‘The Binding’ by Bridget Collins – Book review

What would happen if we could erase our bad memories and keep them locked away, bounded between the covers of a book?

I read The Binding on a whim. It came up as a recommendation on Audible, backed by plenty of positive reviews and an intriguing concept that reminded me of one of my favourite movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Since I’m always keen to try a new fantasy novel, I decided to give it a go.

Emmett Farmer is frustrated because he can’t work on his father’s farm like he used to. He’s weak after a mysterious illness and he struggles to regain his strength. Will his life ever return to the way it was? When he’s offered an opportunity to work as an apprentice bookbinder, his family seems equally concerned about his ongoing health issues and the apprenticeship. It becomes clear that books and the practice of bookbinding, are frowned upon by many people, including his parents… and Emmett will soon discover why.

The Binding is Collins’ first book for adults after publishing a string of successful young adult novels. In a way, The Binding reads like a young adult novel, perhaps due to the adolescent main characters and the focus on the love story. Having said this, Collins doesn’t shy away from sensitive and upsetting themes, so be warned if you’re a sensitive reader. Her style of world-building is colourful and elaborate with detailed descriptions on every page. The first half of the book teases the reader, hinting at the complexities of the characters and their relationships. The reader is given just enough clues to unravel some of the mysteries when all is revealed early in the second half of the book. Collins doesn’t let up on the tension though, and the second half of the story takes the reader back in time to reveal the truth before racing towards the end.

If you enjoy spending a cold winter’s evening in front of the fire with a glass of red wine, escaping into a world of magic and forbidden love, this might be the next book for you.

The morality of the book is simple with little development in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters and the love story remains classic, with a few twists. I thought the concept was intriguing, and I’ll admit that I was very curious to know how it would end, but I don’t think I’m the intended target audience for this book. The Binding will likely appeal to people who enjoy reading young adult fantasy or low fantasy* with a central love story. If you enjoy spending a cold winter’s evening in front of the fire with a glass of wine, escaping into a world of magic and forbidden love, this might be the next book for you.

*low fantasy refers to a story set in the real world but with some magical elements.

Thanks for reading! Have you read The Binding? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I’m always keen to add to my reading list, let me know if you have any book recommendations for me! For more book suggestions and reviews, have a look at my Wild Reading List 🙂

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