Now, she is known as Enebish the Destroyer―a monster and murderer, banished to a monastery for losing control of her power and annihilating a merchant caravan.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Night Spinner #1
Author: Addie Thorley
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Page Count: 403
Format: eARC, Physical ARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Cover Artist: Kylie Alexander
My Rating: ★★★★
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A must-read for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, transforming The Hunchback of Notre Dame into a powerful tundra-inspired epic.
Before the massacre at Nariin, Enebish was one of the greatest warriors in the Sky King’s Imperial Army: a rare and dangerous Night Spinner, blessed with the ability to control the threads of darkness. Now, she is known as Enebish the Destroyer―a monster and murderer, banished to a monastery for losing control of her power and annihilating a merchant caravan.
Guilt stricken and scarred, Enebish tries to be grateful for her sanctuary, until her adoptive sister, Imperial Army commander Ghoa, returns from the war front with a tantalizing offer. If Enebish can capture the notorious criminal, Temujin, whose band of rebels has been seizing army supply wagons, not only will her crimes be pardoned, she will be reinstated as a warrior.
Enebish eagerly accepts. But as she hunts Temujin across the tundra, she discovers the tides of war have shifted, and the supplies he’s stealing are the only thing keeping thousands of shepherds from starving. Torn between duty and conscience, Enebish must decide whether to put her trust in the charismatic rebel or her beloved sister. No matter who she chooses, an even greater enemy is advancing, ready to bring the empire to its knees. thousands of shepherds from starving. Torn between duty and conscience, Enebish must decide whether to put her trust in the charismatic rebel or her beloved sister. No matter who she chooses, an even greater enemy is advancing, ready to bring the empire to its knees.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Page Street Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Death, Gore, Blood, Starvation, Torture, War
You don’t need a master, Enebish. Be your own hero. You can save yourself–and me–but only if you open your eyes.
Enebish has known a life of duty and battle her entire life. Having been known as one of the best warriors in the Sky King’s army, she created her identity around that. Also being a Night Spinner–a special Kalima power that allows one to have the ability to bend night within her grasp–she was an indispensable asset. Until, one day, she lost control and slaughtered a merchant caravan. Forced to quell her storm, her dearest friend and surrogate sister Ghoa had to maime her in order to get her under control.
Followers of the New Order attain exaltation by reporting the mistakes of others. The more grievous the infraction, the closer they come to rapture. And I, the most notorious criminal in the empire, am imprisoned in the heart of their den.
In the aftermath, Enebish becomes known as Enebish the Destroyer, and is branded a traitor to the kingdom. Ghoa, being the commander of the Sky King’s army, is able to secure her a spot hidden away in a monastery, where she will be looked after under strict supervision, instead of executed for her crime. A moonstone is placed into her chest in order to sever her connection with her magic, and secure the safety of others around her.
The sky doesn’t care that I am wicked and ugly. The clouds never rain down judgment for my crimes, and the moon shines without flinching on my injured limbs and scarred face. The majority of Ashkar may despise me, but the heavens will always embrace me in arms of frost and wrap me in a blanket of starlight. In the eyes of the Lady of the Sky and Father Guzan, I am accepted. Wanted.
Enebish, scorned and fallen from her pedestal, severed from her magic, crippled, and left without much purpose, is forced to create a new life for herself. She finds purpose in training the king’s eagles, but still flirts with the night when it comes around each evening. In a land where the Lady of the Night and Father Guzan are no longer worshipped as the Sky King had denounced their existence, Enebish finds herself yet another outcast, as her relationship to the night leaves no question that they are alive and real.
One day, Ghoa visits the monastery. It is the first time Enebish has seen her since her banishment. There to retrieve the king’s eagles, Ghoa gives Enebish leave along with Serik, a monk at the monastery, to see the eagles safely to the celebration. The excursion doesn’t go without a hitch, however, and Enebish finds herself at the center of ridicule. From out of nowhere, a group of rebels led by the notorious Temujin interfere and tell Enebish to seek them out.
When Ghoa learns about her interaction with Temujin, she offers Enebish a reward if she can hunt the criminal down. She would be reinstated to the army if she could infiltrate enemy lines and capture Temujin. Wanting her old life back more than anything, Enebish agrees, but underestimates the difficulty involved. The truth behind the ongoing war is also underestimated, as the empire’s situation is much more dire than she ever realized. Between the Sky King’s empire and the rebel forces, citizens are desperately in need. Enebish stretches herself to appease Ghoa, but finds that what she thought was the right path may end up being the wrong one.
Night Spinner’s main character Enebish certainly embodies many admirable traits. First, she’s a warrior, but this “past-life” is not a honed edge any longer, and allows fraying to occur at the sharpness in her character. She’s courageous, but also fearful due to being branded a traitor for a terrible crime. Humbleness mirrors pride knowing what her Kalima can do but now is unable to do anything with the night. It is in these attributes that The Hunchback of Notre Dame is visible. Other than this and her obvious disfigurement, I didn’t find much correlation between the two. To be honest, I haven’t read or watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame, so my memory may be jaded by time.
Full of unique mythology, culture, and magic, Night Spinner offers a rich setting for a probing tale of politics and betrayal. The beginning of this story is especially contextual, and gives the reader a fine sense of the world in which it is set. Several plot twists also hide themselves within the plot, but some I had guessed before the truth had been revealed, which was a little disappointing. Despite this, Night Spinner offers a familiar, yet unique story about a character that faces an impossible situation, only to rise above to face head-on yet another.
Sexual content: Minimal.
Violence: Moderate, including graphic and torture scenes
My Rating: ★★★★
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Addie Thorley is the author of An Affair of Poisons, a YA historical fantasy, which was chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and is a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominee. Her forthcoming novel, Night Spinner, will be released on February 11, 2020. She spent her childhood playing soccer, riding horses, and scribbling stories. After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in journalism, Addie decided “hard news” didn’t contain enough magic and kissing, so she flung herself into the land of fiction and never looked back. She now lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and wolf dog. When she’s not writing she can be found gallivanting in the woods or galloping around the barn where she works as a horse trainer and exercise rider.
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