Welcome to my stop on Second Sky’s blog tour for To Bind a Dark Heart by Kathryn Ann Kingsley!
Book: To Bind a Dark Heart
Author: Kathryn Ann Kingsley
Pub Day: November 3, 2023
About the book:
“Run, Gwen. Run as far and as hard as you can. Because when I catch you… You will belong to me.”
When she shattered the Iron Crystal and returned magic to Avalon, Gwen also shattered Mordred’s heart. Torn between her passion for Mordred and his rage at her betrayal, she fled into the wilds.
Gwen’s choice has transformed Avalon, and the island teems with magical wonders freed from the crystal. But Gwen also released the vicious and chaotic elementals. Desperate for revenge against Mordred, some of them see Gwen as an ally, others as a hostage.
Now, the Prince in Iron hunts Gwen relentlessly, though at night he visits her in dreams, unable to break the desire that binds them. She is his weakness. If his enemies captured her, he knows that he would make any deal, break any vow to return her to his side.
As the elementals prepare for battle, Gwen will face an impossible choice. Can she stand by as Avalon’s magic is destroyed once again? Or will she fight to overthrow the man she loves?
Cover designed by: @DariaBlackHalo (X)
Gwen is on the run, hiding from Mordred’s wrath after she shattered the Iron Crystal and freed the elementals. Light and color and beauty have returned to Avalon, but so have elemental egos and tempers. Gwen is in the company of a nasty demon who wants to be rid of her and doesn’t much care if she dies in the process, and everyone she meets either fears her, wants to kill her, or thinks they can use her for their own ends. And if Mordred learns exactly what her connection is to Grinn, the demon Ash King, she fears her life will be forfeit – that whatever Mordred might feel for her won’t be enough for him to let her live.
In this story, we see more than just Gwen and Mordred’s points of view. That added a new layer to things. For instance, Grinn. You don’t really expect a whole lot from him, as he’s a demon. But he did make me chuckle a couple of times when he grudgingly accepted some form of help or comfort from Gwen. We also see the thought processes of Lancelot, now freed from Mordred’s control, and the other Knights who are still bound to the Iron Prince. And the wizard who apparently had his head full of so many things about what was and what is that he couldn’t remember a thing about himself was at times both maddening and almost whimsical.
One of the most heartbreaking parts of the story for me was the introduction of the Gossamer Lady, Galahad’s true love. The Gossamer Lady, an elemental, is now released from the Crystal. But Galahad is just as bound to Mordred as ever he was. They can see each other, and they can spend time together in small amounts, but they are by no means free to be together. Add in the fact that Lancelot is raising an army of elementals with the intent of ending Mordred’s reign permanently, and it’s possible that Galahad, his true love, or the both of them won’t survive until the end of the book. How do you read that without being emotionally wrecked?!
I said in my review of To Charm a Dark Prince that Gwen was a bit of a vanilla heroine. And so she remains here. I mean, I can’t fathom being in her shoes – far from home, away from everything familiar, now aware that the grumpy old cat in the barn is really a demon, and facing danger at every turn. That’s vomit-inducing, and maybe I’d just go with the flow, too. But she doesn’t seem to grow much here. She lets others dictate what she does and when for the most part, whether she likes it or not. She seldom takes a stand for herself.
When Gwen and Mordred are reunited (because you know they will be), sparks fly in short order. As with the first book, there’s a bit of on-page spice. Not my usual jam, but not so much of it that it makes me not want to keep reading the story.
And once battle actually ensued, then I had a hard time putting the book down! The story once again ended with a cliffhanger that leaves you anxious to get your hands on the next in the series, because how will they get out of this?! I’m ready to read the third in the series and see what happens next.
Thanks to Second Sky and Netgalley for an advance reader copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
About the author:
As a USA Today bestselling author and award-winning designer, Kat has always been a storyteller. She delights in spinning stories of the sweetest nightmares to delight her readers with her unique twist of fantasy, horror, and romance. With ten years in script-writing for performances on both the stage and for tourism, she has always been writing in one form or another.
Also on her list of skills are artistic direction, scenic painting and props, special effects, and electronics. A graduate of Boston University with a BFA in Theatre Design, she has a passion for unique, creative, and unconventional experiences. In her spare time, she builds animatronics and takes trapeze classes.