Author: Cari Thomas
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?
Threadneedle is the first novel in the Language of Magic series. It follows orphan, Anna Everdell, who was raised by her aunt, who is a member of the Binders, a society of witches. Anna was raised to believe that magic is evil, which means that she is shocked when her late mother’s friend, Selene visits with her magic-wielding daughter, Effie, and Attis. When Anna returns to school, Effie creates a secret coven and recruits Anna along with Attis and two other girls, Rowan, and Miranda. Through this group, Anna begins experiencing magic-use. In addition, six mysterious deaths that point to witchcraft occur leading to a larger mystery. The story does feel a little all over the place where it seems the writing could not figure out where it fits. There are vibes of a contemporary fantasy, some gothic elements, some fairy tale elements, and some teenage drama.
Anna was a great character to follow as she came out of her abusive aunt’s shadow and began to discover herself and her magic. Effie was not a great character as I found her to be abusive in her own way (still abusive, but just different compared to the blatant abuse by the aunt). There was body shaming, manipulation, gaslighting, and bulling, just to name a few that happens through this novel. Some of it was addressed while others were glossed over. Readers should review the trigger warnings before reading as there were a lot more included than I initially expected. I understand the inclusion of some of them, but I think the author still has more work to do to fully explore these themes properly.
As for the pacing, there are moments where it feels the writing could have been more concise as it dragged in a few places. There is a lot of potential in the writing. The last part of the novel greatly intrigues me where I cannot wait to see what happens next. While some readers could potentially predict the ending, I like that I did not. It takes a long time to get to the conclusion, so I think the writing could use a little tightening up. Since this is a debut, I can see the potential with the author. There are a lot of great elements, but they just need a little more care in their execution. Overall, the novel itself is not quite a favorite, but I can see the budding talent of the author and how the next novel could be amazing.
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and HarperVoyager for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**
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