• The First Binding

  • Tales of Tremaine
  • By: R.R. Virdi
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 41 hrs and 18 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (217 ratings)

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The First Binding  By  cover art

The First Binding

By: R.R. Virdi
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
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Publisher's summary

All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I've stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I've called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.

My name is Ari.

And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Books.

©2022 R.R. Virdi (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The First Binding

Average customer ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Am I reading the wrong book?

This book has the cringiest dialog and the most outdated gender tropes— I’ve been seriously feeling like I’m reading a different book than the positive reviews. No one has yet mentioned that it is extremely cheesy, pointlessly detailed and reads like a parody of a fantasy novel so I will. Save your credit! DNF after 2 hours.

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18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stories within stories.

I love this format. No, it's not new which is why this one is so compelling. I was stepped in a fantastic place that was completely familiar. I give 5 stars when a novel taps me on the shoulder and says "Hey, come on in. Join me.". I want to know these characters. I want to sit and have tea with them and tell each other stories. Well done.

The narration is amazing. Vikas performance adds so much to the flavor of this addition to the fantasy genre and I cannot imagine Ari without his voice.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I didn't realize you could plagarize so freely!

In the spirit of fairness, I'll start by addressing the book on its own merits: it's fine. I've recommended worse books, and this one is fine, if derivative. The world is interesting, and it's a shame we don't see more of it. I'll always welcome a Fantasy setting that's more than "magical Western Europe." The prose is... enhanced. It's tolerable but repetitive and overly-reliant on simile. To make the main character, Ari, sound wise and experienced, the author stuffed the frame story with amateur philosophical observations and unsolicited advice. To me, it came across as condescending and, at times, sanctimonious. The frequent remarks about how stories are important, how the common viewpoint is under-appreciated, or how people sometimes lack empathy due to their own, hidden circumstances are not nearly as incisive as Ari believes them to be. I'm fine with a character who's quintessentially self-important, but there's simply no subtly here. Ari attempts to capture a revelation on every other page, and it's grating! Some of them don't even hold under scrutiny.

The awkward writing could be forgiven, but the fundamental problem with this book is that it already exists. I've seen people defend the book by claiming that the similarities to The Name of the Wind are unintentional, incidental, or endemic to the genre. These defenses fail for a single counter-argument: I was able to predict the outcome of every story event from my knowledge of TNOTW's plot alone. It's one thing to note, for instance, that a wacky and whimsical mentor is a genre staple. It's another entirely to know that when the mentor says, "Come with me," the protagonist is about to tour a sanitarium and fall off the roof.

There's a direct mapping between scenes in TNOTW and scenes in The First Binding, and that's *plagiarism*. You can't transpose a song into a different key and remarket it as "Ice Ice Maybe." You can't take a doctoral thesis, replace all the figures with your own data, and publish it under your own name. Plagiarism isn't about a particular arrangement of words or whether or not the author invested the time to dump 350k words into scrivener and change the font color to "purple." For a book that practically worships stories and their tellers, you'd think the author would understand that. In all seriousness, I cannot understand how this book was published. I almost can't believe it either, but my Alar isn't quite strong enough to unmake this particular reality or return the ~35 hours it took to get through (I have a policy where I always finish a book).

I'm undecided on whether or not I'll return the book. On one hand, I feel wretched about returning a book I finished. On the other, I feel like I was swindled into a story I've already read. The point of fantasy, for me, is discovery. Although many tropes are retrodden, there is always, at least, a new spin on it. But I kept waiting for the pattern to diverge, for inspiration to become innovation, for the author to take an admittedly-promising bit of world-building and make something novel, and it did not manifest. I understand loving a story, as I believe Vikas loves the KKC. Of course I do... but artistic integrity demands more courage than he has shown here.

Also, I'm disappointed in Jim Butcher for the blurb. I may not have bought the book if not for my respect for his body of work, but that is neither here nor there.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Holy hell.

what's with the life lessons in this book? there amazing, but dang making me question some of my decisions.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing Story!

This is the first novel I have read by Virdi but it will certainly not be the last. You will first meet Ari as an adult, the greatest storyteller in the land and then listen in as he tells his story to a mysterious lady. The character development is amazing as you get to know and follow young Ari on his adventures and misadventures. Like most young men the young hero is ruled largely by his passions and pays the price for them over and over on h8s quest for knowledge. Despite being a clever hoodlum there is also a but of the white knight in Ari.

The story of young Ari is intertwined with the adult storyteller who is still half hero and half hoodlum it seems. i am loikung forward to the next book to continue the adventures.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just do it. You won’t regret it.

I’m usually not into the huge books. I prefer a quicker listen with less chapters. But this was something different. It’s setup so it’s not one long continuous story which helps break it up.
The world building is incredible
The details for everything are amazing
The wording used to describe all the emotions are perfect
All that mixed with an incredible performance in the narrator leaves me wanting more
Like I said before just get it and you’ll have no regrets

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Worth It

Many other reviews could tell you what this book is about and how in compares and contrasts to The Name of the Wind. I just want to tell you about my experience with this book. So I bought the audiobook opening day but really struggled to get into this book. The beginning was very slow and (in my opinion) dull. I kept on switching to other books, but something kept on wanting me to give it a fair chance. More than once I seriously thought about giving up on it. About 45% into the book is chapter 46 called A King’s Gambit it was at that chapter I really started getting into it. I started to love this book once the protagonist arrived at Hogwarts err…I mean the Ashram. For patient readers I thought this book was really good and my hope and expectation is that the second book will hold my attention from start to finish.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Long winded as heck!

Dear lord this is the most long winded book I have ever listened too.

I know writing a book is really tough but I have to blame the editor here for not giving feedback on over use of the word “like.” And analogies. I had to skip the second half of the first chapter just to try and see if maybe it was different as it gets better. It did but it’s a log the same. It’s mean to be a very dramatic read but it lacks the story and initial character development to lend weight to the drama.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Plagiarism and unevitable comparison to TNOTW

From a lover of "The Name of the wind" by P. Rothfuss point of view, this was pure plagiarims.

I appreciated the original BITS of the story here and there, but the plot was WAY TOO SIMILAR to TNOTW.

I really tried too "unsee" the constant similarities, and In some way, thanks to Vikas Adam doing a magnificent job, I still found the read enjoyable....

Yet I only felt "anger" averytime a good interesting story twist only came to be a similar one to P. Rothfuss's work.

I'm not exaggerating, HUGE similarities can be seen in:
- Narrative
- Character design
- Character past story
- Antagonists
- Drugs
- "Magic" that somehow is related to understanding the true natuere of elements... (yet not really explained in 46hrs+ of book?!)
- Whole LINES (especially the final ones referring to "silcence")

All while having continuous new characters descriptions (many to be left unexplored then) - new improvised deep friendships after just a couple of lines (often unnatural) - and TONS of UNSOLVED/UNFINISHED NARRATIVE ARCS.

Also, special note for the first true friend of the protagonist hust DISAPPEARING from the book when not needed anymore... (?)

I have mixed feelings: I think the Author could have done a majestic job if only sticking to his own personal worldbuilding and ideas, trying not to constantly remind the reader of another good read.

I feel nostalgic towards a tale that could have been a million times better, and doesn't exist in the present.
Maybe future books will make a big change in this overall scenary I described.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I couldn’t finish it!!

This book is like listening to someone tell you the storyline of a book they read called The Name of the Wind.

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