CHAINED is an epic historical romance with a complex storyline, diverse characters galore, suck you in world building all wrapped up in a wonderfully fluid writing style. The world Marion has created is rich with detail, political intrigue and betrayal, as well as a slow simmering romance. CHAINED isn't a quick fix mindless read. There are lots of players in this world with plenty of differing agendas. The secondary characters are so excellent that I honestly can't see how Marion can keep this series small unless there is a spin off series. Yes, the secondary characters are that interesting! I can only imagine this world expanding and getting even more interesting.
I am not even going to attempt to summarize this one at all. This review would be way too long and full of spoilers if I tried to do that. Gwen and Caden are from different houses and after a turbulent beginning work together in an effort to save the realms from further chaos and destruction. The fragile peace between the three kingdoms is being threatened while Gwen and Caden try to prevent their worlds from being completely ripped apart. Caden can be arrogant and condescending at times but his intentions are genuinely good. As a man in his high position he is used to being deferred to and doesn't always handle being challenged well. Gwen is close to being a perfect heroine for me. Strong, decisive, and willing to accept responsibility when something goes wrong.
If you are looking for a unique take on a historical romance that feels more like epic fiction CHAINED will fit the bill. This is not a quick sexy read. The story is complicated and richly detailed. I actually wanted to flip right back to the beginning and re-read this one because I am afraid that I may have missed something. I read this during a trip and I had to stop and start the story too many times for my liking. This does end with a lot of loose ends however BOUND (Book 2) is already out, The DALERAIAN (a novella) is due to be released July 10th, and a second novella WAR BRIDE is due to be released July 31st. This would be a perfect series to binge read and that just may be what I will do after WAR BRIDE is released. A second reading of CHAINED will be no hardship at all! I love it when I find a world/series that I enjoy so much that I do not want to emerge from it and this world Marion has created is one that I have fallen head over heels for. Yes, CHAINED is going on my favorite reads list!
P.S. It doesn't hurt that the covers to all of the books are AWESOME!
House Toustain … House Maignart … two royal houses once embroiled in a bloody feud … Twenty years of peace now broken in an instant …
Sir Caden Maignart has been captured, beaten, locked in a dungeon, and wrongfully accused of kidnapping and oath-breaking. Determined to free himself and his men, and clear his besmirched name, Caden does not count on the willful nature of his captor, Lady Gwendolyn Toustain, the daughter of the man who was once his father’s mortal enemy. After several attempts at escape, the lady orders him bound and chained to a wall in her chambers—where he will remain under her personal guard at all times and kept from conspiring with his men. While the lady's high-handedness infuriates him, Caden cannot deny that everything else about her drives him to distraction. Forced into close proximity with her, Caden soon finds it hard to remember his mission of escape.
When Lady Gwendolyn of House Toustain first lays eyes on her prisoner, one thing about him is abundantly clear: Sir Caden of Daleraia is a dangerous man. Yet, she must show him no fear. The captured band of knights from Daleraia are her only clue in the mystery surrounding the disappearance of House Toustain’s sons, and it falls to Lady Gwen to seek justice. Is this kidnapping merely the ploy of mercenaries out for a ransom? Or has Sir Caden acted on the order of the High Lord of Daleraia and broken the peace? As she searches for the answers, she never expects the surge of passion that ignites between herself and her prisoner. The longer he remains in her clutches, the more Gwen realizes that though she has him chained, she is the one who has been captured.