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 June TBR Hopefuls!

After how hectic the end of May was, I thought I’d be a little more down low for June and only put 10 books onto my tbr (yes… I’m aware that’s still a lot. This was as low as I could get it!) A couple audiobooks, one non-fiction, and a load of fantasy. Perfect!

My tbr video is already up if you’d rather consume this in video form!

Not included in the 10 is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, which I’m reading one chapter a day of. I’m carrying on with it in June and I’m actually hoping to finish it this month! We’ll have to wait and see.

Then, the TBR jar returned this month! And from that I’m picking up The Muse by Jessie Burton. This is a historical fiction set between the 1960s and 1930s that follows art, or more accurately, one painting. This was gifted to me by my little sister back in 2016 and I really do need to get around to it!

Because I’m one of the co-hosts for MiddleEarthAThon I really should have read the Lord of the Rings… and I haven’t. So I’m wanting to listen to the audiobook of The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein! One of the most well known high fantasy books, and it’s a wee bit shameful I’ve not read it yet 😂

And for my second audiobook, Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth. This is an LGBTQ+ gothic historical fiction, and I really know basically nothing else. But my friend Lizzie enjoyed it (from LizzieIsElf) so why not! It’s a long audiobook, just under 20 hours, so I’ll most likely start this one after reading LotR.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is a longstanding fantasy series that I’ve seen around for a few years now, it follows a detective around a magical version of our London. I love a good mystery, as well as a fantasy, so I’m hoping this combination really works for me.

Vox by Christina Dalcher is a dystopian where women can only speak 100 words a day. Any more and they get hit with 1000 volts of electricity. I enjoy concepts like these, but I am wary of it being “women” who are impacted by this. How does this then impact trans women, or non-binary folk, or trans men? I’m not expecting this book to be aware enough to cover this topic but I’ll be super pleasantly surprised if it does.

Another social commentary kind of book, 84k by Claire North. This is set in a world where each life has a monetary value, and if you can afford the price you can do whatever you like. Including murder. Our main character doesn’t care, until someone they love has their life bought.

Hannah from LadetteM sent me The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake when she was unhauling it. She really didn’t vibe with it, but I also enjoyed Addie LaRue, which Hannah hated sooooo I thought it was worth giving a shot to a fantasy world where only 5 people will get a place in this society each year.

For my non-fiction of the month I’m going for Minnesota’s Geologist by Sue Leaf, which was a present from Kari from Kar-ing for Books who lives in the state and knows I’m always down to learn about geology! I’m super excited for this one and have been for a while.

The Goldsboro GSFF box for May gave us The Collarbound by Rebecca Zahabi, this is advertised as a magical, brink-of-war setting and I really do enjoy political fantasy and have had fantastic success with previous GSFF books so I’m excited for this one!

And finally is the Illumicrate book from the May box which is Book of Night by Holly Black. I’ve never been interested in Black’s books before, but this one has a woman who is fantastic with explosives and I am totally here for that. I just hope it’s a good one!

And that’s my June TBR! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them. And let me know one book that’s on your TBR, I’m always here to add more books to the list!