The Collarbound, a review

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!

My first ever Illumicrate box!!

This was my first ever book box and I absolutely loved it!

From the most beautiful book design I think I’ve ever seen, to the gorgeous mug and the beautiful pin!

I’ve not read A Marvellous Light yet, because I want to read along with the Discord to make the absolute most out of my first box! I’m really excited to delve in and hear everyone’s thoughts!

What do you think is the best thing from this box? Honestly? This time there is nothing that can truly compete with the book 😂

Image ID: An unboxing of the December Illumicrate box. The book is A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske which is laid flat against a white background. To the left, under the book, is a dark blue pin banner with a phoeni design. Pinned on the banner is a badge depicting hands playing cats cradle. Leaning against the top left of the book is a large mug with art showing two characters on horseback. On top of the book is a small pink dragon statue. At the top of the photo is a yelow Illumicrate box with a fake pot of ivy sat on top. To the top left of the book is a sheet of stickres inspired by Nevermoor, a calendar, and a Ninth House pencil tin. To the left of the book is a small slice of purple geode