When lives turn into stories

Book: The Binding

Author: Bridget Collins

Publisher: The Borough Press

Pages: 438; Price: Rs 599

I have always had a thing for book covers and so, I became very obsessed with this one. It was the cover that caught my attention first, but after I read the summary, I couldn’t stop myself from laying my hands on it. Bridget Collins’s first adult novel and my first fantasy read that undeniably gave the best start to my journey of fantasy novels. From creating the plot to the usage of the language, it reflects the creativity of the author who tends to be very thoughtful and fine at her work. It isn’t any random read, or just any other good-looking book, but a magical tale of supernatural books that will leave you spellbound by the end of every phase. And surprisingly, one read won’t be enough to decipher the chain of events, because the more you will read the deeper it will get.

Imagine the possibility of ridding yourself of your worst memories — having them removed from your mind and bound up in a book, which is kept safely stored away. A world in which books are therefore special, rare commodities and the stories they contain are real. In this world created by Bridget Collins, a parallel world set in something like our Victorian era, this gift is used by most ‘binders’ for good — to help mend broken hearts, forget tragedies — but like any such gift, is also used for darker purposes: to cover up crimes and indiscretions and for pure titillation, with innocent people’s bound books being sold for financial gain.

As the novel begins, Emmett, a simple, likeable farmer’s son who is recovering from a mysterious illness and wants nothing more than to be well enough to run his family’s farm, is drawn into the mysterious world of the binders by being called to be an apprentice. As he discovers more, he finds himself into a world of intrigue that is more involved with his own than he realises as he learns about a book that has his name on it — an uncanny feeling.

Split into three acts, The Binding goes back and forth in time unveiling a beautiful and compelling story. And I am so pleased that the book turned out to be nothing like I thought it would be, which made it an immersive and overwhelming read. But unfortunately, the way the story unfolds it becomes a bit too harsh to take in. There was a time when I would wonder how could one read such thick hardcover, but if the story is so fascinating one can only keep calm and breathe peacefully after they have kept the book aside and learned the end. I highly recommend it if gorgeous, immersive reads with a hint of magic is your thing. I want Bridget to come up with a sequel because I am yearning to know where the story goes. Despite being a lush read, it’s also about people who find love despite the odds.

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