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Book Review: The First Binding

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“All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I’ve stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I’ve called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.

My name is Ari. And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.”

Title: The First Binding

Series: The Tales of Tremaine #1

Author: R.R. Virdi

Page Count: 832

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5.0

Date Read: March 12th, 2023

The First Binding by R.R. Virdi was our official March buddy read. Most if not all of us had some high hopes coming into this one. I know at least one of the group had a chance to read this already last year and even he was excited to give it another go but with the audiobook version this time. I opted for a visual read myself. I may have even bent and encouraged others to bend the rules of not starting until 3/1 on this. In my defense I wanted to make sure I could finish this relatively thick book by the 14th. And as I stated in our buddy read discord it was 3/1 already somewhere in the world when I started!
I’ll start this review off just saying I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It was a thick book but it never felt overwhelming to me even knowing I had a deadline to finish it. I loved the story inception of this book. We basically have a Storyteller, telling us stories which in essence are flashbacks as they are being told. We do have a bit of time hopping to keep up with but I didn’t have any issue with this while visually reading. I’d be interested to see how the narrator does with this in the audiobook version. I also feel that having these time hops helped me not get annoyed with the young characters in the book which if you follow along with my reads, I do struggle with at times. The fact we start with the Storyteller then go back and forth from there worked great for me!
The character development worked well for me in The First Binding. I think the only wrinkle some may have is the previously mentioned time jumping. We find the Storyteller as an adult and he eventually begins to tell his story from a child. As long as you can keep up and enjoy the time hops I think the development works well. We also have a lot of supporting characters enter this story throughout simply because we are learning someone’s past working closer to present day.
The pacing also was done well. There are certainly plenty of ebb and flow moments in a book over 800 pages long. But I never felt any kind of slog through parts. I thought we had some solid buildup to moments that were delivered on point.
The world building I felt is where this book truly shined for me. The world that R.R. Virdi is putting together is just wonderful! From the introductions to gods and monsters to the magic of the bindings, we have a vast world unfolding before us. We have stories taking place on the streets of a larger city, adventures across the realm and some time spent at a Temple or School. All of these experiences are drastically different from each other but still connected in ways to our characters and story.
I loved all the different twists and turns so far in this story. We are definitely left with our mouths watering with some unanswered questions still. I’d recommend The First Binding to anyone with the time to spend reading a fantastic book a bit on the longer side. It’s well worth the time spent on it. With that being said, I know the second book is due out later in 2023 (October the last I heard) so get book one underway so you’re ready for book two!

World Building 5/5
Pacing 5/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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