I try really hard not to read other peoples reviews until after I have read a book and written my review. Firstly because I don’t want to feel like I’m posting someone else’s thoughts, secondly because sometimes you just can’t avoid spoilers, and thirdly and potentially most importantly, sometimes a review can stick in your head. Especially if it’s bad, or criticises something about the book.
This is one of the reasons I do not write a review for every book I read, or DNF. I do t always feel that the book deserves my opinion to taint others view of it. Whether that’s right or wrong I don’t know. But it’s my preference.
That brings me to The Binding. I read reviews, I accidentally clicked on one when I added it to my books. Some of the reviews suggested the book was a little slow, especially in the first part, other suggested the hype made the book more readable. I haven’t seen the hype, so I’m obviously looking in the wrong place. But the general consensus was its worth a read. I don’t know why I originally requested the book, as on a reread of the synopsis I wasn’t overly excited. I think it’s because it’s the main character is named farmer, and is a farmer.
I had the book as an ARC from netgalley, and aware that it’s release was this week I thought I’d better get a wriggle on. Well, I managed to devour the book in a day.
Emmett farmer is helping his dad on their farm when he receives news he has been called for an apprenticeship. One he didn’t apply for, as a binder. All he knows is books are bad, and it’s not the path his parents previously wanted for him. It’s a job that people fear, and look down on, as if it’s Witchery or magic, soul stealing and unnatural.
Emmetts new master tells him she is different to other binders and he’s lucky to be learning the true craft, not the money grabbing practice of some in the industry, but when she gets sick everything changes.
We discover the reason books are bad is because they are people’s memories, that they have given up, either to ease the pain and suffering, or for slightly more sinister reasons, or just the cash payment. When Emmett discovers there is a book this has his name on he is shocked. He doesn’t remember visiting a binder, doesn’t feel like he has memory gaps, and knows that a binder needs your permission to take a memory. So what happened. What can’t he remember?
There are three parts to the book, the first part really builds up and sets the scene, yes I agree with some that in places it can feel a little slow, with detail that doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything but to lengthen the story, but it does paint a picture that feels so important later on.
For a YA book this has several ticks, it shows prejudices, how society treats anyone who’s different, and how something that can be used for good and to help can also be used to make victims and predators. It also is a magical love story that is so obvious but keeps you guessing, and wondering whilst hoping.
I enjoyed this book for the differences to the norm, it didn’t feel like it was trying, bad things happen, quite graphically that aren’t sugar coated, or made into big deals which made it flow well. My only gripe was the repeated use of the work pi$s. It wasn’t needed. Other words could have been used, it felt like it was trying to make it a little more grown up than it was.
The binding is out now.