Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.
Magic is the first sin. It must be bound.
Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.
It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.
Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. I thought I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t think I would be as captivated and drawn in by this world as much as I was. I was also quite daunted by the size and length of this book, which actually ended up being really easy to read and I didn’t want to put it down!
Reading this just felt like wrapping yourself in a blanket and sinking into it. It felt so comforting and familiar in the writing style, and I read 100+ pages of it in one go without thinking twice. It just felt so easy for lack of a better term, but certainly wasn’t without depth. It absolutely sucked me into the story and I really felt at one with the characters, especially Anna. I would often step away from this book and continue to think about it, or even forget I was reading. Trust me, there are not many books that make me feel so involved with a story as this one did.
The family culture, friendships and relationships were all so interesting to read about. I love the undertones of lies and betrayal that left the main character and the reader unsure who to believe and who to trust. I was reeling at some of the major plot reveals because even though I had ideas, I couldn’t guess where this was going.
The characters were so much fun to read about and I loved their friendship group. I also loved how these young teens formed a friendship group with no adults to rely or come to the rescue at the last second. They grow and explore the world and their own mistakes with little to no intervention, which made the whole story feel more tangible and authentic. For the most part, this story is set in the world as we know it, and is very much an urban fantasy. However, it includes vivid and almost psychedelic aspects that I just loved and could picture so beautifully. I adored the London setting with the magical additions of libraries and clubs. It was all so intricate and cleverly written!
Although the plot is, for the most part, quite slow and sprawling, I really loved the pacing. It felt almost reminiscent of other favourite authors of mine such as V.E. Schwab and Erin Morgenstern, with such a location and character driven story which I really enjoy. I also felt the witchcraft felt authentic and well written, as well as working as a plot device.
I honestly enjoyed this book so much and it was a really pleasant surprise for me. I’m really looking forward to book two and seeing where this story ends up going!
4.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