Format: E-Galley, 368 pages
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
The world is made safe by a woman...but it is a very big world.It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen drove the demon out of her husband and saved her country from fire and blood. Her family has prospered beyond the borders of their village, and two new kingdoms have sprouted on either side of the mountains where the demons are kept prisoner by bright iron, and by the creatures the Storyteller Queen made to keep them contained.
But the prison is crumbling. Through years of careful manipulation, a demon has regained her power. She has made one kingdom strong and brought the other to its knees, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with the final blow: a curse that will cost the princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life.
The threads of magic are tightly spun, binding princess and exiled spinners into a desperate plot to break the curse before the demon can become a queen of men. But the web of power is dangerously tangled--and they may not see the true pattern until it is unspooled.
Spindle, by author E.K. Johnston, is the second installment, or companion novel to A Thousand Nights. This is a story that takes place 1500 years after A Thousand Nights. The heroine from Nights, now called The Storyteller Queen, made her kingdom safe by banishing the demon holding her husband hostage. In doing so, The Storyteller Queen also created magical creatures to protect the land from further demon intrusion. She also created a mountain range that divides two separate kingdoms of Qamih and Kharuf.
Kharuf is where most a large part of the story takes place. It is a kingdom that has been devastated by a curse placed on the princess called Zahrah, or Little Rose and a King Maker who desires to see it destroyed. When Zahrah was 5, a demon interrupted her birthday party, and in so doing, sent away almost all of the fashionable spinners who are no longer welcome in the Kingdom. Spinners found themselves the target of the curse. The more they spun, the sicker they got. One of those spinners was Yashaa's mother, who along with others, found themselves wandering for several years.
Spindles where tossed out, those who relied on their work, left for other places. It is now 12 years later, and Yashaa is still very bitter towards Little Rose. He's lost his home, watched his friends Arwa and Tariq's lose their families, and now his mother is sick and may be the next victim of the curse. He is bitter because he believes that the King and Queen should have done more to protect the spinners who were absolute in their love and loyalty for the King and Queen. When Yashaa and his friends are sent to beg the King Maker for help, Yasha decides to travel to his former home in hopes of getting an answer to slaying the demon curse.
Meanwhile, back in Kharuf, Little Rose sits high in the castle kept under lock and key to ensure that she will marry the prince from Qamih and thus unite the Kingdom's under one rule. She is not allowed to make anything. She lives in squalor, and if she finds one piece of material out of place, it is quickly removed. Little does she know that Yashaa will show up at her window and spirit her away, and later become the only hope she and her kingdom have of riding themselves of the curse and the demon who wants Little Rose. Yashaa soon realizes that Little Rose isn't his enemy, nor is she the reason for the curse. She is a victim just like he is.
Little Rose isn't the whole story. It is the spinners that drive and guide the story from the beginning to its ending. It is Yashaa, along with his best friends Saoud, Arwa, and Tariq who put themselves on the line for Little Rose and are really an amazing group of characters who challenge each other, respect each other, and yes, even love each other. They put aside their hatred for Little Rose, and rise above their past history to attempt to save her.
Nights is the retelling of Sleeping Beauty with an Arabian twist to it. This book is being called Kingdom of Sleep in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Author calls it linguistic shenanigans. The ending kind of took the wind out of my sails, but otherwise, the story isn't a letdown from the first book. I loved the fact that the romance is so slow, and sweet, that it actually makes sense. This is a story that is definitely character driven. I adore Arwa, and really felt emotional over the things that happen to Saoud and Tariq in this story.