Book Review: Bound to Survive

Bound to Survive: The Magic Within (The Magic Within Series Book 1) by [Gibbs, Sharon]


In a realm where wizards govern, treachery is about to descend.
Born of prophecy, a boy is torn from the love of his family and ‘Bound’ with magic to survive.
He is hidden from those who seek to destroy him.
Over the years, he grows discontent…

Until a secret is revealed…a journey begins…and a choice is made.
A choice which will be for all in the realm.

Join Christopher and his friends as they begin a journey of discovery, a coming of age tale, which will see them face danger more than once and have them hatch a daring escape. Race with them across the country in a bid to save his love from certain death and find out how a secret will change the world they live in.
Bound to Survive is a coming of age story of sword and sorcery, wizardly love, war and intrigue steeped in a mystical age of magic.






This is what I get for not looking at the description before I settle down to read a book.  I knew it was a longish read – otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up way back when.  I figured it would be a longish adult read, and that really affected the enjoyment of this YA book.

World Building

Sharon did a wonderful job building up the world in this installment, even though there’s quite a bit of time-hopping back and forth between present day and historical scenes.  The setting doesn’t change all that much, but the political aspect changes radically – that’s really where the world building here shines brightest.  The physical setting is quickly drawn in with a few quick sketches that are fleshed out over the course of the book.  I did run into a couple of places where travel times didn’t feel right, but with the characters involved it didn’t jar me out of the tale.  (Sailing ships and magic users – call up a wind to speed things up a day or two.)

I’m not good with keeping flashbacks straightened out, which is part of why I had to wait to write the review.  I had to let my memory pull the story apart and rearrange it into something a little more linear.  Once that happened, I rather enjoyed the way the political world building progressed.  Each event was a natural outgrowth from the one before, or at least a reasonable result of decisions made previously.

Character Development

Here’s where I know my expectations come in to bite things in the wrong place.  Also, the heavy use of flashbacks in the story made it hard to really see the developmental aspects for the characters.

One the one hand, there’s so much time-hopping back and forth it’s hard to get a feel for who I should be rooting for.  You’re introduced early on to the lead cast, then pulled back in time when some of the cast aren’t alive yet before returning to the present plus a little time.  Because of this, the reader gets a chance to see the antagonist’s development much clearer than the protagonist’s development.  This makes the story feel a bit … thin.


The pacing in this book was definitely not something I enjoyed.  For me, it felt as if I were being dragged over a cattle guard made of razor blades – each time you started into a space between action crests it was a toss up if you were going to be cut or just make it over unharmed.  Again, this is a personal distaste for the heavy use of flashbacks, which doesn’t allow for much continuity.  Even after letting my memory rearrange the story, there is still no sense of smoothness between story points.  This is a real shame, because it appears to be an intriguing concept, just not a presentation style I enjoy.

Overall?  Much as I hate to put up poor ratings, this one is at best a 2 out of 5 star book.  It’s got a four-star story concept, but the presentation ruined it for me.  On the flip side, I will be reading the next installment – that’s how good the concept is – despite the flaws I ran into here.  This isn’t a time travel story, and I’m debating about going through the book with a separate document open where I can cross link the chapters into chronological order for personal preference.  That may correct some of the issues I ran into due to personal tastes.  I’ll also be reading this with the YA story mindset, rather than an older adult expectations.


If you’d like to give Bound to Survive a try, you can pick up a copy on Amazon Here.


If you enjoyed the review and want me to review one of your works, please stop by my Offered Services Page and fill out the simple submission form.  I’ll get back to you soonest to discuss details.


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