3.5 5While I did enjoy this story, I was confused as to the direction it was going The premise of binding was super fascinating, but I felt like it didn t take up enough of the plot by the end Besides people chasing their bound books I would ve liked to see of Emmett as a professional binder apprentice, since he struggled with his apprenticeship so much in the beginning.I did really like the relationship that was portrayed in this book I loved how it was presented to us There was such great build up and I was hoping for it to happen A really great slow burn this is It was slightly disorienting that the POV switches halfway through I kept thinking the second narrator was Emmett, but then he d look at Emmett and I was thoroughly confused for a couple minutes. The Binding Is A Dark Chocolate Slice Of Cake With A Surprising, Satisfying Seam Of Raspberry Running Through It It Is A Rich, Gothic Entertainment That Explores What Books Have Trapped In Them And Reminds Us Of The Power Of Storytelling Spellbinding Tracy ChevalierTruly Spellbinding Readers Will Sink Gratefully Into The Pleasures Of Its Pages Like A Wonderful Meal Made From A Few Simple Ingredients The Feeling In Your Chest When You Hold Someone In Your Arms For The First Time The Sight Of A Host Of Bluebells In Recent Years, The State Of The World Has Threatened To Make Us Forget The Simple Pleasures Of Kisses And Bluebells And Thick Novels That Tell Stories Of Heartbreak Here Is A Book To Help Us Remember GuardianIntense, Immersive A Stirring, Highly Original Piece Of Storytelling And World Making Sunday TimesWith A Twisting Narrative That Explores Humans Darkest Moments And Morals, Collins Has Created A Fascinating Fantasy World That Evokes The Atmosphere Of Sarah Waters Books With A Nod To Philip Pullman And, With A Love Story Holding Much Of The Storys Emotion Together, This Is Definitely A Book Youll Want To Lose Yourself To For Hours On End StylistPart Fantasy, Part Faux History, Part Heart In Your Throat Love Story, Its Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Meets The Miniaturist GraziaMore Of An Experience Than A Book, Written With Such Grace And Wisdom Utterly Brilliant Joanna Cannon, Author Of The Trouble With Goats And SheepPure Magic The Kind Of Immersive Storytelling That Makes You Forget Your Own Name I Wish I Had Written It Erin Kelly, Author Of He Said She SaidAn Original Concept, Beautifully Written Collins Prose Is Spellbinding Laura Purcell, Author Of The Silent CompanionsA Real Treat Gothic, Imaginative And Dark The TimesBeguiling Dark And Atmospheric I PaperVivid Magic Naomi Novik, New York TimesThe Most Captivating Novel Of 5,000,000,000,000,000,000 5 stars, seriously this book was amazing and I couldn t stop reading it but definitely one of my new favorite books of all time.Beautifully written and utterly romantic The Binding is incredible Read it Stop what you re doing and read it now. I really wanted to like this book It starts off great with mystery and magic You want to read and and totally get into the their whole world and the BOOM completes shuts down bc out of the blue the author starts going into deep detail about the happenings of gay lovers.I wanted a magical spell binding concept of what the man can do with memories not a graphic love story Too many tales in this book Maybe should have been two books And my kids can t read it and she Was so excited that it might have been like a new Harry Potter thing Nope Screwed that up royally. One of the most magical books I ve read a joy and a pleasure And so clever At one point I did have to go back to re read the beginning Loved it I loved this book and got sucked into the story so much I couldn t stop reading Great story and setting The beautiful love story really moved me. This is a tough review to write for two reason 1 This is really two books the one promised by the cover and the first 159 pages, and the one that s the other 277 pages 2 I m afraid my criticisms won t make much sense without spoiler like specifics In case you want to read the book for its last 277 pages, though, I ll try to keep this review spoiler free, and indicate possible spoilers as I go.1 The setting has compelling elements There s nothing ground breaking here, and anyone who s read any kind of fantasy since childhood will recognize pre Industrial Revolution, rural England with one fantasy twist It s got naughty nobles, virtuous peasants, a witch in the marshes, and even horses that are actually called Shire horses Stray dragons, wizards, and even Hobbits from neighboring books would be right at home if they wandered in But I m all for these grand old chestnuts if the characters are compelling and the story is gripping that s sort of the case here Either way, the bookbinding twist introduces enough mystery and intrigue to make up for the tropes Mostly.2 Characters don t develop At all No moral relativism here Villains are truly villains, heroes are truly heroes, and everyone slots neatly into their cast roll from start to finish I didn t mind this at all, since I happen to like straightforward character types in service to a good story The problem for me is that possible spoiler the characters are the exact same on the last page as they are on the first, and the story isn t enough to make up for it For example, one of the main protagonists has multiple opportunities to stand up to his demons and evolve, but never, ever, ever does The book ends with an unsatisfying splat because he s basically the same weak willed, defeated victim but with love in his life that he s always been, and he shows no signs of growing out of it Kind of makes you wonder how great a long term relationship they ll have, if one of them insists on self hating forever end spoiler Sure, the binding ritual has side effects like propelling the whole storyline , but it s a deus ex machina device to excuse 400 pages of text, rather than a catalyst for character development or even theme development So the characters end up being flat stereotypes without depth or complexity, in service to an equally flat story.3 It s not a fantasy novel Sure, it s set in a fantasy world with a mystical twist But this is a story about possible spoiler forbidden love, and as such, is purely a romance novel end spoiler The publishers did the author a real disservice with the cover, pretending the book explores hid ing a secret Forever But since the author actually seems to want to write about that in the first 159 pages, I can t really blame the publishers The problem is that the book completely changes gear on page 160, and all the promise, mystery, and fascination of pages 1 159 evaporate The first part holds so many alluring details that I caught myself thinking several times, Oh, I can t wait to see how the author develops this idea only to realize around page 200 that not a single one of those ideas would ever rear its head again Every single fascinating fantasy detail ends up sacrificed to the overly complicated, overwrought and frankly tedious spoiler romance story, and new, intriguing ideas that emerge later in the book live similarly truncated lives Nothing matters in this book but the romance Nothing end spoiler 4 maybe a spoiler The ending gets absurd You know when you watch a movie, and the directors spend so much time on dialogue and meaningful glances between characters that you get thrown out of the story You may actually catch yourself saying to the screen, Sure, it s a GREAT IDEA to have a heartfelt, deep discussion about your feelings right now Let the house burn down around you Your dialogue and soulful expressions are SO MUCH compelling Yeah, that s this book I usually make myself attentively read any book I agree to review because that only seems fair, but I caught myself skimming a LOT of the last couple of chapters Okay, also some of the middle chapters The resolution was so obvious and the path so tortured, I really, really, really just wanted to get it over with end spoiler 5 That said, the prose has some real high points Dialogue flows gracefully, descriptions wax lyrical, and the world building feels immersive All this combines to suck you in very effectively, and promises really satisfying, thought provoking material And so many meaty tidbits ask for exploration, from the Cursing powers of a Binder, and the mystical connection between Binders and books, to the social impact of power used for personal gain, and how individuals can confront systemic injustice even though they re part of the problem That s much of what made the book so disappointing for me, since I wanted to see the author s undeniable writing skills applied to the promises suggested in Part 1 Nope So just enjoy the prose and move on.Because of all this, I have strong reservations about recommending this book READ THIS if you want a romance novel about spoiler forbidden love, and have an open mind about what love can look like end spoiler In that case, ignore all the fantasy stuff and just enjoy the fully explored emotions DON T READ THIS if you want a compelling fantasy story that explores either fascinating special powers, questions about how we handle memory and grief, implications of memory erasure, or pretty much anything but romance, romance, romance Also, romance.