Spindle – E.K. Johnston – A Thousand Nights #2 – Disney-Hyperion – Published 6 December 2016
The world is made safe by a woman…but it is a very big world.
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.
Honestly, I don’t think I have the words to convey how wonderful this book is. It simply deserves to be read and enjoyed.
Yashaa’s life changed the night the curse was laid upon the Little Rose. It might have been the princess who was cursed but it was Yashaa, his mother and their community of spinners who left their home in the castle and were forced into exile. Now Yashaa is grown and his mother is dying. He has little choice when she requests him to take his friends and attempt to make a better life away from their camp. She would never expect him to try and find the cursed princess and could never dream how Yashaa’s life threads, and those of his friends, will become tangled with the princess’s.
This book is the second book in the A Thousand Nights series. It is more of a companion novel, set many, many years after the events of A Thousand Nights. It was lovely to, from the distance of time, see how Lo-Melkhiin and the Storyteller Queen’s tale continued and sparked the creation of a new story. Spindle is part adventure quest, part love story. You can see the threads of the fairytale wrapped up and expanded in the delicious details of this world and its vibrant characters. If the characters in A Thousand Nights remained anonymous, those in Spindle become as dear and familiar to you as old friends.
I think I loved Spindle more than A Thousand Nights. Kind of unbelievable, I know. A Thousand Nights was an unknown; a shocking, beautiful surprise. I started Spindle knowing what kind of story to expect and yet I was still blown away and delighted.
Something I love about E.K. Johnston’s books are her strong female characters. And yes, Spindle tells the story of a princess’s strength and determination, but it is also about the strength of family – because it is only by protecting those you love that strength finds its purpose. Spindle is narrated by Yashaa. I loved seeing the story though his eyes. His love for his makeshift family, his willingness to sacrifice himself to protect them, his humility, his ability to laugh at himself and his desire to dream make him a wonderful character. The comradery of his little band is so delightful – young, but resilient Arwa, dreamer Tariq and reliable and protective Saoud.
It’s actually quite lovely to disappear into such a well-crafted fantasy again. And there is no compare for E.K Johnston’s evocative writing and incredible story building.
The love story was just as enjoyable as the adventure. I was gleefully rubbing my hands together as I read Yashaa’s initial distaste and condescension for the Little Rose. Because this is a fairytale after all and I know how fairytales end! And yet I never could have guessed how this story would unfold. I think this might be my favourite love story. One where a lad rescues his princess and yet never dreams of considering himself worthy of loving her until she shows him how.
Strength, love, determination, sacrifice. If you love fairytales, love stories, fantasy books or just excellently executed novels then Spindle is so very worth reading.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Fairytales, magic, fantasy, family, love, sleeping beauty, adventure, demons, magical creatures, quests, spinning, craft, sacrifice, refugees, kingdoms, princesses.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Published: 5 July 2016 by Poppy.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 368 pages.