Author Christine Feehan’s newest release is Spirit Bound, the second book in her paranormal Sea Haven series. A spin-off of the author's Drake Sisters novels, the Sea Haven books take place in the same fictional town on the California coast, which attracts those with supernatural gifts. In this outing, Stefan Prakenskii has been called to Sea Haven, or rather ordered to the town, to investigate Judith Henderson, a beautiful artist who has caught the attention of a dangerous criminal. Stefan adopts the persona of a mild mannered businessman in order to blend in, but living in a place where powerful psychics are the norm, Stefan cannot hide his gifts. He also finds it impossible to hide his feelings for Judith, which is unusual for Stefan who has been trained since childhood to stay emotionally detached from everything and everyone.
I was particularly excited to read Spirit Bound because the Sea Haven series starter, Water Bound, was one of my favorite books of 2010. And while Spirit Bound doesn’t have quite the emotional impact as the series starter, which featured an autistic heroine, the author does an exceptional job of continuing the themes of the earlier book, which include redemption, healing, friendship and love. I found this book to be an intense read thanks to the combustible couple that immediately recognize the other, but have no idea what to do with their feelings.
There is a lot to love about this story which received a January Top Pick! review, but I have narrowed down the top five reasons why readers should check out Spirit Bound:
It actually might be more accurate to call Stefan an anti-hero since he has made some very questionable decisions in his past. He has seduced women, tortured men and killed on command. In fact, Stefan Prakenskii has a whole lot in common with another bad boy spy — James Bond. The whole time I read the book, I couldn’t get the image of Daniel Craig out of my head. (Hey, there are worse things to think about!) But unlike 007, who has a different Bond girl in every movie, Stefan knows that the only woman for him is Judith. At one point he tells her, “When a man has nothing in his life worth anything and he finds a treasure, he guards her with everything he is.” Is it any wonder that Judith falls for this guy?
Lasting female friendships can be difficult to find in both fiction and in real life, however, Judith and her “sisters”, Blythe, Rikki, Lissa, Airiana and Lexi support each other with unconditional love and acceptance. These women met after each was touched by dark violence that shattered their lives. But the six women were able to save each other through friendship and now they are partners, owning land and living close together so they can look out for each other. Sisters in everything but blood, you won’t find any rivalry here, just a wonderful wo-mance (the female version of the bro-mance).
Unique Paranormal Elements
There are no vampires or shapeshifters in this series. There are no ghosts or zombies. And while some may call Judith and her sisters witches, this is not quite accurate either. These ladies are “elements” who have power over nature. Each woman can make connections to water, fire and air and bend it to their will. However, while the rest of Spirit Bound can be dark and gritty, the sisters’ powers over nature is generally kept light — like when the ladies show off by heating up tea without going into the kitchen. Or, in one of my favorite scenes, when Rikki’s husband is in danger and she unintentionally sets off a violent storm. He has to tell her to calm down because, he jokes, the rain is so heavy it will drown him.
Christine Feehan is an incredible author and has an amazing talent of weaving together sizzling romance and dangerous action, but this isn’t the artistry that I am referring to. I am instead thinking of Judith and the works she produces. She is a painter and also crafts amazing kaleidoscopes with glass, beads and other found objects. The descriptions of her work are lyrical and beautiful. This also sets up a great scene in the novel when Judith demands that Stefan create a scope of his own. By watching the way he works and inspecting the details he includes in his piece, Judith is able to read his intentions and see the true Stefan, even the parts he hides from himself.
The Next In The Series
Blythe, the unofficial leader of the sisters' group, gets a lot of attention in Spirit Bound. And while she puts on a strong front, she has horrible emotional scars that have not yet healed. Hopefully the next book in the series will give Blythe the happily ever after she deserves. (I’m betting this is the case since, at the end of Spirit Bound there is an easily missed line that indicates Blythe may have been involved with one of Stefan’s brothers in the past. Bring on more Prakenskiis!)
Are you planning on picking up a copy of Spirit Bound? If so, I’d love to hear your reasons why in the comments. For more genre news and coverage, check out our Everything Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Page!