Friday 9 April 2021

Book Review | Threadneedle by Cari Thomas

Publication Date: May 27th 2021 by Harper Collins
Format: Netgalley ARC
Target Audience: Young Adult 

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Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.

Magic is the first sin. It must be bound.

Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.

It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.

Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?



My Thoughts

"Well, true fairy tales are not always kind or pleasant but neither is life and we must live it anyway. Stories must be lived too; only then can they be understood."
Threadneedle is an ARC that I still can't believe I got a chance to read early. This debut fantasy with paranormal elements exceeded all my expectations and delivered a stunningly magical story. We follow Anna, who is preparing to have her magic bound by her aunt and the powerful group she belongs to. As she turns sixteen, she begins to unravel more and more secrets about her family and through a group of new friends discovers the real power behind her magic.
We'll start off with the writing which, of course, was so good! Cari Thomas has such a way with words and creating such vivid descriptions that it's so easy to just get completely lost in this story. This is a chunky book at 576 pages and yet the pacing didn't feel slow, the author knew just when to speed things up and when to slow it down but still keep the narrative moving. I also had instances where I forgot this was YA cause the writing is mature and sophisticated yet still easy to read. I think the only instance where I felt slightly confused was the very end as a lot was happening at once and I did have to slow down a bit to take it all in.
Throughout reading this book it definitely gave off major 'The Craft' vibes but did it in a way that it still felt fresh and engaging. I love magic and witches and fairytales, three things this book does so well. The plot was a really interesting take on YA witchy books with the ever looming binding hanging over everything. There's a lot packed in but it also connects together easily, all the puzzle pieces just fit. The overall conflict was good and the ending sets it up nicely for the sequel. There is some general teenage drama in here too but it does link into the plot well. 
Anna is our main character and she's very easy to like. Having just turned sixteen she's about to face having her magic binded but struggles with wanting to learn more about her magic and her family whilst going against her aunt, the only family she's ever known. Anna felt very real, her decisions we understandable and her actions felt like those of a teenager discovering what freedom and life tastes like. She develops a friendship with three other witches at her school and together they form their own coven, this was one of my favourite parts of the book as it's where the main bulk of magic is done and explained through them. They also just had a great relationship, Rowan being my ultimate favourite character. She grew up in a magical family, is somewhat of the comic relief and struggles with her weight and school bullies. 
"We belong to legend, to fairy tale and storybook, to the blood-red paintings on cave walls... It's our duty to bring magic into this world."
There are some romantic elements in here too but nothing felt insta-lovey. The relationship between Anna and Attis is so cute and develops really nicely throughout the book. I may be a little in love with Attis myself, he's so charming and a bit of a loveable rogue!
The worldbuilding might be my favourite part though. It's set in London but Thomas inserts magic into all these different places so that all of these magical, hidden locations throughout the city are uncovered. My favourite place was the magical antique shop that had everything from photographs that emitted the emotions that were felt when it was taken to a candle that smells like your favourite memory; tidbits like that really make me love a story even more. There's just something about combining our world with a magical one that I love especially when it's done as well as it is here.    
This was a fantastic series opener, I feel like the magic touched upon here is just the beginning and there's a hundred directions it could go. The magic is pretty complex and there's so many different types that I hope the author continues to explore it in future books. If you couldn't tell, I really loved this book. If you like witches, coming of age stories and endless magic then I think you will too. I can't wait for the sequel (very sad that it's probably not going to be for a while) and I've already pre-ordered a physical copy for myself! Already a favourite of the year!
* I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes included in this review are subject to change. Massive thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with a copy. 


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