Cover Image: The Betrayals

The Betrayals

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Member Reviews

This was a slow and difficult read for me. The atmosphere defintely had something, a vibe enticing the reader in but the execution was slow and fuzzy at times. I didn't love this but I appreciated some of the elements of the story and characters. 

The narration was good.
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Esta es una novela que tiene muchas similitudes en cuanto a ambientación y ritmo con 'El encuadernador', novela que levantó pasiones y bostezos a partes iguales. En mi caso, esta nueva novela de Bridget Collins me ha resultado algo más desequilibrada que aquella, en parte porque la primera mitad de la novela es extremadamente lenta. La segunda mitad, sin embargo, me animó a terminar su lectura.

El personaje principal vuelve a Montverre, donde se sitúa un exclusivo colegio donde sus alumnos aprenden el grand jeu, una especie de juego que surge de las matemáticas y la música y cuya lógica nunca termina por explicarse en el libro. Allí regresa Léo Martin, quien consiguió una medalla de oro en el pasado. A su llegada se encuentra un colegio muy cambiado. La nueva Magister Ludi, una gran maestra, le trae recuerdos de lo que alli pasó en el pasado. La novela se mueve entre el pasado y el presente para, en realidad, contarnos dos historias de amor que, sin embargo, se relacionan directamente y se ven alteradas por lo que sucedió en el pasado.

La primera mitad de la novela es muy similar a las miles de novelas de jóvenes en un colegio exclusivo cerrado. Amores, sospechas, exámenes, bullying, etc. Nada nuevo ni especial. Es a partir de la mitad cuando la traición que da título a la novela en castellano (en inglés se llama 'Las traiciones', en plural) se descubre y eso da lugar a contra-traiciones que te llevan hasta el final del libro.

La historia no tiene un componente fantástico, más allá de situarse en un mundo que no parece el nuestro. Sin embargo, no se conoce prácticamente nada de lo que sucede fuera de las paredes de Montverre. De hecho, lo poco que sabemos será a través de algunas cartas o de comentarios al respecto del pasado político conservador del protagonista de la historia.

Solo puedo recomendar esta novela si os gustó 'El encuadernador'. Y es que 'La traición de Montverre' cuenta con una ambientación similar y un ritmo incluso más pausado que aquella, por lo que no esperéis encontrar algo distinto.
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I have decided to not read this book. Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book!
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After reading and loving The Binding I was highly anticipating The Betrayals. There's no denying that Bridget Collins has a way of invoking a deeply atmospheric world, steeped in history and intricate story telling. However, unlike The Binding I found I just couldn't connect with these characters, and was ultimately left feeling very confused - especially over the grand jeu. I think the whole concept might be a bit too 'grand' for me, bringing in philosophical ideas that my very logical mind couldn't really grasp or enjoy. 

Beautiful ideas and words, but not for me.
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Thank you to the publisher for my eARC copy of this book. Unfortunately I didn’t love this book and therefore didn’t finish, I just didn’t connect with this one. Not for me, sorry.
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An incredibly atmospheric novel that had me captivated from the first page. The plot was intricate, the writing sublime, and the characters beautifully crafted. This was an extraordinary novel that I absolutely adored.
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Given this was based on The Glass Bead Game, I'm amazed by how much I enjoyed it.  I absolutely despise Hesse's original.  The dark academia vibes were just lovely and the gothic air of mystery was superbly rendered.
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The Binding was one of my absolute favourite books of last year, so my expectations going into this book were very high...and it did not disappoint!

I loved the sense of mystery that revolved around the world building as the novel began, and getting to know more and more about it as the story was gripping my attention.

Bridget Collins' writing is incredible. If you are someone who loves gorgeous language above all else you are guaranteed to love this book. The plot is transfixing and will keep you on the edge of your seat constantly. The twist literally made me slap the book, completely unpredictable and gasp-out-loud shocking. 10/10 would recommend.
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I wanted to love this book but I just couldn't as to me it felt like a lot of half done ideas drawn together. The world building was very sparse so it was difficult to immerse myself in the world. The characters were just meh and so I didn't care for any of them. The whole story centres around a game which is never explained and so the descriptions of what is happening were hard to follow and a bit dull. I did love the writing style and the different perspectives and that drove me to finish but I did skim a lot of the book.
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I absolutely LOVED The Binding and so snapped this book up immediately!

