Utterly Spellbinding // REVIEW: The Binding by Bridget Collins

Title: The Binding
Author: Bridget Collins
Publication Date: January 10th, 2019
Publisher: Borough Press
Part of a Series?: No, A Publisher
I Got A Copy Through: HarperCollins India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Imagine you could erase grief.Imagine you could remove pain.Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.Forever.
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. 
The Binding is probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen, both outside and under the dust jacket, and probably one of the most spellbinding books I’ve ever read.

I read this book over four flights I took over the last three days, and hated every minute that I couldn’t be reading The Binding in the middle.


1.       I loved almost every part of this book, despite its slow beginning. It took me a while to get into the story, especially before Seredith started explaining the art of binding, but there was a point where I looked up (probably in the middle of the first flight) and realized that I was invested in the story, waiting for the unraveling of secrets, hoping for the best possible ending and everyone to just be… happy.  

2.       I am OBSESSED with Bridget Collins’ writing style. I loved how she created her characters,
her descriptions, and her world-building. I loved the chemistry between two certain characters (no spoilers though) and how she created their relationships. It was wonderful, immersive writing.

3.       I loved the art of binding and the world that Bridget Collins’ created in The Binding. It’s very hard to describe what it all felt like without giving away spoilers but suffice it to say that reading this book was like reading magic on a page.

4.       I loved that this wasn’t told in linear form, because it raised the ‘I’m intrigued and invested’ factor SO MUCH.


1.       As Emmett moves from his farm to the marshes to the big city, The Binding touches upon the social implication of giving people the power to wipe someone else’s memory. It was especially interesting because I thought that Emmett and Lucian, as a binder and rich person whose family employs the services of a binder respectively, were going to take on the systemic abuse of power and money and exploitation that had come with binding for money which would have made this book unforgettable, but they didn’t. I LOVE THE STORY AS IS, but I also wish it had more in terms of a social crusade.

Would I recommend this book? ABSOLUTELY. The Binding is magical, spellbinding and captivating with fluid, immersive writing and stunning worldbuilding. I loved it and I hope you will too. 
Bridget Collins is a graduate of both university and drama school. Her first novel The Traitor Game was published to much acclaim and was both winner of the Branford Boase Award 2009 and longlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal. Bridget lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The Binding is her first novel for adults. 

What are some of the books that pulled you into the world completely?

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