So, remember me gushing about The Binding ages ago? Like back in normal times in 2019? No? Well, check out my review here. And now Bridget Collins is back with a new novel: The Betrayals is almost out, and it’s just as beautiful. And your girl somehow managed to convince the publisher to send her an ARC so she could read it early and tell you all about how great it is!
Many thanks to Ann Bissell and Borough Press for the ARC of The Betrayals. All opinions are my own.
STAR RATING: 5/5 ✶
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/11/20
SUMMARY: At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.
Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.
Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls… (from Borough Press)
OPINIONS: The Betrayals has a relatively slow start. It takes the reader a while to get situated at Montverre and accept that they will likely never understand the grand jeu. Because, while the grand jeu as a concept is crucial to the book, understanding it is not relevant. What I do think readers also need to be aware of is that The Betrayals is utterly and completely different to The Binding. Both are gorgeously written and brilliant stories, but need to stand on their own. I think that there might be quite a few readers who loved The Binding who will not enjoy The Betrayals simply because the subject matter is very different, the characters are older and the tone is more literary.
Personally I loved The Betrayals. Once I got into it, I couldn’t stop reading and I ended up reading the second half in one sitting. Both Léo and Claire are multi-layered, complex characters aware of their own shortcomings and trying to better themselves. Once the story starts coming together it is glorious. There is politics, there is intrigue, there is so much intellectual smugness it is amazing and horrible at the same time. I think The Betrayals might even count as dark academia, which is completely in trend right now.