This is a completely different kind of story, but equally well-written – the dusty, ivory tower of Monteverre is utterly believable, as is the horrific oppression of The Party, with its persecution of Christians and its shady methods of disappearing its detractors.

I struggled to fully engage with the story at first. We are introduced to Party politician Léo Martin at the moment of his downfall; the Rat, scurrying behind the walls of Monteverre, avoiding notice and disowning humanity; and Claire Dryden, who holds the coveted post of Magister Ludi at Monteverre, despite her sex, and burns with barely-contained anger and grief. These three main characters are quite difficult to engage with initially, as all have their tightly-held secrets and push away scrutiny of their feelings and motivations.

Once the story-within-a-story begins, revealed through the pages of Léo’s diary of his student years, the characters begin to evolve and develop and I became thoroughly hooked on the beautiful, complex relationship developing between Martin and his arch-frenemy, Carfax. I gradually began to understand the essence of the ‘grand jeu’ game that the characters are obsessed with, and gave myself over to the brew of love, madness, terror and rage simmering beneath the sedate, academic surface.

As you can expect from the title, there are many betrayals as the plot unfolds, although frustratingly for the reader, most are unwitting and caused by poor communication or misunderstandings, rather than deliberate malice. The biggest and most unforgiveable betrayal here though, is the one perpetrated on the reader who falls in love with Carfax and Martin as students – two very different boys, struggling to navigate their way amid bullying, peer pressure, pride, fear and jealousy, and finding common ground against all the obstacles of society and their own personalities. The treatment of this relationship by the author in the ‘present day’ of the novel just didn’t feel right – it felt like an undermining of much of the growth that Léo had achieved to that point.

I’d have to sum this up as a slow-starter that took my breath away with its beauty and complexity once it got underway, but then winded me with a low blow at the end. I would still read more from this author though, as I love the way she explores themes and ideas, and the worlds she creates for them.
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Centered around a mysterious 'game' that's part strategy, part maths, part music and part worship, The Betrayals is an engaging story of rivalry, deception and (unsurprisingly) betrayal. Told in four voices, I did find one more immediate and appealing than the rest but all four wound together satisfyingly, and the hints of the increasingly totalitarian world outside the four walls of the school where this is set made me want to discover the wider world beyond the game. Brooding, clever and incisive.
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I originally received this book as an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is of a physical copy that I finally got from my library.
The author mentions a game in the afterword and where she built the basis for this story. I have not read that book or heard of the game, which must be why I did not get along well with the book. It is a beautiful book, and I only finished it because I had a physical copy that I kept returning to.
I will talk about what I thought was done well in the book, the parts that appealed to me. First was the angst: whoever was feeling the emotions translated well to the page and kept it feeling like the book was actually moving. The background story of upheaval on religious grounds and how new lines were being drawn in the country made it seem like proper historical fiction. It might even have counted as such if not for the game.
The game is the core ideology of the book, the thing that everything revolves around. I would have been able to get behind the entire book if I could grasp what the game would look like. I could not picture it until the very end ( and even then, things are hazy), which kept nagging me throughout the reading. The author's writing is crisp and evocative, but the content was not something that I really enjoyed in this case. I would definitely pick up another book by the author given a chance, but this was just plain confusing. Also, I guessed a twist that I should not have; I might have enjoyed the reveal!
The story is about a school where the game is taught. There are stringent codes of conduct here, and it is an entirely male-dominated field until one woman breaks through the ranks. Into this already precarious situation, with political turmoil close by, an old student is literally thrown back on campus. This is a recipe for chaos, but old secrets will come to rest by the time the book wraps up.
It is an ambitious story arc, and I would still recommend people who find the review and/or the blurb interesting to pick it up just to give it a shot!
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Captivating and magical, The Betrayals by Bridget Collins is an excellent follow up to her adult debut book The Binding. Descriptive and immersive, the writing of the Betrayals sucks you in to the magical world Collins has created and explores a lyrical and at some times confusing game of The Grand Jeu that the characters are playing. 

