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.