Pitched as perfect for fans of The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Hazel Wood, The Buried and The Bound is an exciting YA debut contemporary fantasy novel full of magic, fae mischief, and a heavy dose of pining.
I’m honored to be a stop on the Fierce Reads Blog Tour for The Buried and The Bound and am here with a review to supplement my tour post on Instagram now that I’ve finished reading the book! (Spoiler Alert: I loved it!)
About The Buried and The Bound
Publisher: Roaring Book Press • Release Date: January 24, 2023 • Pages: 384
Age Range: Young Adult • Genre: Fantasy • Source: Publisher
As the only hedgewitch in Blackthorn, Massachusetts—an uncommonly magical place—Aziza El-Amin has bargained with wood nymphs, rescued palm-sized fairies from house cats, banished flesh-eating shadows from the local park. But when a dark entity awakens in the forest outside of town, eroding the invisible boundary between the human world and fairyland, run-of-the-mill fae mischief turns into outright aggression, and the danger—to herself and others—becomes too great for her to handle alone.
Leo Merritt is no stranger to magical catastrophes. On his sixteenth birthday, a dormant curse kicked in and ripped away all his memories of his true love. A miserable year has passed since then. He’s road-tripped up and down the East Coast looking for a way to get his memories back and hit one dead end after another. He doesn’t even know his true love’s name, but he feels the absence in his life, and it’s haunting.
Desperate for answers, he makes a pact with Aziza: he’ll provide much-needed backup on her nightly patrols, and in exchange, she’ll help him break the curse.
When the creature in the woods sets its sights on them, their survival depends on the aid of a mysterious young necromancer they’re not certain they can trust. But they’ll have to work together to eradicate the new threat and take back their hometown… even if it forces them to uncover deeply buried secrets and make devastating sacrifices.
🧚 Fae mischief
💔 Pining & angst
🔮 Magic & witchcraft
👪 Found Family
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blood & injury depiction, death, loss of parents
Lebanese American rep, immigrant and child of immigrant rep, queer rep
4 Reasons to read The Buried and The Bound
I enjoyed this book so much while reading that I didn’t take as many notes as I typically do for review purposes. I’m left with a lot of feelings and it’s time to shout about them!
Effortless and Beautiful Prose
Reading The Buried and The Bound is an experience that transports the reader to a magical version of our world full of fae and witches. The prose is effortless and beautiful, lyrical while still maintaining a quick pace.
“[A]t the heart of the fair, under a mountain of tinsel and fake pine needles, was a pocket of darkness. When people walked too close, their shadows met the base of the tree and briefly merged with that dark place […] Shadows were vectors for certain things. Get two shadows to touch, and you had a bridge.”
Told in three alternating perspectives, The Buried and The Bound does an excellent job utilizing these narratives to their fullest. Each character has a distinct voice, their own motives, and most importantly — their own knowledge. The reveals to the reader are gradual as you piece together what each character knows and every bit serves a purpose.
Reading The Buried and The Bound feels like slipping into a fairy tale world that feels real. Like, I am sure that Blackthorn, Massachusetts as described exists! Hassan does an excellent job crafting a world where all sorts of folklore and mythological creatures exist, building on stories told throughout the ages in a way that feels both familiar and fresh.
“When other children were learning to speak to their elders with respect, Aziza was learning the etiquette of human-fae interaction: how to be both polite and firm at once, how to make bargains without leaving a loophole for the crafty ones to exploit, what could be given away and what should never be.”
The worldbuilding is all-encompassing but also slowly doled out in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the reader. Because despite this being contemporary fantasy, most people in this world do not know that this exists – they live understanding the world as we do.
I love magical stories and this is one of the best depictions of Fae that I’ve encountered in a long time. The magical systems make sense and have clear rules and you can tell a lot of folklore research went into developing this world.
“It might not be tonight. It might not even be tomorrow. But, sooner or later, they would go stumbling into the woods and never return.”
The Characters and their Found Family
Let me say right now that I adore this trio and will protect them at all costs – I am so glad that they found one another! One of my favorite things about this book are how the magical world is shown through the eyes of the three main characters and how they learn to interact within it.
🔮 Aziza is a first-generation Lebanese American living with her grandfather Jiddo because her parents passed away when she was very young. She’s a hedgewitch and set on protecting her town from the forces of darkness.
💔 Leo lost all memories of his true love on his sixteenth birthday and will stop at nothing to break the curse. Barring the whole “my family is cursed” thing, he doesn’t really know that magic exists. (His parents are also cursed with hilarious consequences.)
☠️ Tristan is a necromancer bound in unwilling servitude to a powerful force intent on destruction. He’s unhoused and alone, with no one but the hag to whom he is bound when the book begins. He loves fiercely and is willing to stop at nothing to help those he cares about.
There’s pining and yearning and so much angst that burbles beneath the surface, and the book has queer representation.
The cast of supporting characters (Meryl, Hazel, and Jiddo) all feel just as real as the main characters, each with their own secrets and backstories that I’m looking forward to learning.
It’s a Trilogy!
I didn’t realize that this book was the first installment of a trilogy but I am so excited for more adventures with Aziza, Leo, and Tristan! But have no fear because this book comes to a natural stop (no cliffhangers here!) but leaves you wanting more time with this trio. I can’t wait to see what happens next for this new coven and how the curse stuff… pans out. (Look I need to be vague but IYKYK.)
I received an finished copy from the publisher for my honest review. This has not affected my opinions or the contents of my review.
Highly recommended to fantasy readers who enjoy magical stories and found families. The characters and the world equally shine in The Buried and The Bound, making for an encrossing reading experience you’ll want to savor!
Recommended if you enjoyed…
No two readers experience a book in the same way; this was mine, but what about you?
💬 Have you read The Buried and The Bound yet? If so, what are your thoughts?
💬 Did I convince you to add this book to your TBR?
💬 What other fantasy books with Fae would you recommend?
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L.A. Young says
My library, where I work, ordered this book and it’s already been borrowed. Looks like I need to read this book for myself, too!
Lila @ Hardcover Haven says
*pokes head up from under the pile of textbooks and coursework i’m currently stuck under* did you say lebanese american rep?! say no more! lol but beyond rep i can relate to, this book sounds awesome! i’ll definitely have to check it out!
Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits says
This sounds great! And I love when books that have obvious sequels planned ALSO have a proper ending. Thanks for the review!
Tasya @ The Literary Huntress says
I’m surprised I’ve never heard of this book before- I’m adding this to my TBR immediately!
Aamna @ The Ink Slinger says
Aah this was such an incredible review Kai! I’m most definitely adding this to my TBR.
angsty pining + found family sound so amazing!!! 🥰
Bianca Visagie says
Okay but the cover is so cool. Adding this to my TBR immediately.
Aamna @ The Ink Slinger says
Aah this was such an incredible review Kai! Immediately adding this to my TBR! angsty pining+ found family my fav combination!!!! 💕