Overall I adored this book and have been recommending it non stop since I finished it, highly recommend if you enjoy magical, lyrical stories.
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The Binding is one of my favourite books ever so when Bridget Collins released another adult fantasy book, I knew I had to read it!

While I didn't enjoy it as much, The Betrayals is still a great novel. The book follows three characters: Rat, who becomes important later on; Leo, a disgraced member of a government party; and Clare, a teacher at Montverre. Sometimes the plot can feel a bit convoluted because so much happens, but everything comes together in the end. 

The worldbuilding is truly wonderful. Collins is great at historical fantasy books and this one's no exception. I also adore her writing, which draws you into the story and won't let you put the book down. 

The book is very character-driven, as not much happens plot-wise until close to the end, but I really do enjoy books like that so I was kept satisfied. 

Definitely recommend!
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I absolutely love Collins' first book - it was beautiful inside and out, appropriately - so was looking forward to seeing what she would follow up with. This story has some similarities (even down to the glorious cover design, which might seem shallow but, let's face it, we do judge actual books by their actual covers) but is certainly not just more of the same.

Set, again, in a world which bears some similarities to our own but which is just slightly different (let's call it about 15 degrees off normality) this novel is largely centred on Montverre, an institution, high up in the mountains of what feels like central Europe. There young men are trained in the Grand Jeu - a mix of maths, dance, philosophy and tradition - which is a central part of the elite in the society they live in. The main character, Léo Martin, was part of that elite - a Montverre graduate with a glittering political career and a very expensive mistress - until he falls from grace by questioning some of his political superiors' more unpleasant policies. He is sent back to Montverre in disgrace, ostensibly to study, but soon begins to clash with the Magister Ludi, the head of the institution, who is - against all existing tradition - a woman. Old tragedies are uncovered and alliances questioned and, in the end, lives are changed for ever.
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I really, really enjoyed this book! It was gripping from the very start! Fantastically written! Would definitely recommend!
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Having absolutely loved The Binding, I was very excited to be granted a ARC of The Betrayals.

The Betrayals is the almost magical story of a school in the mountains where the all male students prepare for The Grand Jeu. 

It took me a while to get into, having put it down a few times, but inevitably picked it back up again. But once I was hooked I was hooked! Superb descriptive writing from Collins, just as The Binding was. A tale woven in pieces that still has me thinking about it. 

Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to read and review.
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I wasn't super invested in this story. It didn't grasp my attention the way I hoped it would!! But a gorgeous cover!!
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I started this book ages ago. I read the first chapter & was not remotely hooked. However it sat looking at me from it's lonely spot of the last one its collection & as I loved The Binding I went back to it. For a long while I still struggled. Set in a school in the mountains where the (all male) students study & produce 'The Grand Jeu' Although this is referred to constantly I'm not sure I was much wiser by the end of the book. It is set in two timelines, one when Leo is a student & some years later when he has returned after losing his job in government, a government becoming more repressive & elitist. Another narrator is Claire- the first female Magister in the school. There are also sections narrated by 'The Rat'.

Gradually I fell under it's spell. Whilst still being in the dark about a lot of things I entered this strange world. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book. I'm glad I persevered with it- it was worth it.
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Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read The Betrayals by Bridget Collins. After reading The Binding by the same author I was excited to read this.
Set at a boarding school, young men are being taught the Grand Jeu, a game which combines art, music, literature and more. The story changes from the perspective of the different main characters, and also from past to present.
I found the story rather hard to get into at first, the grand jeu game was complicated to follow, and the characters were uninspiring. Towards the end it became clearer and of course I wanted to find out what happened, but although I found it a pleasant story, there were parts which didn’t seem to tie together.
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