Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Sorrow's Knot

Just FinishedTitle: Sorrow's Knot
Author: Erin Bow
Genre: Fantasy

Why I Read It: I always seem to say this. It's fantasy. Also, it is based in Native American cultures, which I would love to see more of.

A Quick Introduction: Otter is the daughter of a binder, a woman who weaves wards. Her mother, Willow, forms these protective wards to keep the restless dead away from those who live in their pinch (forest village). The magical knotting in the yarn and cords is all that can keep them at bay, and binders held in highest esteem. Willow is the strongest binder in generations, but her power suddenly begins turning backwards and inwards, Otter finds herself in a position she is not ready for, with a power that she isn't sure she wants. And the growing feeling that something is not right with the knots.

Review at a Glance: Wonderfully crafted fantasy in a unique world. Captivating and emotional.

Review: I really enjoyed Sorrow's Knot. The world is incredibly captivating, and the writing fit it so well. If I were asked to describe the writing style, I would say it makes me think of storytelling. Like a mythology being told to me. As though I were living in this world, and this was a story being recounted to me of a myth. Which fits beautifully with the world of  the story, which shows strong influences from Native American cultures- cultures that have a vivid mythology often told through word-of-mouth.

The story and world themselves were wonderful. The world-building occurs mostly through showing the characters going about their lives, which can leave readers behind, but for the most part was done quite well here. It made the story flow, and contributed to the feeling of storytelling. In this world the dead are only kept at bay by protective wards- knotted string. The women who can weave these have incredible power. The society that Otter and her friends live in is female-dominated- the women are the hunters, protectors, fighters, binders and leaders, and the men are viewed as being generally in need of protection (as in "we are under attack, send the men and children to the safest place available"). Very few men choose to live with the Shadow People after they reach adulthood, instead journeying to other groups, because it's too dangerous for them (only women can make the wards against the dead). It was a role reversal.

The story is very much a journey, both physical and emotional. A driving aspect of the story is grief, loss and letting go and the fear of letting go. This naturally made it quite an emotional story at times, which I found was done well. Not overdone, but certainly there, and the character's suffering was tangible. The story was the driving part of this novel, however, the characters went through development as well. They lived in their story, and even the minor ones were given a background, which I found fleshed out the story. There was a lot of sadness in it, but there was hope too, and that mixture was really well done.

Overall, I found this to be a fantastically written story in a wonderful and creative world.

No comments :

Post a Comment