The Spinner’s Child is the first book in the soon-to-be-released series The Spinner’s Game by Crispina Kemp.
My thanks to Crispina Kemp for the ARC of this book in return for an honest review. The Spinner’s Child, and the rest of The Spinner’s Game, will be available from 21st March 2020 from Amazon, and is currently available for pre-order.
Quick Review (read on for full review)
The Spinner’s Child is a fantastic, enchanting read. Wonderfully written, it’s a highly imaginative historical fantasy, filled with engaging characters, captivating locations and a gripping storyline. Recommended! 5 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
Spliced with dark material, sprinkled with the mystical. Join Kerrid’s journey through the timeless first days… and into the Spinner’s Web
Cursed, friendless and shunned, fraudulent seer Kerrid, born of a fisher-hunter clan, holds two beliefs. That in her psychic abilities and exuded light she is unique, and as Voice of the Lady she’s exempt from an arranged marriage. Both convictions are shattered when nine boats arrive from the east carrying the ancient Chief Uissinir who wants her for his wife, and five of his sons who emit lights and share tricks like her own. Forced to make an unwise judgement, a trail of death follows.
Questions plague her. Why does she dream of babies dying? Why does a voice in her head taunt her: Suffer the loss, suffer the pain? And what is she that no matter how lethal the wound, she does not die?
What is she to kill with a thought?
She prayed to the Lady of the Hills, to her sons and First Woman too, She prayed for deliverance from the end envisaged by Breathman Bargli. Any decision, please; any doom other than eaten by cats.
(From The Spinner’s Child by Crispina Kemp, Chapter 3)
I was lucky enough to beta-read this book (the whole series, in fact) and instantly fell in love with the characters, the story and the setting. So, naturally, I was keen to read and review the ARC when given the opportunity to do so.
The Spinner’s Child is the first instalment in a five book historical fantasy series. Highly imaginative and epic in every sense, it tells the story of Kerrid. This first book covers her childhood through to the first years of her becoming a woman.
Kerrid is a wonderful main character. I connected to her very quickly, and at times, was brought to tears by things that go on around her. My! Things are not easy for her. Her relationships, even to her mother and father, are never straightforward. As her journey of self-discovery progresses, she is faced with ever more complex issues and her fate isn’t often in her own hands.
Then there are the questions to which she must find the answers. Who is she? What is she? Why is she different? It is this search for answers that motivates her, even when things seem bleak, showing a strength of character I greatly admire.
Other characters I liked were Sarat – of course! I can see how his crafting abilities must have seemed like magic to those uninitiated in their process and his interactions with Kerrid were sweet. There was also Breathman Bargli…a wise and sensible man with such a kind heart.
The world-building is fantastic. You can clearly see where the author has researched meticulously. The knowledge and descriptions of cultures and societies, settlements, handicrafts and textiles are rich and detailed, but there is no overloading of information. The language and terminology adds an extra layer of authenticity and helps to bring this vibrant setting to life.
However, it is the mythologies and spirituality, but especially the “feast fables” that captivated me the most. These stories within the story are really interesting, and harken back to a time when lore and explanations of what was, what is and what will be, were to be found in easily recognisable tales, ones that were simple to recall and to repeat. These are the first stories and those that told them, the first storytellers.
The author has a striking writing style, which I enjoyed. The story is superbly crafted and perfectly paced, and I must mention the book cover: it captures the essence of the tale perfectly. And, a note on the formatting: the book is nicely laid out, includes a beautiful map of the area in which the story is set, and there are lovely graphics to be found on the title pages. Ebooks can often look plain and functional compared to print books, their only nod to aesthetics being drop caps at the beginning of chapters, so in comparison, this comes across as beautifully presented.
All-in-all, a splendid, enchanting read. The second book in the series is Lake of Dreams, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. Highly recommended, especially to those who enjoy historical fantasy.