The Binding
Imagine you could erase grief.Imagine you could remove pain.Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.Forever.Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.

The Binding Details

TitleThe Binding
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 10th, 2019
PublisherThe Borough Press
ISBN-139780008272111
Rating
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Lgbt, Adult

The Binding Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Bridget Collins has written a beautifully imagined piece of fantasy historical fiction, a sumptuous love story, of poor farmer's son, Emmet Farmer, and the wealthy, privileged Lucian Darnay, doomed to be star crossed lovers. In this world, books are not what we would recognise them to be, books are for all those things that people feel destroyed by and cannot live with in their lives. They are extraordinary hand crafted, leather bound repositories of actual peoples memories, their secrets, grief Bridget Collins has written a beautifully imagined piece of fantasy historical fiction, a sumptuous love story, of poor farmer's son, Emmet Farmer, and the wealthy, privileged Lucian Darnay, doomed to be star crossed lovers. In this world, books are not what we would recognise them to be, books are for all those things that people feel destroyed by and cannot live with in their lives. They are extraordinary hand crafted, leather bound repositories of actual peoples memories, their secrets, grief, and pain, erased for good after being stored in a book. Books are feared and forbidden, as Emmet finds to his cost when he is drawn to buy one. An unwelcome letter arrives for Emmet, an apprenticeship he cannot refuse, he will train to be a bookbinder under Seredith's tutelage, a sacred calling. For a while, Emmet has been ill, unable to contribute to the farm as he once did, but he, like others is afraid of bookbinders, a profession surrounded with ignorance, prejudice and superstition. He travels to Seredith's remote home, and surprisingly finds solace in his daily tasks, surrounded by a silence that turns out to be what he needs to bear his illness.The narrative goes back and forth in time, from the time Emmet and his sister, Alta, meet Lucian Darnay, to the development of their relationship, and to Emmet's experiences with other bookbinders and their clients. The reader comes to understand how Emmet came to develop his mystery illness, and the effects and repercussions of bookbinding on his and Lucian's lives. Seredith turns out to be a remarkably ethical and moral bookbinder, storing and safely locking away the books in her vault. This is in sharp contrast to others, some bookbinders are happy to practice a corrupt, horrifyingly venal form of bookbinding for the rich and powerful that uses and abuses people. These bookbinders illegally sell and trade the books for profit, often to those with a prurient interest in the secret lives of others, and for the purposes of blackmail. In a story of murder, magic, separation and ruthless powerful forces, do Emmet and Lucian's love stand any chance in a hostile world?Collins engages in complex world building in this utterly beguiling novel, making this world come vibrantly alive with her detailed descriptions of time and place, whilst relating a moving and original love story that charms and captivates. This is Romeo and Romeo for the modern age, the characterisation is compelling, with Emmet and Lucian’s love crossing the social class divide, moreover a love story that crosses boundaries in so many other senses too. This is brilliant storytelling, that immerses the reader in a past where books are a dangerous and secret commodity, and a forbidden love that threatens to destroy Emmet and Lucian. Highly recommended. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
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  • Will Byrnes
    January 1, 1970
    We’ve been called witches since the beginning of time. Word-cunning, they used to call it—of a piece with invoking demons…We were burned for it too. The Crusade wasn’t new, we’ve always been scapegoats. Well, knowledge is always a kind of magic, I suppose. Emmett Farmer is a young man with issues. He used to think that he would inherit his family’s farm. It was the life he was used to and the road he expected to follow to, and beyond, the horizon. But he has not been himself lately. His abilit We’ve been called witches since the beginning of time. Word-cunning, they used to call it—of a piece with invoking demons…We were burned for it too. The Crusade wasn’t new, we’ve always been scapegoats. Well, knowledge is always a kind of magic, I suppose. Emmett Farmer is a young man with issues. He used to think that he would inherit his family’s farm. It was the life he was used to and the road he expected to follow to, and beyond, the horizon. But he has not been himself lately. His abilities have deteriorated. He loses himself, in time, suffering dizziness, nausea, and weakness. Some say he was cursed by a witch. When he is offered an apprenticeship with a bookbinder, it offers a way out, however frightening the career and his mentor might be. Bridget Collins - image from United Agents, UKDespite some raw similarities, bookbinding in Bridget Collins’s world is not quite the same as it is in ours. Emmett trains with the elderly Seradith, a woman seen as being a witchy sort by some of the locals. In fact, bookbinding is seen as a dodgy sort of work. What is bound in books here are memories. Instead of sharing recollections or stories, as they do in our reality, the memories bound into beautifully crafted leather books in this world are removed from clients by binders. Unlike books in our world, which are designed to be shared, these books are meant to be hidden. Being on the NY Times Top Ten list would kinda defeat the purpose.At least that is the intent. Cheat on your taxes? Pay off your mistress to keep quiet at the height of a political campaign? Sell out your nation’s security in return for real estate consideration by a foreign enemy? Awkward. But there is a solution, well, for part of it, anyway. Go to a binder and the memories will be nicely removed, leaving your tiny mind virginally memory and guilt free, and ready for that sit-down with whoever might be heading an investigation. If memory-cleansing bookbinding existed in our world, I imagine there would be a long line of potential clients. Of course, it might be a challenge to find binders with the innate talent to make those memories move from a client’s brain to the page. One can train in how to work the leather, sew the pages, and do all the material steps entailed in constructing such a book, but only those with a special gift can smooth the passage from one medium to the other. Emmett Farmer, it turns out, has such a gift. It does not help much with tilling fields, but is crucial for this special craft. …the hours passed slowly, full of small, solid details; at home, in the busyness of farm life, I’d never had the time to sit and stare, or pay attention to the way a tool looked, or how well it was made, before I used it. Here the clock in the hall dredged up seconds like stones and dropped them again into the pool of the day, letting each ripple widen before the next one fell. Emmett acclimates to Seradith’s remote locale (out in the marshes), begins to learn the manual end of the binding craft, and is eager to move beyond to learn what bookbinding is really all about (he does not actually know). He is particularly curious about what goes on beyond certain forbidden doors at Seradith’s emporium, but even glancing inside such doors causes him major episodes of what his boss calls Binder’s Disease, costing him days of consciousness and bringing forth strange visions. These strains increase when certain clients arrive. When he finds a book with his name on it, Emmett realizes that he is less than whole.Part Two of the novel is Emmett’s bound story as reported in that book. Part Three returns us to Emmett’s now, and how he deals with what he has learned. More than that about the goings on risks spoiling a key plot twist. But it does touch on forbidden love and the dangers of loving outside one’s class, however that may be defined. The Binding is an engaging page turner of an historical fantasy, particularly the first third, in which we are introduced to Collins’s world, an amalgam of the medieval and circa 1890 rural England. The mystery of Emmett’s affliction is enticing and his experience at Seradith’s is riveting. I found Part Two, Emmett’s bound story, interesting, but nowhere near as gripping. Part three is pretty much a continuation of Part Two, but with Emmett aware of his history, so is more of a cloth with the second than the first part. Not to say that the latter two are not good, just not so fabulous as the opening, in terms of the engagement of the story, at least. In terms of looking at the socio-economic implications of binding, they are wonderful. One fascinating thing is how Collins came up with her concept. She was working as a volunteer at Samaritans, a non-profit that offers people who will listen for people who need to talk. What would it be like if I could reach out and winch that memory from you? She was also taking a book-binding class at the time, and a happy combination was conceived. In setting her story in late 19th century rural England she uses some history of the era to correspond with events in the created reality. For example, the Binding Law of 1850 in Emmett’s world corresponds to the 1850 legalization of gin (I’ll drink to that!) in English law. The Crusades here, for example, were not about perceived Middle Eastern outrages, addressed with European outrages, but were focused on scapegoating binding for the social and economic disruptions brought about by the rise of capitalism. Binders are viewed as women accused of witchcraft have been in our world, dealers in mysterious practices, necessary for providing needed services, but not to be trusted, and maybe evil. There are many novels that use memory loss as a core mechanism. Some elements of these are fairly common. How is memory lost? Literature is rich with examples, usually of the traumatic sort, usually involving violence, typically a blow to the head. These tend to populate books in which memory loss features as a Maguffin for propelling a thriller or mystery. Next down the list is memory lost through illness, typically Alzheimers’ disease. Still Alice fits in there nicely. There are stories in which memory loss is via external misadventure of a broader, science-fictiony sort, things like plagues. The Book of M is a wonderful example. Less populous is the sort in which memory is willingly surrendered, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind pops to mind. (and we elect to keep it there, for now) The Binding relies on the last of these, substituting a bit of magic for the sci-fi explanation offered in Eternal Sunshine. What lifts The Binding above the crowd of memory-loss novels is its consideration of the societal implications of voluntary forgetting. There are complications, of course, and they are wonderfully explored. Some with power want others to forget what they have done. Think of it as an employment contract, or a user agreement for partaking in pretty much any software. You agree to this and that, and such and such, which will entail the surrender of some inalienable rights. Just click agree at the bottom of the mouse-print form. But damn, you need the job, or want to use the software. However, what if what you are surrendering to the seller, or employer, is the right to your own memories? And what if the person in power has done something they would rather you not remember? You might find yourself (or what is left of you) wearing out a path to the binder’s shop for a bit of a memory trim (Boss just sent me over. Says you should just take a bit off the top, please, and close on the sides, ok?) I will leave to your imagination (and the book of course) how such a system might be abused. So, we have an author who looks at political power in a very personal way. Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your…wait, what was that again? Continuing the image, what if you are starving and selling your memories as a way to put food on the table, the way many in poverty engage in sex work to make ends meet? Puts me in mind of the Beggarwoman from Sweeney Todd (Hey, don’t I know you, Mister?”) Which of course presumes that there are binders out there with somewhat lower ethical standards than the very righteous Seradith. Shocking, I know. To lift the novel even higher is a parallel consideration, the significance, the power of books themselves, what it means to write a book, to read a book, and to share the experiences of another through the written page. I was reminded of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Book Thief. What if we look at books as a manifestation of self? Not exactly a stretch. Do authors lose a part of themselves when they commit their thoughts to the page? Is reading a book written by someone else a form of voyeurism? Just as in our world, books can be used for benign or malign purposes, books are treated as treasured valuables by some and as a form of personal or mass-produced filth by others. Seradith, essentially, amputates memories, as a physician would take an unhealable limb, a benign act, and saves the bound memory in a beautifully crafted book, kept safe in a vault. Others may make use of such books for corrupt purposes. You, yes you, reading this, you know the power of books, how they can act like a drug, slaking, temporarily, an unquenchable thirst. Very drug-like, no? How about the power of books to heal? Ever read anything that made you feel better? Certainly any well-written memoir can offer one a view of someone’s inner life, but at least in our world, that does not require that the author forget what she has written. Books change lives, whether we read or write them. For writers, a part of themselves definitely finds its way onto the page. And a world in which all books are locked away sounds rather medieval.Collins offers a bit of wry perspective on writing. There’s a growing trade in fakes, you know. Does that concern you?” He paused, but he didn’t seem surprised not to get an answer. “I’ve never seen one—well, as far as I know-but I’m curious. Could one really tell the difference? Novels, they call them. They must be much cheaper to produce. You can copy them, you see. Use the same story over and over, and as long as you’re careful how you sell them, you can get away with it. it makes one wonder who would write them. People who enjoy imagining misery, I suppose. People who have no scruples about dishonesty. People who can spend days writing a long sad lie without going insane…My father, of course, is a connoisseur. He claims that he would know instantly if he saw a novel. He says that a real, authentic book breathes an unmistakable scent of…well. He calls it truth, or life. I think maybe he means despair. I doubt that despair is what you will experience on reading The Binder. This is a marvelous read, a thoughtful, engaging novel, featuring a large dollop of Dickensian social commentary, while following an appealing everyman through the perils of coming of age, and offering in addition insightful observations on memory-as-self and the power of books. I was sure I had something more to say, but I seem to have forgotten what that was. Review Posted – January 4, 2019Publication-----UK – January 10, 2019-----USA – April 16, 2019=============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal, Twitter and GR pagesIf you check only one interview with the author, make it this one, in which the author talks with her US editor. The Library Lovefest audio is about 40 minutes long on Soundcloud, and is well worth the time invested. - Editors Unedited: Editor Jessica Williams in Conversation with Author Bridget CollinsLists-----GR list of Amnesia and Memory Loss Fiction-----Popular Memory Loss Books on GR-----Books featuring amnesiaThe Memory Files - film-----Memento-----Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-----The Bourne Identity (film)-----The English Patient (film)The Memory Files - fiction----- The Bourne Identity (novel)-----The English Patient (novel)-----Still Alice-----The Book of M-----The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society-----The Book ThiefBookbinding-----from Instructables.com - How to Bind Your Own Hardback Book-----Self-Publishing Basics: 5 Book Binding Styles Illustrated
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  • Ova - Excuse My Reading
    January 1, 1970
    This is a difficult one to review. I think I expected this book to be more fantasy than it currently is. It started very slow for my liking, and I think if it wasn't all the PR campaign and the interest that's built on Social media, if this was a book I've myself picked, I'd probably give up around 20%. But I continued reading because I was really intrigued, also the reviews are really good for this book. Sadly I will not join the fan base, this time. I confess, I stopped proper reading at 40% t This is a difficult one to review. I think I expected this book to be more fantasy than it currently is. It started very slow for my liking, and I think if it wasn't all the PR campaign and the interest that's built on Social media, if this was a book I've myself picked, I'd probably give up around 20%. But I continued reading because I was really intrigued, also the reviews are really good for this book. Sadly I will not join the fan base, this time. I confess, I stopped proper reading at 40% then skim read this. The idea of "Binding" is really creative but I didn't like the way it unfolded. At one point the text was being sarcastic, I think it said something like novels being other people's sorrows, overlooking the concept of fiction. But then, what is this book? The writing is good but..(view spoiler)[In the end, it's a story of an awfully bad man and his abuse, and a gay romance alongside - not sure which one is the main and which one is the side story. (hide spoiler)]Settling in 2 stars, sorry I think it deserves probably more stars. I'll be tempted to say 2.5 but no option. Given better books 3 stars so sadly a 2.(I've changed my mind a few times now, sorry!)Thanks for Borough Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
    January 1, 1970
    The premise of The Binding in one sentence : terrible people are terrible, and when I say terrible what I really mean is everyone. It's terribly gruesome and disturbing at times and portrays abuse in many shapes, yet I couldn't look away. For the past few days, I've been wondering why I was so damn affected by a novel that many of my friends found lacking. Yet I'm pretty sure that the sense of dread I felt came from how very realistic the horrors pictured were : you can wrap up abuse with a fan The premise of The Binding in one sentence : terrible people are terrible, and when I say terrible what I really mean is everyone. It's terribly gruesome and disturbing at times and portrays abuse in many shapes, yet I couldn't look away. For the past few days, I've been wondering why I was so damn affected by a novel that many of my friends found lacking. Yet I'm pretty sure that the sense of dread I felt came from how very realistic the horrors pictured were : you can wrap up abuse with a fantasy bow, in the end what remains is the profound easiness with which we human beings hurt others every single day. In my opinion Bridget Collins did a fantastic job of capturing humans' inner cowardice and it moved the secret part parts of myself that I'd rather ignore. Because really, ask yourself this: how would we react if we could choose to forget our tragedies instead of grieving? Who would we be? I want to believe that I'd be stronger than that, but at some point I had to take a break to breathe because the worst is, I understand the appeal way too much. You can't imagine how many times I silently thanked the world for not making it a choice I could envision when, well- when being numb seemed like a fucking treat compared to the sea of despair I was drowning in. And perhaps that's why The Binding reminded me of something that I think is forgotten too often : we read with our heart. No matter how organized we think we are, how specific about the amount of points we give to the world building, the writing, etcetera, in the end what we really do is take a look at our heart and decide. And it does not mean we're bad reviewers! It does not mean that knowledge and skills don't influence our feelings either, because they should, and they do, but all the same, reading a book is such a subjective experience. Reading The Binding was incredibly intense for me, and if you know me even a little bit, you'll understand why I couldn't give it anything less than five stars. Now if you feel like I've written the longest introduction ever and are waiting for me to tackle the plot, you should know that I won't. I'm actually pissed at the blurb - do NOT read it - that gives away a plot point we only learn at the end of the first third of the story. As much as I understand what the marketing team was doing, I genuinely think that revealing that information was counterproductive, because a) it diminishes the tension a bit and b) it creates expectations that will NOT be fulfilled and we know how often that can ruin a novel. So, listen : don't go in there expecting a fantasy novel with a strong world-building and you know, explanations and stuff. The Binding is most definitely not that and you would be disappointed. It's a character study with a captivating premise and a strong romantic element. Really, it's more about the psychology of the characters than anything else. Those books are my favorite, but well, as I said: it's subjective. Most surprisingly, The Binding reminded me of Dickens' and Zola's works in the way the dichotomy between rural and urban is pictured, with the underlying idea that the rural world is more innocent, and that the city's greed and selfishness spreads into people like a disease. I understand how it could annoy readers and I would have preferred if the comparison didn't feel so simplistic at times, yet it did fit very well the story and therefore didn't bother me. The thought sends ice down my spine. If only I were a hero. The sort of people who would risk that (...). But I'm not. The relationships portrayed are... messy, and I understand why some readers hated the boys. I just. I couldn't.Both Emmet and Lucian were so unlikable sometimes and yet I loved them so much. There's an enemy to lovers romance with a love triangle of sorts... except not really. Sigh. Okay so: I know many people will disagree with me, but what I mean is- there's unrequited love from another character and yes, I know it's a love triangle for some people but nah, not for me. It did hurt, though, because that character was young and sweet. Yet. I don't know, friends. Love is selfish. I. I don't think we can prevent ourselves from loving someone, even if it hurts someone else we love. I just don't believe that. Do I wish it wasn't this way? Sure. But there's a difference between what I wish and what is. Nobody's cheating. Trust is broken, but I don't think the characters had any other choice, and I'm not gonna judge them for the way they tried to navigate a society so profoundly homophobic. As for the last part - I truly loved the change of POV. Honestly? I really, really needed it because I just couldn't handle Emmet's voice anymore. Moreover, we cannot fail but feel that something... is not quite there. It's lacking, certainly, but hear me out : in my opinion, it's entirely on purpose. It just... fits when nothing else would have. Annnnnnd you're probably wondering what the fuck I'm talking about, but really you'll have to read it to get what I'm saying. Sorry. Finally - I loved the open ending. I wouldn't say that it was what I wanted, but I genuinely think that it was what the story needed. Many things are left unresolved, some of the villains are running wild, but it's not the kind of story we can wrap with a little bow. In my opinion what mattered was the journey and what a journey, it made me feel SO MUCH. My god. I reread the last few pages one billion times. TW: Rape, murder, graphic suicide, homophobia, abuse (physical and sexual), animal cruelty, pedophiliaVectors from : Free Vector Design by: Vecteezy.com
