The Betrayals - Bridget Collins
"If everything in your life was based on a lie. Would you risk it all to tell the truth?
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…"
TW/CW: sexism, religious persecution, bullying, suicide
I received The Betrayals by Bridget Collins for free on NetGalley by Harper Collins UK, Harper Fiction in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Bridget Collins, Harper Collins UK, Harper Fiction and NetGalley for this early copy! The Betrayals will be published on the 12th November 2020 and will be available on GoodReads, Amazon, Waterstones and Bookshop.
* The Bookshop link is an affiliate link which means that at no cost to you I will earn a commission if you make a purchase through the link :) *
I've been so excited for The Betrayals, I couldn't believe it when my request was approved on NetGalley! I absolutely adored The Binding by Bridget Collins and when I saw she had a new book coming out I preordered it straight away! Being able to read it early has been so lovely and I can't wait to reread it when my copy comes.
A quick note before I dive in - The Betrayals was inspired by another book called The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse which I haven't had the opportunity to read yet. I didn't realise this when I started reading but it didn't affect my enjoyment or understanding of the book at all! You don't need to know about the other book at all to be able to read this amazing story but it does offer an opportunity for further research into a very interesting concept and you all know how much I love that! Thank you to Bridget Collins for the book recommendation, after reading your incredible story I am very excited to add it to my TBR!
In The Betrayals we follow four view points throughout the story - The Rat, Magister Ludi, Leo Martin and Leo's diary from when he was a student at the Montverre. The change in POV's was really well done throughout the book, I'm usually a little bit wary of books with multiple POV's but these were seamless and easy to follow!
The Rat is a fly on the wall character, she observes what is going on but is always on the outside and hidden. I really enjoyed this character and I thought it was such an interesting choice especially as she is one of our main POV's. She was shrouded in so much of her own mystery and I liked seeing how her life tied in with the plot and with the other characters.
Leo is an ex-politician dreaming of his old life. After disagreeing with the Prime Minister over a new bill and ultimately losing his government job he is forced to retire back to his old school - Montverre. Whilst there he is going to be confronted with memories that he'd rather forget and is going to have to come to terms with the kind of person he is.
Magister Claire Dryden is the first female Magister Ludi at Montverre, a school which typically only let men and boys enter the hallowed halls. She's determined to prove herself and show that women are smarter than they are given credit for but she quickly learns that she has to work ten times harder to even be acknowledged by the men at the school. She's not keen on Leo being admitted back into the school and there is a sense that she has some of her own secrets that she wants to keep hidden.
The worldbuilding is spectacular and I loved the Orwellian themes throughout the book with 'The Party' who have lots of power and are trying their best to grab even more control over individuals all over the country. Montverre was a really intriguing setting and the descriptions were so tangible the reader could almost be walking along the halls with the students or in the alcoves alongside The Rat. I love that feeling of being so immersed into a story that you could be there yourself, it definitely adds something even more special to the experience.
I love Bridget Collins' writing, especially the way that she draws the reader in and makes them not want to leave until they find out what happens next. Just like in The Binding, the lyrical prose is easy to get swept up in and offers itself in the form of a puzzle waiting for the reader to unravel. It is an amazing journey and when everything ties together it is magical and so satisfying. Plus the concepts that she creates are so unique and mind-bending, it's impossible not to fall in love with her books. I would love to be able to write a story like Bridget Collins one day!
The Betrayals is a fantastic, brilliant and mesmerising story that you won't want to put down! Thank you so much to Bridget Collins, Harper Collins UK, Harper Fiction and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this early copy, I loved it!
Bridget Collins trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after reading English at King's College, Cambridge. She is the author of seven acclaimed books for young adults and has had two plays produced, one at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Binding, her first adult novel, was a No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller.