The Broken Binding Sub #1: April-May-June 2023

It was as if they had smelled it, because shortly after I finally took the decision to cancel my Fairyloot YA subscription, I received an invite from The Broken Binding for their new TIER 2 subscription.

The Broken Binding – TBB for writing ease – is an independent bookshop in the UK, specializing in Fantasy and Sci-Fi and often selling signed books (how perfect is their logo?!).
Last year they launched their own unique subscription service. This one is unique because instead of releasing a special edition of a new book every month, they concentrate on older series. They choose series of up to three books and then produce one special edition per month for their subscription, until the recipient has the entire series.

They initially came onto my radar when the First Law Along was announced and I saw beautiful editions of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy popping up everywhere.
It turned out that this was the first series that The Broken Binding had included in their subscription and it made me so greedy that I decided to join their waiting list. When I read online that the wait was truely very long, I held little expectations to ever receive an invite, and certainly not in the near future.
But then they announced their new level of subscription, and so I already received an invitation to sign-up in March.

The difference between the first (original) tier and the second tier is that the latter is not signed by the author, the copies of the books are not numbered and no additional extras (such as extra illustrations) are included. Otherwise the edition is exactly the same, for a slightly cheaper price tag (£25 instead of £30).
So when my invitation came for this new type of subscription, right after I canceled my Fairyloot YA, it seemed like a sign that I should accept it.
Yeah, the things we tell ourselves 😉

My first series through this new subscription was The Tide Child by R.J. Barker, a trilogy of which the first book had won the British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Book. I honestly didn’t know about that award and I hadn’t heard of the series either, but the internet is full of praise and the premise sounds intriguing!

A saga of honor, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships is the launch of a new fantasy from R.J. Barker.

Two nations at war. A prize beyond compare.

For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.

Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.

Ships built from the bones of dragons! I repeat: SHIPS built from the bones of DRAGONS! W00t, that immediately grabbed my attention. This together with the previews for these special editions and I was very curious about my first boxes of this subscription.

See, here, a box with a book in it, no matter how it’s presented is always pure pleasure to receive. But this, this is really superior! The books come wrapped as actual gifts!

As explained earlier, as a subscriber you will receive one book per month. So Book 1 of this series was the fulfillment of the April subscription and I received it on May 5th.

The cover of this book is quite similar to the standard cover of the paperback edition, but here’s the thing about these series made by TBB: the series they publish did not previously get a hardcover edition. They therefore rather put their energy and creativity into what is underneath the cover.

And this is it! Wowie!
A continuous illustration of a sea dragon (?) swimming between a shipwreck, evidenced by the floating cargo and especially lifeless bodies.
The endpapers also show two unique illustrations in the same style, which immediately envoke my fear of the deep sea (the idea that there is endless space under your feet and all kinds of things can swim there, brrr).
The book block also shows a spray-painted illustration, but only part of it. So you might guess that this requires books 2 and 3!

The second book fulfilled the subscription for May and I received it very soon after book 1 on May 16.

Otherwise, the customisations for this edition are similar to the first book.
Perhaps not immediately visible in the photos, but the hard cover is bound in fabric, so not a glossy cover. The illustration of the dragon, which continues from the front, over the spine to the back, is made with silver foil. Really super luxurious!
The endpapers are again two unique illustrations in the same style and they are really beautiful. Frightening, that too, but so beautiful!

Book three, fulfillment for May, arrived a lot later, namely June 28.

But again a super beautiful, luxurious, stunning edition!
In addition to illustrations of dragons/sea serpents, this also features a Kraken!

Now that the three books have arrived, the illustration on the book blocks can also be revealed. How cool is that!
Really nicely done. The lines are super clear and crisp and the figure is perfectly aligned so that it flows seamlessly across the three books. Stunning!!

Between the standard cover that was already beautiful of itself, the beautiful fabric hardcovers with silver foil illustrations and the continuous illustration on the book blocks, I don’t know how I want to put these books on my shelf. Everything is really so beautifully made!

Oh, and see what an eye for detail they have at The Broken Binding. Each book also came with a matching bookmark, which also have a continuous illustration! Both on the front and back!

I am really impressed with these editions. Even though I haven’t read the series yet (yeah, yeah ;-p), I’m super happy I bought these!

Finally, besides how beautiful everything is, it might also be interesting to know that there are NO additional postage costs to be paid for these shipments from the UK. What you pay on the website, including shipping costs, is the entire cost price.
For me and with the exchange rates at the time, this amounted to just under €46 per book, which I think is a good price for such luxurious copies.
In addition, the boxes are simply delivered by BPost (Belgian’s local mail service), which can therefore take your current delivery preferences into account. So you don’t have to camp next to your front door for a day for fear that they will be dropped somewhere I don’t know where, as some courier services are want to do 😉

In the meantime I also received 2 of the 3 books of the next series, but more about that next time!


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