Return of the Elves (Books 1-3)

Bethany Adams

I won a Goodreads Giveaway last year or the year before and received Soulbound from the author. Then, I set the book on my bookshelf, bought a house, moved, forgot about it, picked it up, read ten other books, and finally picked it back up early last week. I devoured the first novel in an afternoon (waiting for my new job to start has allowed me binge reading days). That night I bought the second book and read it the next morning. That afternoon, I purchased the novella. (Note: Each book is able to stand alone, only hinting at previous events (typically retelling them without painful redundancy.) Thank goodness for Kindle and the ability to instantly satisfy that NEED to read a series.

Overall, I enjoy this series. I do not think the books are something every reader will enjoy, but they really were a lot of fun for me (and I look forward to her future books in this series). The are somewhat superficial, entertaining reads. Surprisingly, it doesn’t result in half-developed characters, interactions, descriptions, or plots. Adams has a romance-sprinkled, fantasy story that works without requiring much effort or time on the reader’s part.

Soulbound

(Disclaimer: Again, the copy I read of this novel was given to me free through a Goodreads giveaway.)

A female lead without crippling self-esteem issues, with courage, brains, and a bit of snark. A female lead who admires and works alongside other females. Adams has given us a unicorn, a likeable and believable female lead. Thank you, Mrs Adams!

Adams introduces soulbond. The soul bonded are two individuals are connected on such a level that their souls and their internal energy (which is connected to their magic) are in tune. The connection bonded individuals share includes emotions, thoughts, and physical experiences. It is this connection and this idea that drives the romance bit of the story. It also has an odd effect on the reader, which I believe is beautiful. Adams leaves the reader more empathetic, open, and understanding.

The way these connections and the elven society works relies strongly on respect and empathy, which tumbles out of the page and into the reader. It is easy to say each person is their own complete person. They have an entire world as deep as your own. If only for this reason, you should be friendly to strangers and kind to those you see every day. Yet, we often forget and allow our view of those around us to be narrower and shallower without noticing. Adams reminds us to open up, once more, and seek genuine connections which include those messy parts (and to accept and endure other’s messy parts). What better people we would be if we were to remember that throughout every interaction and day.

Sundered

The second of the series introduces a new cast with some familiar faces, which was a bit difficult for me at first. I really liked the lead characters of Soulbound and had to adjust to them being supporting characters. But Adams knows what she is doing. By the middle of the book, I liked the new leads a much as, if not more, than those I grew attached to previously.

The storyline was original and creative, which can be difficult in an episodic series. Again, Adams encourages people to be a bit nicer and more open with her storytelling. Although this novel includes soul bonds and their effect on the elves, this story focuses more on individual value and the dangers of measuring everyone with the same criteria. She leaves you encouraged and more encouraging.

Again, a sweet and entertaining story that resounds seemingly without intending to.

Exiled 

This short novella connects the second story and the book to be released very soon – fingers crossed. Again, the lead characters have shifted. Somehow, the story is entirely unique and engaging anyway. (Adams is a secretive mastermind?)

It was a short and sweet telling of a short adventure that will have intriguing consequences in the elven world Adams created. Even in a short tale, Adams gently reminds us to be better people. Encouraging us to challenge our mental models and prejudices because no one and nothing is quite as it seems.

-A Bookish Girl

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