Published February 11, 2020
About Night Spinner
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.
I love that authors are re-imagining classic stories in really cool ways like this. I haven’t read the original story (I’ve seen a couple movie versions), but THE NIGHT SPINNER definitely made me want to. The gender-flipped characters made me view the story in a new way, too.
The only thing that seemed a little weird to me was the fact that Enebish’s physical deformity isn’t something she was born with but something that happened to punish her. It’s a pretty big departure from the original story, but so is the fantasy landscape and all the magical elements, too.
I liked Enebish as a character and her struggle to come to grips with her past as well as her relationship with Serik. I’m super excited to see where the second book goes and whether we get to see any of the story from Serik’s point-of-view?? Because that seems like it would be lots of fun!
On the whole, I really enjoyed reading THE NIGHT SPINNER. I think fans of STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor and GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson would enjoy the bold, broad fantasy world and emotionally complex characters.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
The Sky King has expanded his empire to include ethnic groups, which he wants to assimilate into a homogeneous people by outlawing their traditions, beliefs and rituals. Enebish (and some other central characters) view this as wrong and condemn it.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some romantic tension between characters.
Polytheistic. Worshiping the old gods – the Lady of the Sky and the Father – have been forbidden. Now everyone is commanded to worship the king. Enebish and a few others remain secretly loyal to the old ways. She prays and communicates with the goddess through a sort of journal. It’s a very faith-positive story.
Graphic descriptions of battle and the results of torture.
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