Hello, readers! Who's ready for yet another book review on this fine Spring day? Today, I talk about Spindle, by E.K. Johnston. It's a follow-up to A Thousand Nights, but I haven't actually read that first book! While Spindle makes references to events in the prequel, it's not necessary to read it in order to understand the world spun in this second book.
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.
Let's start with the good. Johnston's prose is phenomenal. It's fluid in the right places with beautiful descriptions, and terse in others when our protagonist, Yaasha, is grappling with a change in circumstances or new challenges. The story is a self-contained fairy tale, and while it makes references to A Thousand Nights, the plot doesn't rely on the events of the prequel.
However, the pacing was all off for me. It took me a really long time to get immersed in the novel, and when it ended, I wanted more. The conflict and conclusion were insanely rushed, and it's very clear that it is, and I don't understand why, since the book took such a long time to get there.
Everything that happens seems to be taken at face value. There is no theory or discussion about why our band of young adults do what they do. They are, from I saw, not terribly complex characters in their motivations and fears. But who knows? Maybe I would have enjoyed them more if I had read A Thousand Nights, maybe the prequel introduces context to why these personalities are so bland.
I gotta admit, I didn't find Spindle particularly captivating. It was a well-written book with a lot of potential, but I just wasn't satisfied when I reached the final page. I recommend reading A Thousand Nights first. You might have a different experience than I did if you do.
I rate Spindle 3/5 stars!