Heather Brewer,
Legacy of Tril #1: Soulbound
(Dial Press, 2012)

In Soulbound, Heather Brewer, author of the bestselling Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series and the Slayer Chronicles, begins a new trilogy aimed at teen girls, one of which I definitely am not. The author is a strong anti-bullying advocate and has said one of her goals for this novel was to create a self-sufficient heroine who would kick ass for young girls to emulate.

To accomplish her goal, she has created Tril, a world at war. The Barrons have been fighting the Graplar king forever, it seems, and every Barron has a healer whose duty is to keep him or her alive by healing the wounds the Barrons get from Graplar bites. (Graplars are huge and fierce creatures whose main diet is Barrons.) There is a third class of people in Tril, the unskilled, but they are the peasants who seemingly have no role in the war.

Kara, our heroine, is the daughter of two Barrons who, since they did the unforgiveable by marrying each other instead of each marrying a healer, have spent all of Kara's life living among the unskilled.

When the Barrons discover they are there, Kara is shipped off, against her will, to the Training Academy, where she will learn the art of healing. A feisty girl, she isn't happy about this and rebels in small ways. It is here we learn that the Barrons might not be as good and pure as they claim; they keep Kara straight by threatening to kill her parents if she acts up. Kara wants to learn to fight; she thinks it's a pretty stupid idea for her to have to stand by helpless while her Barron does the fighting and tries to protect her also. So when the Barron she is bound to refuses to teach her, she goes to the head fight instructor, who provides secret instruction.

And, of course, she soon has an opportunity to prove her skills on the battlefield.

Here is my prediction: Tween girls, especially the ones that are already obsessed with the author's work -- evidently, there is an organized group who call themselves the "Minion Horde" -- are going to love this book. It has it all: action, a remote world, a heroine that insists on being her own person and fighting her own battles, a love triangle and a jealous mean girl who plots against the heroine.

book review by
Michael Scott Cain

15 September 2012

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