Tag: Victims

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.

 


Adrian Baldwin – Stanley McCloud Must Die! | Review

Title: Stanley McCloud Must Die!

Author: Adrian Baldwin

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 368

Rating: 4*/5

 

Adrian Baldwin - Stanley McCloud Must Die!

Adrian Baldwin – Stanley McCloud Must Die!

 

The first thing I have to say about this book is that it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. When Baldwin calls it “dark comedy for grown ups”, he’s not wrong. In fact, his work reminds me of what Irvine Welsh would sound like if he tried to write a sitcom, and there are definitely references to Welsh’s work here right down to a Renton reference and a Scotsman called Dougie who gets up to all sorts of shenanigans.

There is a plot here, but the plot almost comes second to the characters, although both are a lot of fun here. It’s an odd book because there are basically two different story lines taking place at the same time. The first plot follows a chap called Stanley McCloud who’s diagnosed with a terminal illness and who makes a bet with a bookmaker that he’ll live to his next birthday. The problem is that she decides to try to kill him off early so she doesn’t have to pay up.

While all of this is happening, there’s also a second plot which follows a serial killer called the Head Honcho, and that’s kind of why I wanted to read this book. One of his victims is named after me and so I wanted to find out how I died. I wasn’t disappointed. I also read this as part of Todd and Dane’s Indie Readalong, which is an initiative I’m running with a friend over on YouTube.

All in all, this was a fun book and while it started to drag a little near the end, I think that’s just a byproduct of its length. For an indie book, it’s a startlingly well-written and well-edited work that, while it might not be for the mainstream, is a great addition to the indie landscape and one which deserves more readers. Sure, there are trigger warnings for pretty much everything imaginable, but that’s hardly surprising. I mean, I’ve read Baldwin’s work before and this was more of the same. A lot of fun – but also pretty much crazy.

 

Adrian Baldwin

Adrian Baldwin

 

Click here to buy Stanley McCloud Must Die!.

 


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