Review: The Binding by Bridget Collins

Imagine you could erase your grief.

Imagine you could forget your pain.

Imagine you could hide a secret.


Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books and memories are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.

Firstly I have to say that the cover for this book is absolutely gorgeous, I read an e-version and it even looked lovely on my kindle.

The story itself was hugely enjoyable even if it wasn’t exactly what I had expected from it. I went into this book expecting a ‘traditional’ fantasy novel, what it actually was tended more towards magical realism.

The characterisation in this novel was its major strong point. Emmett particularly pulled me in and sparked my curiosity. I needed to know his story, he was fragile, stubborn, sheltered, hard working and stronger than he knew. His capacity to love was in itself loveable.

I would have loved to see more of the binding process itself. As a system of ‘magic’ it was intriguing and not an idea I’d come across before. I wanted to experience more of it and felt that if anything was missing from this book then it was that element.

Overall this was an interesting and gripping novel, but with a little less ‘fantasy’ than I expected.

With thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins for a copy in exchange for honest review.