Book Title: The Buried and the Bound
Author: Rochelle Hassan
Release Date: January 24, 2023
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQ+
My rating: 5/5 Stars
A contemporary fantasy YA debut from Rochelle Hassan about monsters, magic, and wicked fae, perfect for fans of The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Hazel Wood.
As the only hedgewitch in Blackthorn, Massachusetts—an uncommonly magical place—Aziza El-Amin has bargained with wood nymphs, rescued palm-sized fairies from house cats, banished flesh-eating shadows from the local park. But when a dark entity awakens in the forest outside of town, eroding the invisible boundary between the human world and fairyland, run-of-the-mill fae mischief turns into outright aggression, and the danger—to herself and others—becomes too great for her to handle alone.
Leo Merritt is no stranger to magical catastrophes. On his sixteenth birthday, a dormant curse kicked in and ripped away all his memories of his true love. A miserable year has passed since then. He’s road-tripped up and down the East Coast looking for a way to get his memories back and hit one dead end after another. He doesn’t even know his true love’s name, but he feels the absence in his life, and it’s haunting.
Desperate for answers, he makes a pact with Aziza: he’ll provide much-needed backup on her nightly patrols, and in exchange, she’ll help him break the curse.
When the creature in the woods sets its sights on them, their survival depends on the aid of a mysterious young necromancer they’re not certain they can trust. But they’ll have to work together to eradicate the new threat and take back their hometown… even if it forces them to uncover deeply buried secrets and make devastating sacrifices.
I am soooo late with my review of the Buried and the Bound, but let me tell you that all of you need to go out and buy this book right now! If you enjoy fae stories with a mythical feeling to them, queer love stories, rich writing style, and found family, then this book is definitely for you. I’d also recommend the audiobook, which I picked up after being so late in reading my ARC for this. Daniel Henning, Nikki Massoud, and Dan Bittner really bring this story and the characters to life.
First off, I have to say that I have never misjudged a book as much as I misjudged the Buried and the Bound. When I read the first chapter, I began dragging my feet on going back to it. Why? I’m not really sure, because I was so, so wrong about whatever I’d decided wouldn’t be for me. When I finally fully committed to reading the story, I was completely blown away. Every chapter, every page, and every sentence grabbed my attention even more than the last. By the end, I was so fully immersed that I was reluctant to return to my regularly scheduled life.
The writing style in the Buried and the Bound was lyrical, but never too much so that it took away from the story. Instead, it perfectly encapsulated the dark atmosphere and thick tension that followed the MCs through their journeys. The world building was done well, too. Not much was explained through a common info dump; instead, it was woven throughout the narrative, which is how I prefer world building to be done. This book, while keeping with a few traditions of previous fae stories and lore, adds its own take, which expertly stands on its own. For those of you who enjoy fae stories but also are looking for something a little different, look no further than the Buried and the Bound.
Additionally, I was a big fan of the characterization. The story follows three MCs, Aziza, Tristan, and Leo, and each of them are completely distinct from each other with their own motivations. Their voices were also entirely distinguishable, while still staying consistent with the story’s writing style. Aziza was such a strong, no-nonsense kind of protagonist, and also extremely loyal to those she cares about. As for Leo, even though he’d lost several memories of his past that all included his true love, he was still headstrong and determined to find answers. He is also what I’d consider a cinnamon roll, and I just wanted to give him a huge hug. Further, Tristan is more of the broody, bad boy type of character, but not at all in the cliché way. My heart hurt so much for him, and I was rooting for him the whole time.
These three characters came together to create such a fun and interesting dynamic. While Aziza and Leo were fast friends (much to the chagrin of Aziza), Tristan and Aziza were much more reluctant allies, while Leo always felt a pull towards Tristan he couldn’t explain; meanwhile, Tristan, of course, would do anything to protect Leo. Now I love a good found family, and these three were such a wonderful one! I truly cannot wait to see what adventures they get up to in the next book.
Unfortunately, I was unaware this was going to be a series, so I wasn’t expecting to come away with unanswered questions, but fortunately for me, this means that my time with Aziza, Tristan, and Leo is not yet finished, because there’s still so much I want to see happen! The book wrapped up really well, though, while still leaving enough unresolved to keep you waiting for the next story. Even so, it’s a satisfying ending.
The Buried and the Bound took me completely by surprise and I am so glad it did. I know it’s only February, but this is easily my favorite book I’ve read so far this year. I cannot recommend this one enough!
Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Purchase it at: Amazon | Audible | Barnes and Noble
Check out my last blog post: The Husband Hoax (Tour Post/Review)