Sisters of the Heart Series:
Spirit Bound: Stefan Prakenskii/ Thomas Vincent and Judith Henderson
Stefan Prakenskii and all of his brothers are one of Russia’s dirty little secrets. As a young child his parents were killed in front of him and his 6 brothers and they were all shipped off to orphanages/military installments to teach these kids everything that they should never been taught.
Now one of Russia’s top agents he has been tasked with recovering a vital microchip containing Russia’s defense system. For five years he has been tracking the chip and all trails lead straight to Jean-Claude La Roux. Now, after five years Stefan almost has La Roux in his clutches, he is sharing a jail cell with the terrorist in France. Stefan knows the way to catch La Roux is to break him out of jail and interrogate him. Stefan knows La Roux’s weakness is a young beautiful woman that La Roux literally has hundreds of photos of around his cell.
Five years ago Judith was a young art student in France when she met Jean-Claude La Roux, and was swept off her feet by the handsome influential Frenchman. Ignoring all the red flags was the most fatal mistake Judith ever made and it cost her brother his life. Five years later Judith is an artist coming into international fame and is living in Sea Haven with her “sisters”. She cuts herself off from all emotion because she knows the power she holds and how dangerous it can be. She is almost drowning in her own emotions when another entirely different successful business man enters her life looking to buy an art gallery; Judith is to broker the deal as the art gallery’s general manager.
Sea Haven seems to be coming up a lot in Stefan’s life lately. It is where his youngest brother Ilya settled and where his other brother reportedly died when a ship sunk. It comes as little surprise to Stefan, when his orders change and he is sent to Sea Haven instead of integrating La Roux to babysit Judith on the off chance La Roux will come for her. Stefan has a feeling this is really about his brother Lev, their handlers don’t really believe he’s dead. In fact neither does Stefan. Stefan, dusts off one of his deep covers even Russia doesn’t know about and heads to Sea Haven as Thomas Vincent a successful business man looking to buy an art gallery.
What Stefan wasn’t expecting was Judith. The first time Judith looks Vincent in the eye she knows something big just happened… her spirit connected to someone’s else’s spirit for the first time and merged with his and for a Spirit Element that is a big deal. Judith knows for that same reason she has to stay far from Vincent even as she is drawn to him. Bad things happen when her element gets involved. When “Thomas Vincent” looks Judith’s eye’s for the first time it is Stephan that knows his life has just changed; life as he always known it is no longer going to be enough. Now all he has to do is win over Judith, save his brother’s life, kill Petr Ivanov, find the microchip and find a way to “die” so Russia doesn’t decide to “retire” him. Easy Pezzy!
I have to say I was looking forward to this release for months before it came out. I love the Prakenskii’s, especially Ilya! Well I mean who doesn’t love Ilya?? And Lev is yummy in his own right, so when I saw that Stefan was going to be our next Prakenskii I have to say I was excited. Now I have to say I disappointed with this installment of the Sisters of the Heart Sea Haven installment. Why was I disappointed you ask??
- Insta-Love: In the first half of this book I was about choking on the insta-love between Stefan and Judith. I know that with the Prakenskii’s it’s a soul mate deal and they know when they have found their woman; but there is insta-love done well and there is insta-love done horribally wrong. In this case it really rode the fine line. I wasn’t turned off enough to give up on the book; which I have done in the past but it was definitely enough to roll my eyes several times. I mean in less than 24 hours they are both thinking in terms of forever. Even as Judith is saying “No, this can’t happen, I’m too dangerous” she is sucking major face with Stefan. Talk about “No, mean’s Yes! Take me NOW!” LOL.
- Repetitive statements: Feehan, kept repeating herself over and over in the first half of the book. She was basically re-writing the same few sentences in different ways over and over and over again. I was like ok, we get it already, move on.
- Hypocrite Much: Stefan was pretty hypocritical in the first half. I dislike a blatant hypocrite. It gets better in the second half.
- Know your characters: It didn’t seem like to me that even Feehan had a firm grasp of who her characters were as people; Judith especially. Judith seems under developed. Who is Judith? I don’t feel like I could give you a good answer to that question after finishing this book. I know that Rikki is a controversial character due to her autism, but you knew who she was as a person, she had a distinct personality. Maybe the issue with Judith is Feehan was trying to do too much with her, spreading her in too many directions.
- Spirit Element: What in the world is a spirit element?? I’m not sure I can even give you a full answer on that. Ok, so she can draw on people’s emotions and project her emotion onto others that I get. Now how does that translate to weaving other elements together and boosting powers? I don’t get it. Am I an idiot am I the only one that didn’t really get that one?
- Prakenskii Talents: So Lev can use animals to do his bidding and look through their eyes, he can heal and plant memories. Stefan displayed opening locks and telekenisis and that’s it, and the 2nd didn’t even come out until the 2nd half of the book. Ilya only displayed some control of the weather like Hannah, considerable healing powers similar to Libby, Spell speaking like Joley and make himself unnoticeable. Ilya is supposed to have all the gifts but displayed more Drake like skills then Prakenskii like skills and this inconsistency kinda bugged me. (inconstancies is one of my biggest pet peeves).
- Bonehead Decisions: Judith really makes some seriously stupid decisions a few times in this book. To the point I was going WTF! Seriously, damn that was stupid, what are you thinking?? And there was one scene that was just a big cluster ….
- No Ilya: So the entire reason I picked up this spin off from the Drakes was to see Ilya again. I was disappointed that he wasn’t in the first book, but Lev kind of made up for that. But here I am again wishing for a glimpse of Ilya but again he is absent. Erg! You do a teeny tiny bit of Jonas and a micro second of Alexsandr. If I couldn’t have Ilya I could have lived with more Alexsandr but even that was so fleeting it was just a tease.
- Second Half: Just about everything of importance comes toward the second half. The first half is almost entirely made up of Stefan and Judith and their insta-love.
So I don’t want it to seem like this book was all bad, the second half does pick up. Most of the issues above are in the first half and you just have to chug through it. Stefan and Judith kind of calm down on the insta-love and find some more medium ground. Actually, Stefan kind of pushes through and becomes more likeable in the 2nd half and you get more of a feel of who he is aside from a covert agent who lives in the shadows. His attempts at figuring out relationships are quite comical and make you smile. This leads into there is more Stefan and Lev interaction. In fact some of the best parts of this book are Stefan and Lev interacting. I really liked bringing these two together. Stefan may have been older but it was Lev that ended up guiding Stefan a lot. He was basically Stefan’s guide into the world of women and emotions and it was kind of endearing as far as brother moments go. A lot more action happens in the second half, almost making it seemed rushed but that’s okay, at least something happens. You get a hint at a future story and it’ll probably be a dozy! My curiosity is definitely aroused with this small glimpse and no I’m not telling what this small glimpse is. Read the book!
So should you read this book? I’d say yes if you are planning on keeping with this series. There are four more Prakenskii brothers lingering out there and single and just waiting for their story to be told. Because let’s face it we all started this series for the Prakenskii brothers not so much the “sisters” although a few of the sisters have also intrigued me. All you have to get through is the smothering insta-love in the beginning and then the rest of the book reads more like the other books of the Drake/Sisters of the Heart books. And if you don’t mind or actually like insta-love then that won’t bother you.