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    I'm starting to become a little disillusioned with upcoming releases by unknown or new-to-me authors. THE BINDING has an excellent marketing campaign, a gorgeous cover, and was a book I wanted to get into my hands, desperately, due to a (inaccurate) comparison to a book I love. However, for this reader, the insides don't match the outsides.This book has three parts to it. The first act is slow, plodding, and mired in the familiar 'other characters know things but cannot tell the protagonist for I'm starting to become a little disillusioned with upcoming releases by unknown or new-to-me authors. THE BINDING has an excellent marketing campaign, a gorgeous cover, and was a book I wanted to get into my hands, desperately, due to a (inaccurate) comparison to a book I love. However, for this reader, the insides don't match the outsides.This book has three parts to it. The first act is slow, plodding, and mired in the familiar 'other characters know things but cannot tell the protagonist for reasons' trope. Act two is a major reveal, a flashback, and the only part of the story I enjoyed. Act three is a new perspective, misery, and extra unpleasantness.. when there was already a lot of that to go around.The concept of binding memories, locking away emotions, is fascinating. There was something of a cultural clash of the rural, old-world, respect for such an exchange, versus the more urbane and materialistic -- and not to mention vile and/or wicked -- reasons for doing so. But ultimately all it did was introduce more terrible characters into a book that wasn't filled with many good ones to begin with. Infact.. I struggle to think of more than one.There is darkness to this story, unpleasantness, and any of the magic I was hoping for was really just limited to the strange practice of the binding and the few binders who could do it. This was a lot less fantastical than I thought it would be and the only surprise was that there is a queer romance within these pages. If I rated this book by the parts of it, it would be a slow terribly paced two star for part one, a sweet blush of a three for the middle, and an awful one star for the final section. There is a HEA of sorts but.. yeah, I don't know. This was just a lot more depressing or maybe just.. stark? bleak?.. than I thought it would be. Great premise. Some potential. And when I was reading it, it was a smooth read; though once put down it was hard to build up the desire to pick it back up. Overall, though, I wish I could bind my memories of THE BINDING and go back to when I still had stars in my eyes at the thought of reading something new and wonderful. ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Umut Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars. I had high hopes for this book, really loved the premise, but I think it’s one of those cases that it delivered something else than promised. The idea sounded very original; people’s bad memories binded in a book, so that they don’t remember them anymore. It sounded like it has fantasy elements, some magic with interesting characters. The book is divided in 3 parts. I loved the first part, but things went into a completely different direction starting from the second part. The rest of 2.5 stars. I had high hopes for this book, really loved the premise, but I think it’s one of those cases that it delivered something else than promised. The idea sounded very original; people’s bad memories binded in a book, so that they don’t remember them anymore. It sounded like it has fantasy elements, some magic with interesting characters. The book is divided in 3 parts. I loved the first part, but things went into a completely different direction starting from the second part. The rest of the book is just a romance story. It’s remotely related to the overarching idea, but in my opinion it was too much, too predictable, too slow. Also, there are lots of trigger warnings in this book, rape, sexual abuse, murder. This darkness and the amount of pages spent on it took me by surprise. So, I think that original idea is lost in between attempts of a bit of LGBTQ content and too much darkness. In addition, there are characters we spent a lot of time on in the first part, that were not touched upon in the other parts. It was lacking character development. Then, there was no explanation on where this magic is coming from, why some people have it, what’s the set up? Although Collins’ writing was flowing nicely, in my opinion, the plot was far from perfect and complete. In the end, it was not for me. Thanks so much to Harper Collins for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lucy Langford
    January 1, 1970
    4****This book was spellbinding and included an original concept (about books!) that I had never read before; it completely ensnared me into its pages.The tale starts of with Emmett, a farmer from a small house in the country, plagued by nightmares which in turn effect his work. Suddenly one afternoon, he receives a letter, telling him that he must go to be a binder, a job that promotes fear, prejudice and superstition among communities.Emmett goes to be an apprentice as a binder so that one day 4****This book was spellbinding and included an original concept (about books!) that I had never read before; it completely ensnared me into its pages.The tale starts of with Emmett, a farmer from a small house in the country, plagued by nightmares which in turn effect his work. Suddenly one afternoon, he receives a letter, telling him that he must go to be a binder, a job that promotes fear, prejudice and superstition among communities.Emmett goes to be an apprentice as a binder so that one day he can do it himself. In this remote house of his mentor, he will learn to craft beautiful books and will learn to create something, each time, that is unique; a memory. A book binder's responsibility is to help those who want to forget and erase memories. His role is to assist and take these memories and place them in beautiful bindings where the person never has to remember the memory again. However, not all memories are good memories and not everyone wants to forget. This novel really explored the dark side to bookbinding and the manipulation and exploitation used by those who rely on the craft. One day, to Emmett's complete surprise, he finds a book with his name on, curious as to what the pages hold...This book was completely intriguing and compelling. I loved how it used books as a way of holding sacred memories, not imagination, whether these be good or bad memories from a persons past. This book also had a sweet romance and historical fiction thrown in as well. 💙 Also the cover is gorgeous!
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  • Emer
    January 1, 1970
    I FREAKING LOVED THIS!Historical fiction mixed with folklore and magical realism, and a love story that gave me all of the feels!!!!!!!! YASSSSSS. Do yourself a favour and read it. Perfect for people who liked The Thirteenth Tale or The Shadow of the WindONE FAULT THOUGH The freaking blurb on the back cover gave away a plot line that didn't occur until page 161.... Like I get that I probs would have figured it out anyway BUT STILL! Robbed me of some of my fun so bah humbug to you blurb writing t I FREAKING LOVED THIS!Historical fiction mixed with folklore and magical realism, and a love story that gave me all of the feels!!!!!!!! YASSSSSS. Do yourself a favour and read it. Perfect for people who liked The Thirteenth Tale or The Shadow of the WindONE FAULT THOUGH The freaking blurb on the back cover gave away a plot line that didn't occur until page 161.... Like I get that I probs would have figured it out anyway BUT STILL! Robbed me of some of my fun so bah humbug to you blurb writing types. Anywho.... TAKE MY FIVE STARS AND MY MONEY AS I AM DEFINITELY BUYING THE HARDBACK EDITION FOR MY BOOKCASE!!! I borrowed this from the library and it's in trade paperback form and even that is the most gorgeous book you'll see!Content / Trigger Warnings under the spoiler tag:(view spoiler)[RapeSexual violenceHomophobia Animal abuse (hide spoiler)]
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    ***NO SPOILERS***In this surprisingly emotional fantasy–literary fiction blend, books are sordid things, definitely not read, and locked away in vaults at reputable companies with names such as Lyon & Sons. Each book in this world contains the wiped memories, most often horrible, of one person. Destroy that book by fire, and restore the horrible memory. Or, in rarer instances, destroy that book and restore destroyed lives. On the simplest level, The Binding is about same-age characters Emmet ***NO SPOILERS***In this surprisingly emotional fantasy–literary fiction blend, books are sordid things, definitely not read, and locked away in vaults at reputable companies with names such as Lyon & Sons. Each book in this world contains the wiped memories, most often horrible, of one person. Destroy that book by fire, and restore the horrible memory. Or, in rarer instances, destroy that book and restore destroyed lives. On the simplest level, The Binding is about same-age characters Emmett Farmer and Lucian Darnay, one an unassuming farmer’s son turned “binder’s apprentice”; the other the self-assured nephew of a wealthy aristocrat. Despite coming from these different worlds, they cross paths as teenagers. The way books and “binding” (the act of wiping memories and binding them into a book) complicate their story is the basis for this imaginative, and beautiful, tale. The book has three parts, with part I moving slowest. Just why that’s so becomes clear in part II; there’s too much mystery in part I. Many pieces of the puzzle lock into place in part II, and here, The Binding is tense, exciting, and eventually heart-rending. Part III keeps the momentum going with high suspense. Though the magical concept of memory wiping/binding is essential to The Binding’s plot, this isn’t the strongest example of a fantasy or magic-type book. The story isn’t set in a fantasy world that operates within certain magical parameters; it’s set solidly in reality, just a reality where memories can be wiped. Unfortunately, the story contains just one description of binding, and that isn’t immersive. The Binding is, however, a bewitching literary fiction and as that, it’s undeniably immersive. The simply fascinating main characters pull at heartstrings, and unremitting suspense keeps pages turning. The plot takes unexpected turns and is peopled with vivid characters set in 19th century England.The Binding has many strengths. Its biggest may be the fully developed story arc of main characters Elliott and Lucian, from their late teens into adulthood. It may be tempting for an author to rush through to the most exciting events or make a plot point happen conveniently, but Collins crafted this arc with patience. Then it almost seems she went the extra mile and threw all kinds of wrenches into her story, letting it lead her. It’s an intelligent and memorable first effort in adult fiction that hopefully will lead to more adult works in the very near future. This is the best kind of story: one that hurts terribly to say goodbye to. Read-alike: FingersmithNOTE: I received this as an Advance Reader Copy from LibraryThing in November 2018.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    ugh - tell me this technology is available and sign me up, please.also, sign me up for the book, double please.
