A must-read for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, transforming The Hunchback of Notre Dame into a powerful tundra-inspired epic.
Before the massacre at Nariin, Enebish was one of the greatest warriors in the Sky King’s Imperial Army: a rare and dangerous Night Spinner, blessed with the ability to control the threads of darkness. Now, she is known as Enebish the Destroyer―a monster and murderer, banished to a monastery for losing control of her power and annihilating a merchant caravan.
Guilt stricken and scarred, Enebish tries to be grateful for her sanctuary, until her adoptive sister, Imperial Army commander Ghoa, returns from the war front with a tantalizing offer. If Enebish can capture the notorious criminal, Temujin, whose band of rebels has been seizing army supply wagons, not only will her crimes be pardoned, she will be reinstated as a warrior.
Enebish eagerly accepts. But as she hunts Temujin across the tundra, she discovers the tides of war have shifted, and the supplies he’s stealing are the only thing keeping thousands of shepherds from starving. Torn between duty and conscience, Enebish must decide whether to put her trust in the charismatic rebel or her beloved sister. No matter who she chooses, an even greater enemy is advancing, ready to bring the empire to its knees.
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I know how it feels to lose everything. I know how it feels to be terrified and unsure. But I also know how it feels to be remade, to cloak yourself in steel and wash yourself with fire and refuse to be trampled. To stand and say, ‘I am not what they make of me, but what I make of me.’ Remake yourself, Enebish!
Night Spinner is a haunting, yet hopeful tale of betrayal, abandonment, and finding strength and purpose through suffering endured. Author Addie Thorley takes us on a journey defined by predetermined fate and the almighty power of acceptance, as she contends the war between good and evil is often skewed, and harmony is ultimately the desired outcome. Simply put, it’s an engaging and touching story that I absolutely adored.
Thorley presents us with a wonderfully complex cast of layered characters, each always seeming to hide their true intentions behind a well-crafted facade. Enebish is a Night Spinner, one able to clutch and wield tendrils of night and starfire; a monster capable of massacring innocents when the darkness consumes her. Longing for freedom after imprisonment and to find her rightful place in the world, we witness her evolution as her constitution is constantly chipped away by deceit. You would assume she’d weaken, but she only grows stronger. The one constant in her life is Serik, and for fear of spoiling anything, I’ll just say his progression is incredible to behold.
While at times it seems the villains are pretty evident, we begin to see that many of the characters within are willing to use others as means to an end, often altering what we believe to be true. This ongoing character development creates a constant injection of interest that flows perfectly along with the narrative, making this book nearly impossible to put down.
The strongest aspect of this story is its plot, which is bursting with twists and turns and oozing with tension. Several times throughout the book I believed I was finally on the right path, but nothing is ever as it seems and everything is merely an illusion, keeping me guessing until the very end. Simple prose allows for a strong emotional factor, which I found to be gripping and organic through use of a generally bleak tone and close character interactions. It’s definitely a story that will sink its hooks and refuse to let go.
There’s a lot of mention and implication of various aspects of the world, including cultural staples and deities, which in turn directly define and influence both the status of the world and its magic. I found myself intrigued by these concepts, but wished they were more thoroughly developed. Warring factions, led by complicated ruling powers, each side with unique appearances and abilities, warriors bestowed with divine gifts – unfortunately, the worldbuilding fell a bit flat for me and I needed more. I’m hoping to learn more about the world itself in future installments of this series.
Night Spinner is a compelling read that I thoroughly enjoyed making my way through. While it slightly suffers from a slow start, it quickly picked up and swept me away. The initial story arc ties up nicely, and readers are presented with the beginnings of the next leg of the journey, which I personally can’t wait for. If you’re on the hunt for a darker YA tale of finding one’s true path in life, then this may be just the one you’re looking for. I highly recommend.
Note: A huge thank you to Addie Thorley and Page Street Kids for providing me with an advance complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing and inviting me to participate in this book tour.
Be sure to check out all the other stops along the tour by visiting the official schedule here.
Addie Thorley is the author of An Affair of Poisons, a YA historical fantasy, which was chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and is a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominee. Her forthcoming novel, Night Spinner, will be released on February 11, 2020.
She spent her childhood playing soccer, riding horses, and scribbling stories. After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in journalism, Addie decided “hard news” didn’t contain enough magic and kissing, so she flung herself into the land of fiction and never looked back. She now lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and wolf dog. When she’s not writing she can be found gallivanting in the woods or galloping around the barn where she works as a horse trainer and exercise rider.
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