Tag: Rich

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.

 


Bret Easton Ellis – American Psycho | Review

Title: American Psycho

Author: Bret Easton Ellis

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 390

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis – American Psycho

 

It’s pretty difficult for me to review this one because while I did actually enjoy reading it, I don’t necessarily think it was an objectively good book. A lot of the ideas and the imagery in it were so clunky that it was like being beat over the head with them, and while I’ve previously said to a YouTube friend that I like it when the author makes it easy for me to grasp the imagery, this book just took the piss a bit. After the third or the fourth long extract where Bateman is dissecting popular music to contrast it with his random outbursts of violence, I was just so done with it. The same is true with the constant references to Donald Trump and the way that Bateman and his cronies worship money as their own private religion. It could have been a powerful message, but by the end of the book I was just like, “I GET THE POINT.”

But like I said, I still enjoyed reading the book, and I even thought that the “erotic” scenes were written tastefully without resorting to using weird phrases like “he entered her glistening sex with his rigid tip”, which is all too common when people write sex scenes. Sure, the sex scenes in question basically involve people being raped and then brutally murdered and so it’s not exactly easy reading, but at least the writing itself didn’t make me cringe. To be honest, I was mostly numb to it all and it quite often felt as though stuff had just been thrown into the mix to shock and offend people.

All in all, I find it hard to judge this one. It was simultaneously dated and more relevant than ever, but the actual central plot was just so-so. Perhaps it was more impactful back in 1991 and I suspect I would have enjoyed it more if I’d never read Irvine Welsh, because this reads like an American version of Irvine Welsh except following rich people instead of poor people. They weren’t compelling characters to read about and no amount of gore porn could help it to recover. It was like a horror film that’s only scary because of jump scares.

 

Bret Easton Ellis

Bret Easton Ellis

 

Click here to buy American Psycho.

 


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