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The Binding

A Novel
Written by: Bridget Collins
Narrated by: Carl Prekopp
Length: 15 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Proclaimed as “truly spellbinding", a “great fable” that “functions as transporting romance” by The Guardian, the runaway number one international best seller arrives in America.

"A rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding.” (Tracy Chevalier)

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 handcraft 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.

An unforgettable novel of enchantment, mystery, memory, and forbidden love, The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books - and a reminder to us all that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.

©2019 Bridget Collins (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Surprising

Looping story and beautiful writing. If you can let the story lead you without knowing where you're going, and not get frustrated, this will be a real treat. Let yourself be swept away with what some call unnecessary side stories, and watch it all carefully fall into place in the end. Heartwarming and heartwrenching and creative all in one. This is to say nothing of the impressively wonderful narration.

Rarely leave reviews, but this one deserves the praise, if not just for the narration. Open your heart and give it a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Top notch!

I really thought the story examines both sides of the role our memories play in our lives. I thought the plot was well planned with excellent foreshadowing.
I loved the narrator’s voice. His voice was soothing and almost hypnotic in the way he drew me into the story.
I did think that it would have been good though to hear about Alta and Emmett’s parents after Emmett had his memories wiped and how that impacted them once he gets his memories back. Perhaps though that could almost be another book!

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing narration

Very much enjoyed the story, great concept and would recommend for my book club. Little slow in the beginning, but overall enjoyable.

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Too Dark..like a wet blanket

Too dark for my liking..and that’s saying a lot. I’m not faint of heart but this type of dark just makes you feel like a heavy wet blanket thrown on you. I’ve listened to books with lots of “dark” in it but I think what made me abandon this book was the overall boringness of it. Dark and boring. Blah. It kind of droned on and a few hours in I decided this wasn’t the book for me,

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I couldn't put it down.

Absolutely beautiful story. the narration was wonderful. I will be looking for books by this narrator again. It's been awhile since I've read a book that held me captive like this one. I cannot recommend it enough!

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Amazing!

A little slow in the middle, but the writing it beautiful and I found myself unable to stop listening.

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  • RUKiddingMee
  • 2019-05-18

Just wow

The Binding is best book I have read and listened to so far this year. I really, really hate reviews that reveal too much about a book, so I won't get into more of the plot than is revealed in the book summary. A few warnings though: The subject matter is mature and could be triggering to some readers. If you have worries about that, seek a review that reveals more of the subject matter.

The Binding is a little hard to categorize. It involves magic and an imaginary place, so it qualifies as a fantasy but it isn't a sword and sorcery story. The writing is achingly beautiful with a great deal of suspense and surprise. Books I would compare it to: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, some of Neil Gaiman.

Carl Prekopp is excellent as a narrator. At first I thought the pace was a bit slow, but his accents and style of narration add so much to the story that I would rate this as one of my favorite performances ever.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mikel V
  • 2019-05-10

holy shuzzm

this was amazing through out the entire thing no dry areas and my god the voice acting

5 people found this helpful

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  • Pup Cerberus
  • 2019-04-30

a long darkly romantic book

it's slow, delightfully slow. the romance and cruelties inflicted left you wanting to hear more. the take on memories were originally. my only complaint was that I wasn't entirely sure what period the book took place in, obviously it was an alternative history but still. vastly enjoyable.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sallyonfire
  • 2019-08-08

SpellBINDING!

I absolutely loved it! Captivated from beginning to end! If you're searching for a book to read or listen to, this is it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Belinda
  • 2019-07-31

Captivating

The voice performances in this novel were excellent. The novel took a turn that I wasn't expecting, but a good book does keep you guessing. This novel is full of turmoil, mystery, love, and magic. Be careful, it will draw you in, and you may abandon your responsibilities to listen.
Excellent story.
Excellent Performance.
Excellent Book.
MUST READ.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Montse
  • 2019-06-21

Original fantasy at its best

As a fantasy bookworm since small, I do love it when I find a beautifully woven story. This one with plenty of love, fear and depravity.

1 person found this helpful

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  • oldmanwagner
  • 2019-06-21

Satisfying if a little slow

Overall I liked this book for the well developed characters, the sense of mystery and classic ‘story tale’ motifs w/in a LGTBI framework. The love part of the story is quite lovely. However, the final third drags on interminably towards a forgone conclusion.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kevin Smith
  • 2020-01-26

Poetic, Mesmerizing!

It’s been a long time since I have enjoyed an audiobook this much. The prose is absolutely stunning and beautiful, the story is incredibly original, and the narration is something I fell in love with after the first sentence spoken. Do yourself a favor and listen to this story. It’s captivating.

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  • Cristene Wertz
  • 2019-11-15

Not bad just not what I expected

Yes, I too wish the characters in the first part of the book were more prevalent in the latter parts. However my exception is more that I wanted the entire concept around binding and binders to be more deeply explored, prioritized over the romance which just takes up all the air. Emmett is well drawn and could take another book forward with more focus on the craft and the world/environmental building a bit more.

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  • Zac Pfaff
  • 2019-11-13

This book swept me away...

This book swept me away. The story is rich with truths about youth, about love, about prejudice, about facing our own demons, but so much so about what it's like to be part of the LGBT community.

I laughed, I cried, and my whole self was taken along on this journey. The story rang true for me, reverberating notes from my own past that were oh so similar.

I will cherish this book for the rest of my days and return to it often.