Threadneedle by Cari Thomas #BookReview #BlogTour

 

Anna’s aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences. 
Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever. Until she meets Effie and Attis. 
They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library  where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revelers lose themselves in a haze of spells. 
But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her aunt was right all along. Is her magic a gift…or a curse? 
Told through spells created with knots and threads, this is a story that is both innovative and  based in traditional witchcraft.

It's such a pleasure to be closing the blog tour for Threadneedle today. Many thanks to Cari Thomas, Harper Voyager and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance digital copy of the novel.

Witchcraft is such an evocative word; some people fear it as something malevolent and dangerous, others find the magic exciting or intriguing, while the witch trials of the past remain a sinister, violent part of our history. Anna is a witch but as we quickly discover, her magic is as subdued as her emotions. After years of training, she is nearing the time when she will undergo a ceremony to bind - and therefore take away - her magic forever.
Anna lives with her Aunt, a controlling, forbidding woman who has raised her since she was a baby. She's been taught that magic is a sin but has also learned that she must control her thoughts and feelings. Her Knotted Cord contains the knots that she pulls tight to avoid experiencing curiosity, joy, anger, love... A brief moment of respite from her mundane, ordered life comes in the form of Selene, a friend of her mother's, a witch who is as warm and vibrant as Aunt is cold and caustic. However, Selene visits with Effie, her daughter and Effie's friend, Attis. In the presence of two charismatic, confident teenagers, Anna is aware of how dull and boring she is - but it's an image she has carefully worked upon in order to avoid being noticed at school and so she's horrified to discover that the pair will shortly be students there too.
The knot magic that Aunt uses to control Anna and Anna uses to regulate her emotions is strange and powerful, its mysteries slowly revealed as this engaging novel progresses. It's the only magic permitted by the Binders who want to keep magic hidden away and are prepared to take the most extreme methods to prevent young witches using what they see as the immoral use of their powers. However, as Effie and Attis quickly make their presence felt in the awful school they attend, Anna may finally have the chance to find out what she's really capable of.
As she forms an unlikely friendship group with other outcasts in the school, she sees a different world from the one her Aunt has taught her to fear. Effie and Attis take her to the most amazing places hidden away in this magical hidden London - a wonderful shop of memories, an incredible library, a hedonistic nightclub. This captivating coming-of-age tale explores Anna's progression from somebody who has taken pains to be a Nobody to a young woman who is ready to stand up for what she believes in. The heady, intoxicating abilities the group develop bring with them moral choices and the frightening suggestion that Anna might be cursed. 
It's an emotive, challenging time for her, complicated further by the bullies at their school, the complex relationship she has with Aunt and the questions she has about what really happened to her parents. While this book will rightly be described as a YA novel - the romantic intrigue, arguments with friends, confrontations with adults and tyrannical peers, its richly imagined plot will also appeal to anybody who loves stories so resonantly inspired by myths and folklore. Cari Thomas has created a tale which is new and fresh but which feels rooted in time. 
Throughout the book, there are disturbing descriptions of the doctrines and punishments Anna endures at the hand of her Aunt. It's hard to feel any sympathy for this cruel woman and yet there are moments which suggest her actions may be borne out of genuine concern for her niece. As Anna breaks free from her shackles, I thought the reasons why she still feels loyalty towards Aunt were poignantly believable. She eventually reaches the point where she needs to make her life-changing decision and there are shocking revelations with a conclusion which is dramatic, powerful and full of foreboding as to what comes next. 
Threadneedle is a darkly enchanting tale of magic, intrigue and deception. The superb characterisation and creative, fantastical storytelling weave together magic, friendship and danger in an irresistible celebration of womanhood. I loved every word - in fact you could say I was bewitched!

Threadneedle is published by Harper Voyager, purchasing links can be found here but please support independent bookstores whenever possible.



About the Author
Cari Thomas has always loved magic, inspired by her upbringing among the woods and myths of Wales’  Wye Valley. She studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University and Magazine Journalism at  The Cardiff School of Journalism. Her first job was at teen Sugar magazine where she ran the book club and  quickly realized she wanted to be the one writing the books instead. She went on to work at a creative  agency, spending her spare time researching magic and accumulating an unusual collection of occult books.  She wrote her debut novel Threadneedle while living in London, wandering the city and weaving it with  all the magic she wished it contained. She now lives in Bristol with her husband and son, who bears the  appropriately Celtic name of Taliesin.

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