The Binding Review
Author: Bridget Collins
Series: Not Applicable
Publisher: The Borough Press
Publication Date: 10 January 2019
Source: Jonathan Ball Publishers
Format: Trade Paperback
Rating: 5 Stars
Reading Timeline: 25 February 2019 - 01 March 2019
Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
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.
This book has received so much praise. So many people say it is absolutely brilliant and I cannot wait to jump into it. I was very happy that I got this book in the mail. I was crossing my fingers and hoping that I would be lucky. On a different note, this book was on the South African Bestseller list for more than two weeks I believe!
Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball Publishers for sending me a copy of this highly anticipated novel. Just a small disclaimer for those reading this review. I have received this book for free. Please note that this does not affect my opinions in any way. All thoughts are my own.
The writing in this book is incredible. It pulls you in and helps you to get lost in this tale. The pacing was amazing. It was easy to find yourself on page 10 one moment and then in the next, you find yourself on page 80. The writing carried a lot of the emotion of the book. I was drawn to the raw vulnerability that the characters showed in the writing. The dialogue made me laugh and cry and swoon all in one fell swoop. The writing does an incredible job of painting the different scenes. Each one is washed with colour and this feeling of wanting to know more. The writing enticed me from page one and even as I read the last sentence, the enchantment did not wear off.
The plot starts off slow as if it was slowly coming into focus. Much like the main character, we are kind of thrown from this comforting scene of everyday work into an impossible and yet entirely believable world of binding. We follow the Emmett as he learns to do one of the most feared occupations in this world. The plot goes through these different stages of peacefulness only to have it rocked by something tragic. The novel is set in three parts that create a whole story. We have the present, in which Emmett learns two different ways of being a binder. Then there is the past that tugs at your heart and make you ache all over from sadness. The final part is one filled with hope but also despair. The plot takes you on an emotional rollercoaster and no matter what happens you know that you just cannot stop.
The characters made this book what it is. Their emotions which are thrown into the writing and the plot which is driven but their decisions help to make the characters these well-rounded beings. Emmett embodied the character who is both this powerful being but also someone who is dependent on the people he loves. Without them, he is aimless. Lucian, on the surface, is everything a lord' s son should be. However, as we get to know him we learn to understand his complex thoughts and actions. These two main characters are what made me love this book. Their ability to draw readers into this world was amazing.
Overall, wow. Just wow. This book has taken me to a place I haven't been in a while. It sucked me in and there were moments that I couldn't bear to read the book because it was all going by too fast. The writing was filled with emotions and set the scenes well. The plot was enticing, making the reader want more and more. The characters were tangible and carried the readers into their world. This book is phenomenal and honestly, it is my favourite read of the year. I didn't want to finish this book and I have the urge to pick it up and start all over again because that is how amazing it was. Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book. This is one read that will stick with me for a while.
Yours in Reading,