Friday, January 20, 2017

Me on Spindle

Title: Spindle
Author: E.K. Johnston
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen drove the demon out of her husband and saved her country from fire and blood. Her family has prospered beyond the borders of their village, and two new kingdoms have sprouted on either side of the mountains where the demons are kept prisoner by bright iron, and by the creatures the Storyteller Queen made to keep them contained. But the prison is crumbling. Through years of careful manipulation, a demon has regained her power. She has made one kingdom strong and brought the other to its knees, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with the final blow: a curse that will cost the princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life. The threads of magic are tightly spun, binding princess and exiled spinners into a desperate plot to break the curse before the demon can become a queen of men. But the web of power is dangerously tangled--and they may not see the true pattern until it is unspooled.

Spindle is magical, a tale of gifts and curses, of journeys and dreams, of spinners and demons. A tale of the threads that tie us together, that trap us, and that bind us in order to keep us strong.

Each character is their own person, wonderfully crafted. Each with their own habits, their own personalities, their own minds and bodies. Yashaa, Saoud, Tariq, Arwa. Zahrah. These are real people, real human beings, and this journey of theirs could mean life or death. Hope for the future or destruction of the place they once called home. A special mention must be made to the female characters that E.K. Johnston writes. They know their strengths and use them, they know their weaknesses and seek to learn, to improve. All female characters should be written like this.

It's not hard to see the ways this connects to A Thousand Nights, but it's also wonderful as a standalone story. The brief mentions of the Storyteller Queen and how she locked the demons away in mountains and iron. This isn't quite as fanciful as the previous book, there's more of a connection to the characters, to the people. Perhaps it's their names that make them feel more real as opposed to the legend of the Storyteller Queen, her sister, and the King-Who-Was-Good.

This book is a thoughtful creature. It considers all sides, all possible choices, and slowly weaves them together. Time is taken to stop and think, to look at options and opinions. So rare is the book that does that, that doesn't speed along headfirst into danger. A must-read for fans of fairy tales, fans of magic, and those who crave being told a story.

(I was gifted a hardcover copy of this book.)

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