Review: Chained by Night by Larissa Ione

September 8, 2014 Books, Reading, Reviews 2 ★★★½

I wasn’t a super huge fan of the first Moonbound Clan Vampires novel, Bound by Night, but I enjoyed it well enough that I figured I’d give book two a shot. I’m glad I did, because I ended up enjoying Chained by Night much more than its predecessor.

First things first, I liked the hero and heroine much better. Both Aylin and Hunter were introduced in book 1, but now we get to see them as point of view characters, and I found them both very likable. Aylin is kept downtrodden by her (really crappy) clan because she has a birth defect, but she is clever and determined to survive. Actually, she wants more than just survival, and even though she knows things will be hard on her, she’s determined to find a way out of her terrible life. Hunter is the Moonbound clan leader, and while he has a few alpha male asshole moments, he’s overall an intelligent, confident character. I liked him a lot, and I appreciated that he sees and treats Aylin as an equal right off the bat.

Their relationship starts off with a brief case of mistaken identity, but both of them quickly realize their attraction and know it’s a Bad Idea, since Hunter is supposed to mate with her twin sister, and if that falls through, there will be war between the clans. Their romantic conflict is one that’s understandable; you don’t really want to shake them and tell them to stop being stupid and just hook up because there is such danger in doing that. You want it, of course, but it’s understandable that they would both try to suppress their attraction.

I like that the “villain” Aylin’s sister Rasha isn’t painted as just a soulless, power-hungry bitch. Oh, she is that and is generally an unlikable person but I like that Ione teases out little pieces of her that sit outside of the villainous bitch stereotype. She tries to protect Aylin and clearly loves her, though she is also condescending and thinks her sister to be useless and helpless. She does care for her sister, even if her horrible upbringing has prevented her from fully expressing that.

HOT sex scenes. Oh my gosh. This book has some seriously steamy moments, and the stolen nature of the intimate scenes between Hunter and Aylin made it that much hotter. As a romance, this book works really, really well.

The major problem I had with this book (and the first one) is the Native American stuff. It still feels like cursory research might have been done, and everything’s thrown into this mishmash that’s way too broad. For instance, I was able to run two google searches and see that someone looking for Cherokee clothing would not wear a feather and turquoise headdress. The Cherokee don’t wear headdresses (that’s certain Plains tribes), and turquoise is used by tribes in the American Southwest. That was not difficult information to acquire. So why does a character wear a feather and turquoise headdress and say it’s something Cherokee? Some readers seem to like the Native American “myth” surrounding the vampires, but to me, it reads more like a lazy lack of research. To be honest, it comes off as a bit racist, just jamming all of this mystical “native” stuff together and calling it Native American. YMMV, but this really rubbed me the wrong way.

My other problem: everyone in these books refers to men and women as males and females. That’s a huge pet peeve of mine. You’d call a dog a female; when you call a woman that, it sounds like you’re dehumanizing her. And on top of that, I see a lot of misogynistic jerks referring to women as “females,” and god, does that make my skin crawl. I hated it every time I saw it in this book, and it’s used very, very often. This is another YMMV thing, but be prepared to be annoyed if that bugs you like it does me.

There’s also plenty of mentions of other vampire clans mistreating women, but there aren’t really any direct rape threats or described assaults. However, that atmosphere of misogyny (and particularly how the MoonBound clan refuses to allow it) does permeate this book, if you’re sensitive to that.

Those problems aside, I enjoyed this book as a nice, steamy read. The romance is believable, and I wish that I could read more books with Hunter and Aylin as the leads. But alas, this is a romance series, and the next books will focus on other couples. I just hope they’re as appealing and relatable as these two.