On the other side of the Shadowpass, rebellion is brewing and refugees have begun to trickle into the city at the edge of the world. Looming high on the cliff is The Nest, a fortress full of mages who offer protection, but also embody everything the rebellion is fighting against: a strict hierarchy based on magic abilities, and the oppression of the Kher community.
When Isha arrives as a refugee, she attempts to fit in amongst the other mages, but her Kher tattoo brands her as an outcast. She can’t remember her past or why she has the tattoo. All she knows is that she survived. She doesn’t intend to give up now.
Tatters, who wears the golden collar of a slave, knows that this rebellion is different from past skirmishes. He was once one of the rebels, fought beside them, and technically, they still own him. He plans to stay in the shadows, until Isha appears in his tavern. He’s never seen a human with a tattoo, and the markings look eerily familiar. Despite his fear of being discovered, Tatters decides to help her.
As the rebellion carves a path of destruction towards the city, The Collarbound follows an unlikely friendship between a man trying to escape his past and a woman trying to uncover hers, until their secrets threaten to tear them apart.
The Collarbound is a fiercely gripping fantasy tale that’s full to the brim with magic and mystery. Set in a world that has been torn apart by rebellion, we follow Isha as she arrives at The Nest as a refugee. Isha does what she can to fit in, but she has no idea what happened in her past or where her tattoo came from. Meanwhile, Tatters is one of the collarbound and knows the danger of rebellion. Whilst he’s determined to stay away from things, he can’t help but be drawn to Isha and the mystery that surrounds her. Together the two form an unlikely friendship as they seek to survive the rebellion and the secrets of their past.
The Collarbound is the kind of book that draws you in right from the very beginning. This is quite a slow burn story, one that slowly builds tension as we learn more and more. I found I was thinking about the book even when I wasn’t reading it and it kept me intrigued and wanting more. I often felt on the edge of my seat, dying to know what was going on. Zahabi does a brilliant job of keeping the reader guessing, making for a really engaging read.
Zahabi has created a really fascinating world in The Collarbound and it felt like such a compelling setting. The worldbuilding felt well crafted and I loved learning about the mages and the khers. I sort of feel like I’ve only scratched the surface and can’t wait to see more of the world in the sequel. I thought the concept of mindbrawling was so fascinating and something I haven’t seen before. Similarly, Zahabi has a knack for creating really interesting, dynamic characters. Both Tatters and Isha were really compelling characters and I enjoyed seeing their friendship develop. I also really liked Arushi and her family.
The Collarbound is a brilliant, engaging story, unlike anything I’ve read before. If you’re looking for a slow burn fantasy story that will have you reading long into the night, this should definitely be on your to read list.