Last year, I completely fell in love with Addie Thorley’s An Affair of Poisons, so when I found out that she was coming out with a high fantasy series, I was really excited. It was everything I’d dreamed it to be—and more.
Title: Night Spinner
Author: Addie Thorley
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Release Date: February 11, 2020
Genres: YA Fantasy, Retelling
I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
- This is a retelling of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, but in a high fantasy setting. I haven’t read the book—my only experience with the story is the Disney movie, which I loved—so I can’t say exactly how the books are connected (other than the obvious, of course).
- Addie’s writing is incredibly gorgeous. I felt completely immersed in the world of Ashkar, in Enebish’s thoughts. The same is true in An Affair of Poisons, but I had briefly forgotten—it was a very pleasant surprise.
- The minor characters in this story are so three-dimensional. There were times when I loved them, times I hated them, etc.
Enebish is absolutely one of my favorite characters now. In the beginning, she is scared and restless. It’s been two years since she accidentally unleashed her power on innocent people—but she can’t remember anything about it. She wants her freedom, but she’s scared of hurting people. She wants to see the world, but her injuries hold her back. Her timidity is understandable in the beginning, but her growth by the end of the book is a journey worth every moment.
Her relationships with the other characters are fascinating. She adores her adoptive sister Ghoa, who is commander of the king’s army, and would do anything for her. Her best friend, Serik, keeps Enebish on her toes, keeps pushing her. The faith Enebish has for her gods is unique, as religion is often completely avoided in YA fantasy these days. The way these relationships evolve is engaging and interesting—they had me turning the pages faster and faster.
The world building in this book is marvelous. The details Addie uses made me feel as if I was in Ashkar, experiencing both the beauty and the horrors there. And the magic system is so unique! The powers are based on the sky—the sun, rain, hail, and of course, the night. I’ve never read anything quite like that before, and it fits so well in the world built around it.
There are SO many twists in this book! I’m not going to go into specifics, but I didn’t see so many things coming. It was so much fun to read. The plot goes at a good pace, not too fast or slow, and I never felt like the book dragged. It was a real pleasure staying up way too late so many nights to finish this book.
I was so, so relieved when I realized that this was the first book in a series. There are so many loose ends that I want to know more about! I will definitely be picking up the next book and recommending this book like crazy.