May 29, 2020forbesrachel rated this title 4.5 out of 5 stars
If there was a memory that could break you, would you want to forget? If you could how would its absence change you? Through a love that a society can't accept, and through different perspectives, The Binding questions even more. When do the ties of family become chains? Does "commercializing" someone's memory even respect them? Much like the lives of Emmett and Lucian, the story doesn't exactly end up where we expected it to, and yet the payoff is much more satisfying. Emmett doesn't know that he has forgotten something, and unfortunately the process by which this was done is killing him. Whether he agrees with it or not, Emmett is a binder and he is forced to take up an apprenticeship. It is a quiet life, but this fake peace unravels with each gradually added piece. The first hint of the forgotten story comes when another young man visits. Lucian comes from a wealthy, controlling family, but there was one summer where he found love. Betrayal leads him to make a decision he despises though. Just as much as this is a story about memory, it is also about the power of bonds. Collins' first adult fiction title bares some hallmarks of her YA roots; the book is told by both Emmett and Lucian, and identity is a central theme. For this reason, many teens will also enjoy it. While the first half runs at a steady pace, it is quiet with an undercurrent of tension from the questions, the second balances it with plenty of character development, plot movement, and romance. This structure also mimics and enhances the content; the faux life hides reality. Readers will be intrigued and absorbed by both parts. Maybe there are some memories which should be forgotten, but there are others which should never ever.