When I was much younger than I am now, I was addicted to fantasy books and craved their fantastical, thrilling lull. I read my way through the Inheritance Cycle, His Dark Materials and other YA fantasy series without a glance backwards. As a reader, I found myself loving being transported into magical worlds and adventures. As I’ve gotten older, fantasy novels have definitely taken the backseat; until recently, that is. I bought The Binding by Bridget Collins in Waterstones around 4 months back, tempted by the call of the rich purple sprayed pages and persuaded by the overly enthusiastic sales assistant. I figured I’d give it a go and if I didn’t like it – no harm, no foul. I knew absolutely nothing about it at all – other than the fact the cover was absolutely beautiful and the story focuses on someone who learns how to bind books. What I didn’t expect was to be transported into a story full of intrigue, prejudice and love – all encompassed into 455 pages of pure bliss.
In The Binding by Bridget Collins, we are introduced to Emmett, a young farmer boy who is sent away from the comfort of his family to live with a Binder, to become her apprentice. Binding is something that has a bad reputation in Emmett’s world – a magical, dark experience involving the hideous members of humans being erased and put down on paper for others to enjoy. We aren’t made aware of the reasons behind Emmett’s banishment to live with the binder Seredith – although slowly, but surely, the story unravels itself into a story of love, betrayal and the dissociation attached to being stripped of memories that define you as a person.
Emmett’s story is split into two parts – a before and after, per se. I absolutely loved the character – he was intriguing and alluring and the story itself sent me around twists and turns that I definitely wasn’t expecting in the slightest. The language is eloquent and captivating, allowing you the opportunity to delve right into the tale without coming up for air. I SOARED through this one, reading at every possible interval on my commute to work and was incredibly sad to get to the end of it. My only negative was that I feel the whole process of binding itself could have been explored in a little more detail – the story principally focused on the reasons for Emmett being sent to become a binder, which was obviously necessary, but I was so intrigued by the concept that an explanation as how to bind would have been much appreciated.
I would definitely recommend this one to those who aren’t all that familiar with fantasy – it’s easygoing and a great introduction to the genre and the supernatural aspects of the tale really whet my tastebuds and made me want to delve even further into the genre.
You can buy your copy of The Binding by Bridget Collins here: