About the Book:
Author: Elayne Audrey Becker
Series: Forestborn #2
Page Length: 432
Publication Date: Aug. 30, 2022
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis: With the assassination of Telyan’s king, the time for peace has passed.
Determined to make up for his failure to procure the stardust, Helos finds work as a healer at Fendolyn’s Keep, the military garrison to which Telyan’s exiled royals–and half its civilians–have fled. Racing against the Fallow Throes’ ticking clock, he endeavors to repair his relationship with Prince Finley and fight off the gathering shadows in his head, as the base around him prepares for war.
Half a continent away, his sister Rora is doing everything she can to reawaken the land and end Eradain’s slaughter of magical beings. Still reeling from the revelation that Eradain’s violent monarch is her half-brother, she journeys to the kingdom determined to infiltrate his court in disguise–and finds the seeds of rebellion are already stirring.
With a magical illness running rampant and the continent arming for battle, the three realms’ long-feared destruction seems inevitable. But the two shifters they believed would bring about Alemara’s ruin may in fact hold the key to its survival.
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Wildbound is a great sequel to Forestborn and a great conclusion to the duology. The story alternates between Helos and Rora’s perspectives, which I liked because you really get to understand their thoughts and feelings, fears and wishes, and the depth of their emotional journeys. You also learn more about the secondary characters, especially Finley and Violet, Wes’s siblings. It’s interesting to see Violet take on a new leadership role and to find out more about Finley, his feelings, and many of the obstacles in his life.
Helos was a compelling character in the first book, and I liked him even more in this one. I think it’s because we get his point of view and follow his emotional and physical journey much like we do Rora’s. He gains more confidence and a stronger sense of self as his role changes and his relationships develop. And Rora’s journey is fantastic. She has such a great arc, and I love that she grows and learns so much as she works to free imprisoned shifters, battle deadly antagonists, and reunite with those she loves. Having the alternating perspectives of these siblings expands the plot, the world, and the myriad of relationships and conflicts each experience.
The focus on the importance of relationships and connection is strong in this book. From family relationships to friendships to romantic love, all of the relationships are fleshed out well and compelling. The sibling relationships in the story are particularly remarkable. Helos and Rora have such a strong bond, and their love for and support of each other parallels Wes’s connection to his siblings.
My favorite relationships are the romantic ones. Though Rora and Wes spend a lot of time apart, the longing and love they have for each other are palpable. And when they finally reunite, I was so happy. They’ve both been through so many struggles and so much trauma, and their romance is one of the things that keeps both of them going. The same goes for Helos and Finley. They have a lot of obstacles in their way, including prejudice, fear, and classism, but their feelings for each other are obvious. I love both of these romances and so hoped that things would work out for these couples. Amidst the danger and rebellion and illness and magic, all four of these characters deserve a happily ever after!
The world-building and magic system are layered and dynamic, and the shapeshifting element is unique. These elements, in addition to the immersive writing style, pull you right into the story and this dangerous and unique world. It’s suspenseful and exciting and filled with political intrigue, risky situations, conflict, and more. The story also tackles difficult subjects like prejudice, PTSD, grief, and more. I thought these topics were balanced well with themes of hope, love, and resilience.
This is a great duology and one I would definitely recommend to readers of YA fantasy. Thank you so much to Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romances!
- The relationships.
- The intrigue.
- The world-building.
Helplessness is a unique brand of torture.
I cannot forgive the man he’s become. But for a moment, I pity the child.
All this time searching, and it’s always been you.
Healing is an ever-changing process without definitive end.
I would recommend reading Forestborn, the first book in the duology, before reading this one. It’s not really a standalone. I would also suggest checking the content warnings as there are some topics that could prove triggering for readers.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: Wildbound by Elayne Audrey Becker”
Great review! I enjoyed the first book in this duology, and I’m looking forward to getting to this one soon.