The Binding

This post contains spoilers! 

The sheer prettiness of The Binding caught my attention. The cover was simply beautiful and after reading the synopsis, I was completely drawn in.

So imagine my utter delight when my sister suggested doing a read long together (after all, third time’s a charm – or so they say). Once again, my sister succumbed to her instinct of ditching after coming to the conclusion that this was not going to be a satisfying read after approximately ten pages. To be fair, she told me that she was ditching and implored me to see reason and follow suit. Alas, my stubbornness kicked in; I was adamant to finish it. Long story short, much to my annoyance, my sister was right yet again.

The concept was brilliant and dare I say original but the plot was all over the place and what can only be described as ‘messy’. It was unclear whether the focus of the story was on Emmett and Lucian’s relationship, or Lucian’s household’s antics, specifically relating to his father. When delving in to the past to understand what memory of Emmett’s had been bound, the writing started to play fast and loose with the word ‘plot’ altogether. The whole story moved at a painfully glacial pace. The fantasy elements to this story were extremely limited and the process of ‘binding’ as a whole was left very much unexplored. The story went from this magical concept to one about this quite frankly dull childish love triangle.

Throughout, the story lacked any semblance of an atmosphere. There was none of that palatable tension in the air, especially when it was revealed that Emmett had been bound. Perhaps this was because this crucial point had already been given away in the blurb (a mistake in my most humble opinion). And yet, there was a surprising lack of emotion when Emmett and Lucian shared their first kiss together, despite this being somewhat of a twist. Right from the beginning to the very end, there was a severe lack of atmosphere and emotion woven in.

To make it even worse, the characters felt empty, hollow and frivolous. Emmett as a protagonist (as well as Lucian) was just not compelling enough. His personality was just downright bland. His character after a while became rather tiresome – the constant repetition of his illness contributed a great deal to this. (In regards to Lucian, it was his constant incessant whining and lack of action that made his character quite wearisome). Alta was by no means any better – she came across as delusional, annoying and stupid (putting her life in danger just so a stranger she liked the look of may save her – I mean seriously? *facepalm*). As time passed, more intolerable characters were added the mix, making this one hell of an unpleasant ensemble. Lucian’s father was hands down one of the most disgusting characters I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter as a reader.

One redeeming quality of this book was perhaps the thought provoking question it threw up of whether binding was ethical and the consequences of being bound. Other than this, and the fact that the concept of binding memories was intriguing, there was nothing that stood out for me. In fact, some part of me (and I don’t know how dominant that part may be), wished I had never read this book.

Basically, this was a prime example of the idiom ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. Essentially it was a story about a gay romance alongside an extremely odious man and the horrific abuse he inflicts. I think the disappointment came from a mismatch of what I was expecting – a fantasy book filled with adventure and magic, and what I actually got -a romantic storyline that lacked atmosphere and depth. Needless to say, I hardly recommend this.

Saz

The Forty Rules of Love

After reading this book, I struggled to formulate my thoughts in a cohesive manner. Honestly I was confused as to why considering I had immensely enjoyed reading it. Hence, this is probably the shortest post to date.

This was an incredibly beautifully written book that explored the concept of love as a whole as opposed to solely focusing on one type, which was rather refreshing.

Each depicted character was rich, colourful and varied. The different perspectives were insightful and captured the essence of each character admirably. It was amazing to see Shams, Rumi and their relationship through the eyes of different characters from different backgrounds. Moreover, it was wonderful to see how the forty rules of love, can be followed by and applied to everyone, regardless of background, societal status, gender etc; essentially they do not discriminate.

Despite constantly weaving between different perspectives (as well time periods in history), the narration was flawless. A beautiful story had been stitched together, with extraordinary descriptions of both setting and characters. Reading this story was an immersive experience of the Eastern culture.

Surprisingly (or maybe not so depending on how you look at it), Ella’s side of the story did not draw me in nearly as much as Sham and Rumi’s side did. It was as if their narrative was almost somewhat magical, with particular emphasis on the words. Perhaps that is not making much sense, but I don’t know how else to describe it.

Despite being set in the past, within a different culture and society, Shams’ teaching are still very much relevant today in this day and age. Although many of them make direct reference to God, I still wholeheartedly believe that even if someone is an atheist, they can, by all means follow and apply the ‘rules’ in their life.

Just to wrap up, this was an incredibly insightful book with amazing colourful characters. The writing itself was simply beautiful and the story was weaved in a masterly fashion.

Saz

 

 

The Humans

My first mistake was not reading this book sooner. My second mistake was reading this book on the tube in peak time. Unless you want people to glance up and pin you with a confusing look and a slight frown, whilst you sit there chuckling to yourself, I honestly suggest not reading this in public.

This book was a pleasant surprise. It was wonderfully amusing but more importantly incredibly insightful. It was  thought provoking and explored what it means to be human, with emphasis on relationships, life and death. Although the overall tone is light hearted and playful- it starts off by gently poking fun at humans and their somewhat odd mannerisms and strange societal norms. However, as the story progressed, the tone started to shift, and become a little more sober and serious in a way with small bursts of realisations being discovered.

“You shouldn’t have been born. Your existence is as close to impossible as can be. To dismiss the impossible is to dismiss yourself.”

Even when poking fun at humanity as a whole, arguably in some sense it was rather pessimistic and took a negative view of humans and their actions. Yet slowly to the point where it was almost unnoticeable, the perspective shifted to a more optimistic one; one that started seeing that despite humanity’s many flaws, there is so much more – life is beautiful and meaningful.

How the different relationships unfolded throughout the story was incredible – with more emphasis on family ones. Throughout, there were scenes that were bittersweet, inspirational and touching.

Basically, in a nutshell this was a beautifully written book that gave a glimpse of what it truly means to be human. Admittedly, it tweaked my perspective and beliefs. Certainly it was a tad clichéd at points, but by no means did that take anything away from the charm of the story.

Laters,

Saz

P.S. I’ve jut written a book about falling down a staircase. It’s a step by step guide.