Emmett is from a family that frowns upon books, they run a farm and work hard in the fields to earn a very modest living. After a bout of a strange sickness Emmett is weak and struggling to get back into the full swing of his physical work on the farm. His parents despise binders and the books they make, so it is with a heavy heart that he is sent to work as an apprentice in binding for Seredith.
Binders like Seredith take memories and write them down in books to help people forget the most painful things that have happened to them. People use the service in an attempt to move on and be happy again. Many in the community feel a deep hatred for binders. They think they take the essence of people away and send them home half empty. This hatred is fuelled by the illegal trade of bindings, where memories are sold on without the owners permission.
I loved how the darker side of binding was explored. Two characters, Mr de Havilland and Mr Darnay really bring the evil side of binding to life. Mr Darnay uses bindings to his full advantage whilst Mr de Havilland sells books on to the highest bidder. They felt like the most realistic and believable characters from the book as they reflect many high powered and manipulative people from history.
The Binding is set at an unspecified time in our past, without modern technology. I enjoyed the historical feel to the book which was finely balanced with fantasy without being overpowering. The workings of binding people, and how to abuse that, are well explored, whilst the rest of the world is comfortably familiar.
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.