For fans of Hannah Whitten and Rebecca Ross, Unbound is a gender-bent reimagining of the classic tale of a monstrous beast and the beauty determined to tame it, set against the lush backdrop of Irish mythology and folklore.
Rozlyn Ó Conchúir is used to waiting—waiting for the king, her father, to relent and allow her to leave the solitude of her tower; waiting for the dreaded and mysterious Beast of Connacht to at last be defeated; waiting for the arrival of the man destined to win her heart and break the terrible curse placed on her and her land. So when she meets Jamie—a charming and compelling suitor—she allows herself to hope that her days of solitude and patience are over at long last.
But as she finds her trust betrayed—and newer, more sinister threats arising—Rozlyn learns that some curses are better left unbroken …
Healy debuts with a swashbuckling if somewhat overloaded adventure inspired by Irish mythology. Princess Rozlyn comes of age while locked in a tower because, she is told, her magic attracts a beast that ravages the countryside. She cannot leave until she finds a man to marry her and break the curse. After rebuffing all other suitors, she agrees to marry strapping Jamie—only for him to turn around and try to kill her. Ten years later, Rozlyn is a powerful queen with a much better grip on her magic when Jamie returns to the castle, pleading with her to go north with him and awaken the old gods to stop the spread of evil beasts and spirits through the world. Toggling between timelines, Healy reveals the extent of Rozlyn's powers, the nature of the beast they supposedly summon, Jamie's true intentions, and the history of the old gods, who have been asleep for centuries. The worldbuilding is fun and the tense, charged relationship between Jamie and Rozlyn keeps the pages turning, though Rozlyn's intransigence starts to feel forced as the pair journey north. Still, Healy should win some fans with this one.