  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    I had such high hopes for this book, and I'm left feeling dreadfully disappointed. This book was overhyped, and that I'm positive of. I really couldn't wait to get my hands on this. The plot sounded intriguing and I adored the cover. Lets be honest, it is quite something, and I was kind of lured in by it. This book consists of three parts. The first part was slow, and it really, really dragged. The second was better, as I think it is the only part of the entire book that I liked and was tolerabl I had such high hopes for this book, and I'm left feeling dreadfully disappointed. This book was overhyped, and that I'm positive of. I really couldn't wait to get my hands on this. The plot sounded intriguing and I adored the cover. Lets be honest, it is quite something, and I was kind of lured in by it. This book consists of three parts. The first part was slow, and it really, really dragged. The second was better, as I think it is the only part of the entire book that I liked and was tolerable, and the third part was another tedious drag, and I was itching to get to the end. The concept of binding memories really excited me. I thought Collins was on to something good here, but unfortunately, it turned out very differently than I had expected. There are no likeable characters in this. Everyone is dark, unpleasant and unlikeable to the core. Every three pages or so someone is either feeling nauseous, or is vomiting. It got kind of samey, and caused plenty of eye rolling with me, I'll admit. I was surprised to come across a queer romance in this book, which actually really made this read more bearable. This was the kind of book that I had near enough no desire to pick back up again, once I'd put it down, which is a shame, as forcing your way through a book for the sake of being able to toss it aside is never a good sign. This had potential, but was a disappointment!
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  • Katie.dorny
    January 1, 1970
    SPOILERS AHEAD I loved this! And the gays get a happy ending!!!! 2019 is treating us good!!Emmett is a sick young man, but he is handed off by his parents to a binder - a woman who can take traumatic memories and bind them in books to make you forget. She has specifically requested Emmett as her apprentice.Emmett is a conflicted, flawed but wonderful young man with good morals. Lucian is a trapped middle class brat who wants what he can’t have due to his social standing.I don’t want to say any m SPOILERS AHEAD I loved this! And the gays get a happy ending!!!! 2019 is treating us good!!Emmett is a sick young man, but he is handed off by his parents to a binder - a woman who can take traumatic memories and bind them in books to make you forget. She has specifically requested Emmett as her apprentice.Emmett is a conflicted, flawed but wonderful young man with good morals. Lucian is a trapped middle class brat who wants what he can’t have due to his social standing.I don’t want to say any more for fear of spoiling it.I loved this book. The plot, they way the plot developed, the well rounded and fleshed out characters, amazing start to the year!
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  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this was a surprise! ‘Emmett,’ he said, ‘don’t ever let me see you with a book again. You understand?’I didn’t. What had happened? I’d bought it, I hadn’t stolen it, but somehow I had done something unforgivable. The Binding is far from perfect and, in some particular aspects, it barely scratches the surface, but I am forever fascinated with stories that deal with the subject of memory loss and its consequences and, in this, Collins’s fantasy novel is extraordinarily unique. At the centr Well, this was a surprise! ‘Emmett,’ he said, ‘don’t ever let me see you with a book again. You understand?’I didn’t. What had happened? I’d bought it, I hadn’t stolen it, but somehow I had done something unforgivable. The Binding is far from perfect and, in some particular aspects, it barely scratches the surface, but I am forever fascinated with stories that deal with the subject of memory loss and its consequences and, in this, Collins’s fantasy novel is extraordinarily unique. At the centre of it all there’s a love story, which is something that should have me put the book away, since I am not a fan of romance, yet in this vague historical setting, it works wonders! I basically tee-heed when the third and final part was from the love interest’s perspective(view spoiler)[, his memories erased, put on paper, leather bound, and stored away in a cold room (hide spoiler)]. If the first part introduces us to the bookbinder and Emmett, and to a world where books exist, but now as we know them, the second half of the novel is more fast-paced, full of intrigue and plot twists. I found the idea that, in Collins’s fantasy world, novels are “fake” absolutely delightful!TW: abuse, suicide.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    I was drawn to this book by its intriguing title, by its beautiful cover, and by the promise of a story in which books were fundamental. They were but they were books quite unlike any that I had ever read. They were books that held dark secrets and unhappy memories; drawn out from peoples minds and bound into the elegant leather-bound volumes by Bookbinders, so that memories were erased, secrets were concealed and the troublesome pasts were securely locked away.The story was set in a place somew I was drawn to this book by its intriguing title, by its beautiful cover, and by the promise of a story in which books were fundamental. They were but they were books quite unlike any that I had ever read. They were books that held dark secrets and unhappy memories; drawn out from peoples minds and bound into the elegant leather-bound volumes by Bookbinders, so that memories were erased, secrets were concealed and the troublesome pasts were securely locked away.The story was set in a place somewhere like the British Isles, a hundred or so years ago. Young Emmett Farmer had always worked on his family’s farm, but he was summoned to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder. He didn’t want to go, he didn’t want to take up an occupation his friends and neighbours viewed with fear and suspicion, but he had been told that he had a vocation and so he had no choice.Emmett learned his craft slowly, under the watchful eye of an old woman. She told him that he was following a sacred calling, and she stored rows upon rows of books that she had bound over the years over the years in a secure vault below her workshop. But Emmett would find that there were Bookbinders who were much less scrupulous, who would trade in books and exploit their contents.Then, just as he had begun to settle into his new life and occupation, he made an extraordinary discovery: there was a book in the vault that had has his name on it ….The concept was intriguing, and the story that played out in three acts explored the questions and issues that spun around that concept wonderfully well.What might be the consequences of not remembering, of cutting parts of a life away?Was it fair that the wealthy and powerful were able to buy books and learn things about other people that they didn’t know themselves?Was there a danger that people could be pushed towards Bookbinders for the wrong reasons, for the benefit of others not themselves?What would happen if people who had had all of their memories of each other bound into books met again?So much could go wrong …..The story speaks profoundly of love and loss, and it speaks quite naturally of issues that are very relevant today – the class divide, homophobia, the abuse of power, sexism ….I wish that I had liked it more than I did.I couldn’t warm to the protagonists, maybe because their backgrounds, their lives and relationships, weren’t fully drawn and I only learned what was necessary to move the story that was being told forward.That story was well told, but it was predictable in places and there were too many times when I knew what was going to happen and wished things would move forward more quickly.I think that I might have been the wrong reader for this book; and that my expectations of what it would be were wrong and that the magic I hoped to find was of a different kind.But I also think that a bit more editing and an opening out of the story would have made this a much better book.
