Blood Bound (Youkai Bloodlines Book 3)


The youkai are mythical creatures of darkness and death. Vampires of Japanese legend, they are immortal, yet thirst for the blood that maintains their vitality. Two hundred years ago, when their kind faced extermination, samurai Sakurai Hideyoshi and his young associate Hiro made a bargain to maintain the peace between the youkai and those who hunted them. But two hundred years is a long time, and the delicate balance between the creatures of the night and the outside world struggles to remain intact in an ever-changing world. It’s also a long time for two partners with differing personalities to remain unaffected. Hiro and Hideyoshi suffer a relationship crisis that drives them apart, and Hiro into the arms of a spirited and exuberant human lover whose nature is completely opposite to Hideyoshi’s indifferent stoicism.

Courtney Maguire’s third book in this series is once again layered and thoughtful. What would it be like to be trapped in an immortal, but imperfect, marriage? What if time did not heal all wounds? What if immortality secured the physical body but left the mind at risk, dooming all youkai to an eventual descent into madness? Against the backdrop of these existential questions, Hiro and Hide navigate their own broken alliance. There is so much love and pain within these pages that a reader’s heart feels quite heavy from the experience. The multiple love stories of the two principals, and the others they love through the centuries, are beautiful in depth and symmetry. Abrupt transitions between different time periods mar the flow by frequently throwing the reader off balance. The final product is nevertheless an immortal love story for all time.

Joan Lai