Tag: Physical

Bridget Collins – The Binding | Review

Title: The Binding

Author: Bridget Collins

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 440

Rating: 3.75/5

I’m naturally a little biased in favour towards this book because it was a gift from my girlfriend, who read it first and highly rated it and then passed it on to me when she was done. I can see why she gave it to me, because it’s a very “bookish” book with a magic system that essentially revolves around the physical act of creating and binding books.

It’s quite a hard book to categorise, but I guess I’d go with a sort of literary fantasy. It reminds me of a bunch of different things, perhaps most notably Frances Hardinge, but it also has its own refreshing feel while still observing a ton of common tropes. I feel like we see a lot of books like this on the market, but it’s rare for one of them to be this good.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot. I think that books have the equivalent of a mouth-feel, something that food reviewers often talk about and which essentially describes how pleasurable it is to chew a given piece of food. I think books have an equivalent, a sort of unexplainable sensation  that they generate somewhere inside you. Here, it has a hell of a good mouth-feel.

I also like the magic system here, which basically revolved around book binding. The binders have the ability to extract memories and to bind them into books, a bit like the literary equivalent of chugging a glass of mind bleach. The problem is that as so often happens, the magic is being abused.

In fact, there are trigger warnings here for sexual abuse, although I thought it was well done for whatever my opinion is worth. The problem is that there are a lot of rich old bastards who are doing things they shouldn’t be doing and using their money to cover it up, which is an all-too familiar story. The only difference is that here, they can go one step further than buying people’s silence. Here, their money can ensure that the victims of horrific wrongs end up forgetting all about it.

It’s pretty chilling really, and I think what this book does well is that it asks these uncomfortable questions and reflects our own world while still telling an overall story. It doesn’t tell you what to think, it just held up a mirror to our own world. One of the reviews on the dust jacket calls it an experience, and I think that’s about right. It’s some absorbing, impressive stuff, all right.

Learn more about The Binding.

 


Peter James – Dead Simple | Review

Title: Dead Simple

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 470

Rating 4/5

 

 

This is the first Peter James book, and I was actually quite impressed by how good it was. As a general rule, I’ve found that he got better and better as time went on, so I was surprised to find that his first was pretty good. The main problems that I spotted were a couple of typos, but they didn’t really hamper my enjoyment.

It was also interesting because it was set back in 2005, which would have been when it was written. Mobile phones had physical keypads on them and the smoking ban was yet to take effect. Then there’s the fact that we’re introduced to a bunch of characters that appear throughout the rest of the series, and so it was good to get to know them from that initial meeting.

The good news is that you don’t need to read them in order if you don’t want to, and I’ve just been picking them up every time I see them in charity shops. It’s not a bad way of doing it, but it’s also not the best, because you’ll spoil yourself for bits of the characters’ personal lives.

 

 

The plot in this one revolves around what at first glance appears to be a stag night prank gone wrong. The groom has been buried alive in a coffin and the stag party, the only ones who know where he is, have been killed in a car crash. Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Brighton police force, as he tries to figure out what’s going on in a race against time.

There were plenty of twists and turns to keep you going throughout this novel, and I was also taken by surprise by the big reveal at the end. James does a great job of setting your expectations and then subverting them, and I think it’s that which makes him a decent crime writer. That’s especially difficult to pull off when, as in this novel, the reader gets to see from the point of view of the suspects, as well as the police force.

All in all, this was a pretty solid book and a decent start to the Roy Grace series, although I also think that it gets better over time. Seeing as it’s the first book in the series, I don’t know why you wouldn’t start here, but if you are tempted to skip in then that’s fine too. Just make sure that you come back to it eventually, because it really is worth reading. It’s a decent example of what a crime novel should be and I know it’s easy to say looking back, but it seems obvious he was destined for great things.

 

 

Click here to buy Dead Simple.

 


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