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    The Binding, Bridget Collins's first adult novel, is a book full of wonderful magic and searing heartache. A special hybrid of fantasy and historical fiction, it is a sumptuous and emotional affair which is substantial in its sincerity and exquisite in its writing. The premise, that memories you wished to be forgotten can be bound and effectively erased from a person's life, is a unique one and one I was on board with from the beginning. But this original concept is not the end of the story as i The Binding, Bridget Collins's first adult novel, is a book full of wonderful magic and searing heartache. A special hybrid of fantasy and historical fiction, it is a sumptuous and emotional affair which is substantial in its sincerity and exquisite in its writing. The premise, that memories you wished to be forgotten can be bound and effectively erased from a person's life, is a unique one and one I was on board with from the beginning. But this original concept is not the end of the story as it brings together two characters, Emmett and Lucian, in a beautiful, heartfelt love story. Two lovers that cross the class divide, with one being rich and one poor, but also many other divides of the time period. Collins's world is lush, richly imagined and one I really didn't want to leave. This is a breathtakingly spectacular read and rates as one of the first fantastic reading experiences of 2019. The plot is a slow burn for the first half of the novel, which I enjoyed, and from then on it gathered pace a little. The perfect pacing is matched by the equally perfect storytelling ability of the author; it's rare you come across a more exceptional portrayal of time and place. An utterly charming and nuanced story with all the makings of a bestseller that captivated me from first page to last. Stunning!Many thanks to The Borough Press for an ARC.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Very difficult book to review this, without giving away the secrets that make it pure magic on the page, but let’s see how we go.Imagine if you could bind away your memories in a book – once written and bound you forget. You can leave the bad behind. Is that good? Or would it empty you of that which makes you who you are..Emmett has been unwell, a fever of the mind, when he is called to learn the trade of the bookbinder. So begins an unusual love story, a speculative fantasy tale, a beautifully Very difficult book to review this, without giving away the secrets that make it pure magic on the page, but let’s see how we go.Imagine if you could bind away your memories in a book – once written and bound you forget. You can leave the bad behind. Is that good? Or would it empty you of that which makes you who you are..Emmett has been unwell, a fever of the mind, when he is called to learn the trade of the bookbinder. So begins an unusual love story, a speculative fantasy tale, a beautifully complex social commentary in  a world that lives and breathes.The Binding is a slow burner of a literary delight, gorgeous immersive prose and an utterly compelling story. A novel of many layers, with a huge heart and a melancholy emotional core, it was utterly riveting from the very first page. Gently impacting on you as you read in a way you won’t realise until you are done, The Binding is an intelligent and well woven story that speaks to who we are at a very human level. Recommended. 
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  • Christie«SHBBblogger»
    January 1, 1970
    Title: The BindingSeries: StandaloneAuthor: Bridget CollinsRelease date: January 7, 2019Genre: historical fiction, fantasyI had such high hopes for this book and I'm so disappointed that I didn't love it. When I read the synopsis it sounded like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which is a favorite film of mine. It's about a couple who have broken up and erase each other from their memories to forget the heartbreak they suffer from. The twist on that concept is that the memories being erase Title: The BindingSeries: StandaloneAuthor: Bridget CollinsRelease date: January 7, 2019Genre: historical fiction, fantasyI had such high hopes for this book and I'm so disappointed that I didn't love it. When I read the synopsis it sounded like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which is a favorite film of mine. It's about a couple who have broken up and erase each other from their memories to forget the heartbreak they suffer from. The twist on that concept is that the memories being erased are being bound inside books. Books! I loved the concept and I couldn't wait to explore it more. This was quite a bit darker than I expected. A lot more. In fact there could be triggers for readers in this book, (view spoiler)[rape, sexual abuse, suicide (hide spoiler)] and I don't think the synopsis properly conveys what to expect in this one on several levels.The Binding is set in a world sometime in the late 1700s, early 1800s, 60 years after "The Crusades." There are a lot of references to it, but obviously not the real life holy/political war that ended in the 1200s. This war which persecuted book binders as witches establishes the society as a puritanical one, painted as intolerant and prejudiced against the unknown. Emmett Farmer has always had a curiosity for books, but his parents were scandalized when they saw him reading one as a child. He was sharply struck and forbidden to ever have one in his possession again. However, one day they receive a summons from a local binder who wants him as her apprentice and they ship him off to her remote home out of fear. Emmett has no wish to leave his family, but his mental "illness" has been a burden on his family and he believes it may be for the best. I couldn’t remember getting sick; if I tried, all I saw was a mess of nightmare-scorched fragments. Even my memories of my life before that—last spring, last winter—were tinged with the same gangrenous shadow, as if nothing was healthy anymore.Once at the Binder's, Emmett soon learns that books are not just simple stories recorded for the reader's enjoyment as he previously believed. He never understood the stigma attached to them, but suddenly it's all becoming more clear. The people who arrive in the middle of the night, wracked with mental anguish leave in a calm stupor. Numb ghosts of themselves, they're ushered out as if starting a new chapter in their lives. The previous pages stricken out of existence, like a big red pen crossing through mistakes better left out of the final version. The books Seredith creates are secreted away and protected at all costs, but not all Binders have her integrity. The irony here is that she is virtually the only binder who was shown to the reader who wasn't corrupted by greed and malice. Yet she was the one who was scorned the most by everyone for her old-fashioned, so-called useless practices in binding. Those whom the world should fear the most were the devil sitting next to you at a dinner party. Collins constructed the Binding process that's mired in darkness, so much so that I wasn't able to detect any benefit from it all. Seredith claimed it was serving people, "doctoring their souls" so they could find peace. But I saw no evidence that there was anything good about this magic bestowed on them. You don't doctor a soul by trying to erase pain from existence. Through our worst mistakes and trials in life we are taught vital lessons that help us grow. As we see in the book, the people who are bound are tormented by nightmares that creep in. Sleep and wake bring them foggy feelings of disquiet that could be triggered at any time. There's no healing in an artificial erasing of pain. It's bottled up inside, silently trapping you in your subconscious. The problem for me was that though the hero struggled with his conscience over being "called" to binding, in the end he would continue to seek out work in the practice. Even after seeing the dark underbelly of the beast and how it wreaked havoc on his own life. As the storyline wears on, you discover characters who use binders to hide their sins so they may continue to do harm. And the binders who serve them regularly can't be bothered to care about the consequences of their actions on the victims. They weave through the upper class in the finest silks, garments paid for with the suffering of those not worth a second thought. Classism is a strong theme in the book. The poorer "peasants" are forced to sell their memories out of desperation, and their struggles to survive are far removed from the elite whose money buys silence and respect. One aspect to The Binding I thought was kind of funny was the author's tongue in cheek shot at fiction books. There were "fakes" (otherwise known as novels) that were mocked as useless and silly. Because after all, who would want to read made up stories about heartbreaking things? You can copy them, you see. Use the same story over and over, and as long as you’re careful how you sell them, you can get away with it. It makes one wonder who would write them. People who enjoy imagining misery, I suppose. People who have no scruples about dishonesty. People who can spend days writing a long sad lie without going insane.”I quite enjoyed the fantasy aspects of the book and the exploration of the morality and dynamics of it all. The writing style of Collins was especially flowery and descriptive. I typically enjoy this style, so it didn't slow down my reading pace at all. But I did find that after a few chapters in I saw patterns in the descriptions that because extremely repetitive. For example, until I read this book I had no idea that there were SO MANY ways to describe light. I'm not exaggerating when I say that every time a scene changed, someone looked out a window, woke up, went to sleep, walked into a room...anything. They observed a patch of light and how it appeared. How it illuminated someone, how it moved, faded, sparkled, consumed shadows. ✒︎A wedge of lamplight was shining through a gap in the kitchen curtains...✒︎Behind her the light from a lamp crossed the upper window as someone went to bed. ✒︎...red gold blaze of the last sunlight was reflected in the windows.✒︎The light lay on the floorboards in a silvery lattice.✒︎...there was a hint of light, a crack between the clouds and the horizonAfter a while when you read so many repetitious variations, it just makes you want to skim past it. Sadly, my biggest grievances with the story was the romance and the ending. The romance was love triangle with the hero's sister as the third party. It was a forbidden romance where feelings were kept quiet in the hopes that they would go away. A major problem for me was that his sister was innocent of veiled intentions and misconceptions, and inevitably she was a victim when truths were revealed. The two main characters snuck around in secret and their actions were a major betrayal of trust. In the second half of the book the love interest became a snobby, cowardly, and unlikable person. I understood that circumstances and home life caused this, but their bitterness and anger made them hard to root for. At one point, they knowingly caused a man's murder by his own careless words and couldn't bring themselves to try to help him. The story sank deeper and deeper into desperation and gloom and I sped on waiting for a resolution to it all. The ending I give one star. It was pitifully abrupt and so unsatisfying. I wanted the villain of the book to get his comeuppance and instead we saw absolutely nothing happen. It was as if the ending was hacked off right in the middle of a scene leaving you with a feeling of deprivation. I found some things about the story to be compelling, but the execution overall wasn't for me. However, I'm sure many will love the intriguing concept, so I urge you to read it and judge for yourself. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:
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  • Brenda Waworga
    January 1, 1970
    Im so glad i love The Binding story as much as i love the cover!! this was a total cover buy book and dive into this knowing nothing about this book and basically just expected nothing tooThis book is kinda a mixed between Historical Magical Realism and Romance set in Victorian era and i love it The Story divided into 3 Parts.. Part 1 about the Magic system where people can bind their memory (mostly memory they dont want to remember) onto a book!, this part is slow and so eerie it took quite a w Im so glad i love The Binding story as much as i love the cover!! this was a total cover buy book and dive into this knowing nothing about this book and basically just expected nothing tooThis book is kinda a mixed between Historical Magical Realism and Romance set in Victorian era and i love it The Story divided into 3 Parts.. Part 1 about the Magic system where people can bind their memory (mostly memory they dont want to remember) onto a book!, this part is slow and so eerie it took quite a while for me to really engage to the story, Part 2 about a certain memory that lost from the protagonist (Emmett) and more like a slow burn romance story and its an LQBTQ romance and its the cutest my heart ache, Part 3 told from another perspective, which i shouldnt tell cause it will be huge spoilerOverall its a unique lovely book! one thing that im not quite a fan is the writing style, it was so describeable sometimes, i mean i dont want to know how many times a day they drink their tea.. plus i still have few questions left unanswered Trigger warning: sexual content, suicide and animal killing
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  • Tanja Berg
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this book up at the airport on Friday. It was lying by itself and I was drawn to the beautiful binding. The sheer beauty of it and the promising blurb made me pick it up. It seemed to hold the promise of magic.I didn't really find magic. I found a broken boy, Emmet, who is being sent of to become apprentice to a binder. That means that he is to bind people's memories into books, making them forget terrible things they did or were exposed to. Not that he knows this. He doesn't know much I picked this book up at the airport on Friday. It was lying by itself and I was drawn to the beautiful binding. The sheer beauty of it and the promising blurb made me pick it up. It seemed to hold the promise of magic.I didn't really find magic. I found a broken boy, Emmet, who is being sent of to become apprentice to a binder. That means that he is to bind people's memories into books, making them forget terrible things they did or were exposed to. Not that he knows this. He doesn't know much aside from books being dangerous.I found a setting of farming and rural livelihood, something like Britain in the 18th or 19th centuries. The fastest means of transport is with horses. The setting is quaint and fairly idyllic. There is of course a reason that Emmet is broken. That reason is bound in a book and when that book burns, Emmet remembers and everything changes. The middle part is a love story in an unusual and unexpected triangle that would surely disturb sensitive and conservative readers. The story is beautifully written and the theme of love and loss - how much of yourself do you lose, if you keep wiping your memories - quite endearing and thought provoking. If I wiped out some of the things that I am ashamed of, would I be a lesser person for it? There are lessons in pain and shame.Definitely recommended!
