Author: Brant Williams
Series: Havoc Chronicles #1
Date: March 2012
Source: Amazon Kindle Lending Library
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Buy the Book • Goodreads
At 16, Madison has accepted herself for who she is: smart and witty, but overweight with thick glasses and the social life of a Tibetan monk. Everything changes the summer before her junior year of high school when her eyesight inexplicably corrects itself, and she begins to rapidly lose weight. However, her new look comes with an unexpectedly expensive price. Madison’s first kiss with the boy she has had a crush on for years triggers powers she can’t control, almost killing him.
She discovers she is a Berserker, a powerful being chosen to guard the world from the Havocs, ancient creatures brought into our world by magic thousands of years ago. They cause destruction and death, but cannot be killed. Only the Berserkers’ life-blood can bind – and free – the Havocs. One Havoc is free and wants Madison’s blood to free another. Instead of enjoying her new look and popularity at school, Madison must now work with the Berserkers to master her powers and bind the Havoc before it kills her.
Oh, and if that weren’t bad enough, it turns out she is the first female Berserker since, well - ever.
Reviewed by: Mary
It can be a little hard sometimes to read young adult books when you’re more of a loser grown up, because your perspective on life is so different from the main characters of the book. Which is why I tend to read fantasy novels, because often those teenagers have problems beyond “what if he never asks me out?” Which is the case with Madison, who used to be a complete outcast with a huge crush on a popular boy who barely acknowledged her but thanks to a complete mysterious transformation she’s now popular.
Normally, if you put a book in front of me where the main plot involves a former ugly duckling becoming beautiful and popular, I will not like that book. But Threads That Bind actually manages to take that idea and make it work by making the transformation completely supernatural and actually having the Madison be wary and upset by it. She didn’t just accept her new looks and popularity, she thought it was weird. She didn’t magically become extroverted and able to deal with people either.
The first part of the book does require quite a bit of reminding myself “she’s a teenager, this is perfectly in character” because after she starts dating her crush, who becomes her whole world in like a week, she accidentally almost kills him and well, that’s pretty much cause for a breakup. Her moping goes on a touch longer than I would have liked, but then the actual action and story starts. See, it turns out Madison is super strong because she’s a berserker, which in this world comes with a specific set of powers and responsibilities.
Williams really has thought out his world, with the Berserkers and Havocs and Binders. He creates a lot of fun and memorable characters, and their backstories are well thought out. The only problem is that the book sometimes felt a little bit more like a draft than a finished product. Sometimes there was just too much there, and I wished he’d taken the time to take out a few characters or plot lines. And yes, there’s a half hearted attempt at a love triangle, but it never came together enough to really bother me. Madison has generally zero chemistry with one of the guys, so I’m not entirely sure why it kept coming up.
There’s just a lot of little things that kept me from really loving it, especially because they felt unnecessary. It often felt like the author worried more about creating this world and establishing the rules of it than about plot and pacing and story. Still, I enjoyed the characters and I’ll be reading the next one.