I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Goldsboro does an amazing job at picking their GSFF books and I always know I’m going to enjoy the book each month. The Collarbound by Rebecca Zahabi has been no exception.
This is the first book in a new series, where we follow two POVs. It’s based in a city with a school for mages, as well as with a population of a different race that is treated as lesser. There are clear allegories to how Black people have been treated with this race. One of the POVs is of a refuge new to the city, she has tattoos that were given to her as a baby. These tattoos mark her out as belonging to a different race, one she doesn’t belong to, that is treated as less within this society. This combined with her being new to the city means she is treated very differently to the other students. The other POV follows a man who is collarbound. He has a golden collar around his neck, which marks him out as someone who is controlled. Someone who *must* do what is commanded by the one who put him in the collar.
As you can probably tell, I struggle to describe what this book is about. Unfortunately, that’s one of the few points where this book falls down. It’s an incredibly interesting story, and I will 100% be continuing with the series. But it doesn’t have a conclusive storyline currently. There is a lot going on and non of it is easy to explain.
Despite this, I did enjoy the book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s engaging! I really want to learn more about the world, about its magic system, and about the people we’ve been introduced to but we don’t know the backgrounds of. The character development is strong in this book, and is what saved it for me. There are so many different characters we are introduced to, and we get to see them interact with new information and learn more about their lives constantly. If you like character based books? This is one for you.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 8, Atmosphere: 7, Writing: 7, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 6, Logic: 7, Enjoyment: 7, which totals 7 and gives a 4* rating.
Highlight here for trigger warnings: racism, slavery, ableism, police brutality, violence, corporal punishment, emotional abuse.
This definitely isn’t a read for everyone, and like I said above I think it would be most suited to those who prefer a character based read. But if that is something you enjoy I recommend giving this one a shot, I think this series could develop into something amazing!