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  • mina
    January 1, 1970
    ↠4+I finished it, it took me some time but I finally finished it. And to be honest I don’t know should I kick myself for not finishing it sooner or pat myself on the shoulder. I loved reading this so much.Collins created a world where books are forbidden and feared, where Bookbinders are looked upon as witches that can steal memories that they bind into books and all that is narrated with a wonderful, eloquent writing. I must say that I usually don’t like when there are miles and miles of descri ↠4+I finished it, it took me some time but I finally finished it. And to be honest I don’t know should I kick myself for not finishing it sooner or pat myself on the shoulder. I loved reading this so much.Collins created a world where books are forbidden and feared, where Bookbinders are looked upon as witches that can steal memories that they bind into books and all that is narrated with a wonderful, eloquent writing. I must say that I usually don’t like when there are miles and miles of description with a handful of dialogues, but here I was mesmerized by the descriptions and the way they were written.As the synopsis is selling one story many were disappointed that it was a whole other story by the end and not what they expected. Yes, it promises a fantasy where special people, Binders, can take someone’s memories of pain, loss and their secrets and make it “all better”. No, that’s not what you get, well you do… but you don’t get an explanation of the magic that’s behind the binding, and the world isn’t much in fantasy (or at all, besides the Binders) it’s all the way historical fiction. Are you expecting to stay on a strict course with the memories to books theme? Sorry, that’s not what happens as the book takes the path of romance, BUT even though there’s romance binding has its claws into that too. It shows the bad side of binding, the consequences it can have on people, it shows the misuse of power by some binders and even by some wealthy people that use the services.The book is split into three parts, I didn’t fully like that, but I do understand the point it was supposed to make, or at least the way I interpreted it. The first part shows us our main protagonist that doesn’t know much or anything for that matter about binding and through his eyes we see how his life plays as he is thrust into the binding world (view spoiler)[((and all that while he’s unaware he had been bound himself)) (hide spoiler)]. The second part shows the memories he’s been forced to allow to be bound, and it’s the part where the romance starts. The third part is told from the perspective of the love interest and their binding; (view spoiler)[((reading about their binding felt different than Emmett’s as now we know the majority of the story opposite of the first binding where we were unaware of it with our character.)) (hide spoiler)]I preferred the first part over the other two as it is more concentrated on the binding story, and that’s the part I would rate with five stars. I liked the second part for the slow burn romance that was building; I was living for it, but something changed for me after they got together, I guess I like more the buildup than the ending up together part in romances. I enjoyed Emmett telling the story however in the third part my liking of the book dropped a little bit because he wasn’t the narrator.
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  • Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com*www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr**3.5 stars**The Binding by Bridget Collins. (2019).Emmett is working on his family's farm when a letter comes summoning him to be an apprentice for a bookbinder; bookbinders evoke fear, superstition and prejudice. He will learn to handcraft beautiful volumes with something unique inside - a memory extracted from people who wish to forget something and never remember it. But one day, Emmett discovers a book with his name on it...An int *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com*www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr**3.5 stars**The Binding by Bridget Collins. (2019).Emmett is working on his family's farm when a letter comes summoning him to be an apprentice for a bookbinder; bookbinders evoke fear, superstition and prejudice. He will learn to handcraft beautiful volumes with something unique inside - a memory extracted from people who wish to forget something and never remember it. But one day, Emmett discovers a book with his name on it...An intriguing story, this book was not what I expected. The synopsis led me to believe this was a fantasy book which it does have fantasy elements but is definitely better classified overall as a love story. I think I would have rated it higher if there was more fantasy included to be honest, as I found the binding process fascinating. I would have liked the concept behind people willingly being bound for various reasons, and the history behind bindings, to have been explored more. I will warn readers that although it is written beautifully, it is pretty slow going (certain parts are extremely slow!) and at 438 pages is fairly long. The first third begins with Emmett's point of view as he is taken on as a bookbinder's apprentice, the second section explains the events leading up to the first part, and then the third section is Lucian's point of view after the events of the first part. This is the author's first adult novel after writing numerous young adult books.Overall I'd say this is a love story with a fantasy twist in relation to the binding and readers will either be drawn into it or just find it too slow.
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  • Cendaquenta
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this book. Truly. I'm honestly struggling for words to talk about it.I was so deeply invested in this story that the scenes played through my mind like a movie and, were I an artist, I could draw every setting. So deeply invested that a tragic moment left me short of breath and tearful. Of course, I have at least some level of investment and interest in every book I read, otherwise I wouldn't be reading them, but the most recent book that comes to mind which affected me this strongly is I adored this book. Truly. I'm honestly struggling for words to talk about it.I was so deeply invested in this story that the scenes played through my mind like a movie and, were I an artist, I could draw every setting. So deeply invested that a tragic moment left me short of breath and tearful. Of course, I have at least some level of investment and interest in every book I read, otherwise I wouldn't be reading them, but the most recent book that comes to mind which affected me this strongly is Circe, which I read 10 whole months ago.My one complaint - I wanted a lot more Seredith. I love mysterious, tough, maverick witch-type characters.A warning, however: this book is not for everyone. It is adult, and it is dark. There is a lot of abuse mentioned and depicted as part of the storyline. Most of the absolute worst takes place off-page but there are still some awful scenes on-page too, including an animal death. Several GR members have included lists of trigger warnings in their reviews, and I would strongly advise any potential reader to seek those out.
