Even without the build-up, it’s easy to get swept away by the story and root for the characters. The development of a shifter relationship amidst war and politics was portrayed beautifully, the HEA hard-fought and satisfying.
The war is not yet over. We haven’t seen the last of the Northern pack and the Shadow Clan yet. I’m looking forward to the next book!
Thank you to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible UK for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Garrett Leigh books here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Soldati Hearts: The Soldati Prince – Charlie Cochet
One moment Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger shifter he would rather strangle.
Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world where he belongs. On their journey they might discover why the priestess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.
An attempt at shifter/human paranormal romance that fell short of the mark. I appreciate the fluff and cute that are liberally sprinkled throughout but I could trade this with any typical shifter romance story be it m/f, m/m or f/f and it wouldn’t make any difference. It’s that generic. It didn’t help that the narration was lackluster and flat. I’d say pass on this one.
2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book