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  • Nigel
    January 1, 1970
    I was intrigued by the idea of this book. I enjoy a well written fantasy read. The idea that a binder could take away a person's painful memories and put them into a book was novel to me.Certainly the opening chapter appealed and was powerful. We have Emmett, a boy working on his family's farm, who is ill. He is to be apprenticed to an ageing binder against his will. Binders are seen by many as akin to witches and to be avoided and feared.The book is in three parts. The first part follows Emmett I was intrigued by the idea of this book. I enjoy a well written fantasy read. The idea that a binder could take away a person's painful memories and put them into a book was novel to me.Certainly the opening chapter appealed and was powerful. We have Emmett, a boy working on his family's farm, who is ill. He is to be apprenticed to an ageing binder against his will. Binders are seen by many as akin to witches and to be avoided and feared.The book is in three parts. The first part follows Emmett's story in the present time. The second part looks at a time in the recent past again through Emmett's eyes. The third part returns to the present time but looks at the story unfolding through another person's eyes.The first part of this book I simply loved. After reading the first chapter I was sure I would enjoy the book. The writing was very good indeed and highly evocative. It took hold, gripped me and dragged me in. Underlying the narrative is a feeling that there are strange and maybe frightening things to be seen in the future but, like Emmett we have little control of our destinies. I found it increasingly hard to put down.I did enjoy reading the second part. If anything the writing became even more powerful though in a different direction. I found it a little long maybe. I guess the third part was inevitable and possibly less surprising than the earlier parts of the book. I was not expecting the direction the book took from the blurb. It is a hard book to review without giving things away though.Whilst this is both fantasy and historical in some ways it is really about love and relationships. I really did feel that the writing caught the relationship between Darnay and Emmett exceptionally well. It resonated deeply with me. I think those who are simply seeking a fantasy read may be less pleased with this story. The whole idea of "binding" is key to this story but not the "magic" of doing it. The importance - even pain - of our memories underpins this. It may not have been what I was expecting but I really enjoyed reading it. 4.5/5 for me.Note - I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair reviewhttp://viewson.org.uk/fantasy/the-bin...
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    I was very lucky to receive a beautiful proof copy of this book from the folk at Borough Press and I am so pleased I did. This is a phenomenal book that is going to be a front facer in the fantasy section for a long time coming. The story of a young man who is summoned to be an apprentice binder is beautifully written and full of emotion. A wonderful imagining of a world where your memories can be taken from you, if you wish, and bound into a book that is so cleverly written it doesn't seem like I was very lucky to receive a beautiful proof copy of this book from the folk at Borough Press and I am so pleased I did. This is a phenomenal book that is going to be a front facer in the fantasy section for a long time coming. The story of a young man who is summoned to be an apprentice binder is beautifully written and full of emotion. A wonderful imagining of a world where your memories can be taken from you, if you wish, and bound into a book that is so cleverly written it doesn't seem like fantasy at all.All of the characters in this book have a depth and purpose and I just wanted everyone to be happy. I wanted to know what happened to them long after the book had finished, which says to me that they are extremely well written to be that believable. Overall, a wonderful adult fantasy that has all the right elements to be a page turner.
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  • Deborah Ideiosepius
    January 1, 1970
    This book is an interesting example of light magic realism used in a otherwise realistic scenario. The book is set in a vaguely medieval setting (We have pistols and some machinery, coaches ect), though not much writing is dedicated to expanding on the world building of time and place.This novel is, essentially a YA love story with the slight twist that the romance is LGBT rather than standard. The twist to the romance, and the world, is that in this world a 'book' is usually made through a 'bin This book is an interesting example of light magic realism used in a otherwise realistic scenario. The book is set in a vaguely medieval setting (We have pistols and some machinery, coaches ect), though not much writing is dedicated to expanding on the world building of time and place.This novel is, essentially a YA love story with the slight twist that the romance is LGBT rather than standard. The twist to the romance, and the world, is that in this world a 'book' is usually made through a 'binding' in which a person with the right skills writes the clients memories down, after which they are totally erased from the clients memory. Remember that movie - Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind? Kind of like that.While this was a good enough book with a gorgeous cover I was a little disappointed in it's content and in order to explain why, I really need to do something I rarely do and replicate the blurb. I always think people can read that for themselves, but the blurb is the reason for my disappointment in the content: Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.See? It is exciting isn't it? I read this and I burned to read it; it jumped right ahead of my reading queue and I immersed myself in it.... with growing disappointment...Because that fascinating description is not really what this book is. Oh yes, it is all true but it is misleading. It makes it sound like 'the binding' will be a major part of the plot and it never is. You only get about a dozen pages relating to the binding. Emmett is taken as an apprentice to the trade, yes, but he knows nothing about it, it taught next to nothing by his master except how to trim pages, clean the house etc but not much else. We, the readers, learn nothing about Binding either, we follow Emmett about waiting... waiting... waiting for something to happen. It is obvious to us, from the get go, if not to him, that he has been Bound himself and when he finally gets to learn it we start the next part of the book.This is back story, Emmett at home on the farm before he 'got sick' or was 'apprenticed' . There is no magic and nothing about Binding. This long section describes the scenario under which Emmett's love story begins. There is a lot of it, and it is pretty interesting and well written. The problem here is largely that the main character is not terribly believable. Emmett is one of the least convincing boys I have ever read. Some authors can write across the gender wall, some can't. Emmett is a 'can't'. From inside his head, we only know he is male because we are told so. He is also a bit dense; while he is represented as being 'naive' because he is a farmer, I found this annoying. Rural people are rarely dense, they usually have good social awareness (because there is little else to do, for recreation, than socialise) and are usually pretty practiced, pretty early at all things sexual (because there is so little recreation). Emmett is leadenly behind in everything that one would expect him to know.Next, we skip forward to after Emmetts 'master' dies. He is dragged to the city, bad things happen, and we speed on to the conclusion of our love story. Here we do finally learn a bit more about Binding, but only in a social context; how it is misused by bad people ect. That is good enough. But at the end of the day, this is not a magical realism story about a world with Binding, it is a romance set in a medieval world with one slight quirk.The cover description does it no favours. It is a good book, well set out, well written, well edited and with an unusual story to tell. By fooling the reader into believing it is something else, you risk readers like me walking away with disappointment, which is a great shame. I have only given it three stars, and they are richly deserved, without the subterfuge I think it would have earned more because the reduced stars come from disappointment.A word on the cover! The cover is rich, luscious and absolutely gorgeous, it is most appropriate for a story about a Binder who makes the covers of the Bindings beautiful to represent the stories within (shame that was only briefly dealt with in the text). The image on GR does not do the subtlety of the layering of colours and gilding justice. It was worth reading just for the cover, almost.With thanks to the local bookstore for the loan of an ARC copy.
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  • Kindling Micky
    January 1, 1970
    THE BINDING felt to be a unique read, within a historical/magically-orientated world. THE BINDING is about my favourite subject, books. It is about the making of them and what is behind the whole need to make a book; it wasn't at all what it seemed to be. More than anything, THE BINDING was about the binder, a young man, an apprentice, Emmett Farmer. This is a book that started slow, and for me, it had pacing issues right through the first half. There were periods of confusion in the first few h THE BINDING felt to be a unique read, within a historical/magically-orientated world. THE BINDING is about my favourite subject, books. It is about the making of them and what is behind the whole need to make a book; it wasn't at all what it seemed to be. More than anything, THE BINDING was about the binder, a young man, an apprentice, Emmett Farmer. This is a book that started slow, and for me, it had pacing issues right through the first half. There were periods of confusion in the first few hours of reading this book. It definitely picked up pace from the mid-way mark and I found myself more drawn in then. There is a slight past and present narrative that subtly enhanced the reader's understanding of the story line.At the heart of this story is a tale of forbidden love. A coming of age story that was beautiful and tragic. It was this element that I enjoyed the most when reading and that kept me needing to read in the latter half.I didn't connect with any of the main characters in any particular way. There are strong side characters, Emmett's family, the people Emmett is apprenticed to and of course, Lucian. The class divide was a key element to story and I appreciated the further barriers this brought to the tale.Overall, this was an unusual fantastical tale of historical life. It was a solid and sometimes fascinating read with pacing and trudging feelings for periods of time. I would definitely try Bridget Collins' work again.I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.
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  • Malish
    January 1, 1970
    This book deserves all the stars. To be honest it's the best book I've read this year so far. (Now some of my friends will say "What about King of Scars"?....well )"The Binding" is a historical fiction with a little dose of magic, which hooked me from the first pages and I held my breath reading the last. I love Bridget Collins style as she introduced me to victorian England where books are made of human memories by the binders. It is a love story full of hidden desires and regret ♥ Just read it This book deserves all the stars. To be honest it's the best book I've read this year so far. (Now some of my friends will say "What about King of Scars"?....well )"The Binding" is a historical fiction with a little dose of magic, which hooked me from the first pages and I held my breath reading the last. I love Bridget Collins style as she introduced me to victorian England where books are made of human memories by the binders. It is a love story full of hidden desires and regret ♥ Just read it! I need more books like this! ---PLKocham!Pięknie napisana, tajemnicza i magiczna. Książka wciąga od pierwszych stron i nie wypuszcza! Genialnie uchwycony klimat wiktoriańskiej Anglii. Fikcja historyczna z elementami fantasy :) Czekam na inne powieści Bridget Collins w tej dziedzinie! Czytajta!
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  • AnnaG
    January 1, 1970
    Great concept, but didn't live up to its potential in my opinion. I wasn't keen on the characters and I kept on thinking how much better a plot I could have come up with based on this concept.
  • Tahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/museofnyxma...*I was provided with an ARC of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. All quotes used may be subject to change upon publication.The Binding was one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2019, and so I was more than eager to get my hands on it, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have quite high expectations going into it, because I’d hyped it up so much. And I’m Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/museofnyxma...*I was provided with an ARC of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. All quotes used may be subject to change upon publication.The Binding was one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2019, and so I was more than eager to get my hands on it, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have quite high expectations going into it, because I’d hyped it up so much. And I’m pleased to say that it didn’t disappoint at all. From start to finish this was just, a clever book! The whole premise of the book is so imaginative and immediately intrigued me, it’s such a mind blowing concept, that is as terrific as it is scary. The book is split into three parts, which I think really did the story justice and made it more frighteningly realistic, it also brilliantly aided the turning points in the book. When I came to a new part, I would be filled with such nervousness and anticipation, because the book was so cleverly divided into these sections, that something monumental had always just occurred before the next part began. It has to be the most impactful use of dividing a book into parts that I’ve come across! Each part offered something very different from the others, with there even being a shift in point of view for one of them – which was most intriguing, but each part followed the other so beautifully, this is a prime example of how the structure of a book can impact its overall success.The writing in this was phenomenal and I cannot even count how many bits I highlighted. Bridget Collins just has a beautiful and haunting way of describing emotions, characters, just everything. My favourite writing is writing that makes you immediately feel something, and I didn’t just read this book, I felt my whole way through it, I was afraid, upset, excited, regretful, angry, hopeful. You didn’t have a choice or say in whether you felt something, with everything being described so incredibly well, “He was afraid. The realisation took me by surprise. For an instant I saw past my own resentment. He was as frightened and miserable as anyone I’d ever met. He was desperate. He stank of it, like fever. But I couldn’t pity him, because there was something else, too, in the way he looked at me. Hatred. He seemed to hate me.” The characters were also incredible, to the point where I either fully loved a character or hated them beyond comprehension. Even though I had such a variation in my feelings towards these characters, I can still appreciate how greatly crafted they were in order to make me feel so strongly. Emmett Farmer is a precious, but feisty little thing, ‘I’m the witch’s apprentice. Who the hell are you?’, and I adore him deeply and offer no mercy for anyone who hurts him.Another standout thing about The Binding for me, is everything to do with binding. The author invented so many different creative aspects to binding, that were fascinating and really made me buy into this world she has created. There were different moral codes that different types of binders followed, one binder created the books by hand and saw this as sacred, whereas another had a team to do it for them. There were also some who traded bindings of people both dead and alive, the latter being illegal, for profit,‘It’s the binding that matters. The craft of it, the dignity. Say a woman comes to me for a book. I make a book for her. For her, you understand? Not to be gawped at by strangers…There are binders who only think to turn a profit, who care about nothing but their bank balance, who, yes, sell books.’ Some people even sold their own memories, both good and bad, in order to make money. The binders themselves faced great prejudice from others, being accused of witchcraft and dark magic, ‘We’ve been called witches since the beginning of time. Word-cunning, they used to call it – of a piece with invoking demons … We were burned for it, too.’ I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed all these bits of information, because I was seriously blown away. I find it so rewarding when there are different layers to a concept in a fantasy book, it’s so thrilling to learn something new as you go along.This book is quite a hard one to review without giving away any spoilers, but I’ll try my best to not be too vague, or give away too much. Like I mentioned, the book is split into parts; Part 1: Emmett’s present life after the binding where he is still in the dark,“I knew that I’d collapsed after midsummer, because Ma had told me so, and that I’d been on the way home from Castleford; but no one had explained where I’d been, or what had happened.”, Part 2: Emmett’s book/memories, and Part 3: The events after he finds his book (the present). Part 1 mainly detailed Emmett’s life on the farm with his family and the initial summoning of him by the binder Seredith, ‘We’re not sending you away. She’s asking for you.’, his arrival at the bindery, his life there learning about what it means to be a binder,‘Memories ,’ she said, at last. ‘Not people, Emmett. We take memories and bind them. Whatever people can’t bear to remember . Whatever they can’t live with. We take those memories and put them where they can’t do any more harm. That’s all books are.’, and ultimately finding a place where he feels he belongs, with work that he can actually do, “I hadn’t belonged anywhere for so long, and now this room, with its smell of leather and glue, welcomed me.”In Part 2 we are flung into the past as we essentially devour all the memories that Emmett had lost in his binding, this was the most interesting section for me as I just didn’t know what I was going to find within the pages of Emmett’s book. It’s natural to assume that the memories concealed in the book were very bad, however, what we find there is far more complex than being just good or bad. If I had to choose a favourite section, I’d probably have to choose part 2, because it contained some of the happier parts, “I didn’t know who I was any more. I was new, I was a stranger…I had never been so happy. I didn’t know it was possible”, and it was very informative in regards to Emmett’s life before his book, which I was desperate for. It was very bittersweet to find out what had led to his binding and the memories that he’d lost because of it. This whole section was so surprising and not what I expected at all, but it was fantastic and felt like some sort of reprieve from Emmett’s dreary present.I was so anxious to read part 3 and was even hesitant to start it, as I had so many hopes for what I wanted to happen and there was just a general sense of urgency and fragile hope that surrounded it, that I felt on edge the whole time. It also introduced one of the most horrific characters that I’ve had the displeasure of encountering, I honestly hated this man with every fiber of my being. He was just vile and seriously made my skin crawl. Through this character though, we got to see just how scary the idea of being able to take people’s memories away can be, it truly made me sick to my stomach, and yet I couldn’t help but marvel at how clever the author was to think of someone abusing the art of binding in this way, ‘it’s a double pleasure for him, to read the story from inside her head and then do it all again as if he’s never touched her before.’ This final part of the book took us on a wild ride indeed, but I’m more than pleased about how it ended, although my poor heart could of done with it happening a lot sooner. My immediate thought after I finished it though, was that I already missed these characters and would gladly read anything more about them (probably not going to happen, but still), because they are both my babies. I can’t wait to read this again at some point, as hindsight would allow me to appreciate the earlier parts that much more.This is without a doubt one of the most beautifully written, imaginative and well structured books I’ve read. Every aspect of this novel speaks to the authors obvious intelligence – from concept to characters. It is a very unique story that is likely to stick with people long after they’ve read that final sentence, even if it’s just missing them like me, or marveling at the sheer genius of it all. Despite being so deliciously detailed, this is also one of the easiest books I’ve read, I literally floated through it, because it was that well written. As much as this is a story about the power of books and memories, this is a story about forbidden love, family, secrets, second chances, power, morals and understanding oneself. This was harrowing at times, but was also filled with the purest hope and the sweetest romance, “After a long time he reached out and brushed my cheek with the back of his knuckles; and something in the gesture made my heart turn over as much as anything else he’d done that afternoon.”, and is definitely a book that I think everyone should experience.
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  • Skye ~ A Court of Binge Reading
    January 1, 1970
    ***Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review***Guess who stayed up until 3 am reading this book? If you guessed me, then you would be correct. The Binding is everything I expected and more. Quite honestly, this book is unlike any other I have ever read.At its core, this book is about love and the power of choice. You see, binders have the power to take memories--good, bad, happy or sad--from an individual. After they take their memories, t ***Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review***Guess who stayed up until 3 am reading this book? If you guessed me, then you would be correct. The Binding is everything I expected and more. Quite honestly, this book is unlike any other I have ever read.At its core, this book is about love and the power of choice. You see, binders have the power to take memories--good, bad, happy or sad--from an individual. After they take their memories, the memories are bound into a book. Once the binding is complete, the person will forget the memories they put into the book. However, it’s incredibly important that the book is kept in a safe place. Otherwise, others can read and relive that person's memories for eternity. If the book happens to be destroyed, then the memories will return to the individual whether they like it or not. Emmett is our main character. He's lived a relatively simple life on his family's farm. His knowledge of books and bindings are extremely limited. All he knows is that his parents fear books. So, you can imagine Emmett's surprise when his family ships him off to be an apprentice to a binder. As Emmett begins to learn the craft of binding, he starts to realize that there is a lot he doesn't know--about the world and himself. Now, it's up to Emmett to figure out who he truly is and what kind of binder he wishes to be. Bridget Collins has truly outdone herself. This book is nothing short of spellbinding--no pun intended. She weaves a story full of grief, heartache, and hope. I have no doubt that this story will stick with me for the rest of my life. The characters and their pain are so incredibly realistic and raw. It's almost as if Collins is a binder like those in her book. She captures the essence of love perfectly and leaves you asking yourself, "how far would you go for the people you love?". Lastly, I have seen a few reviews complaining about the slow pace of this book. This book is told in 3 parts and part 1 is laying down the foundation and roots for this story. Once you get past that the story truly blossoms in the best possible way. I encourage everyone to give this book a shot especially if you are a fan of adult historical books. The pacing of this book is different than a YA book, so if you aren't a fan of adult books then this may not be the book for you. But, I encourage you to try it out anyway!
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