Title: The Spinner’s Child
Author: Crispina Kemp
Rating: Four stars
“Spliced with dark material, sprinkled with the mystical. Join Kerrid’s journey through the timeless first days… and into the Spinner’s Web
Cursed, friendless and shunned, fraudulent seer Kerrid, born of a fisher-hunter clan, holds two beliefs. That in her psychic abilities and exuded light she is unique, and as Voice of the Lady she’s exempt from an arranged marriage. Both convictions are shattered when nine boats arrive from the east carrying the ancient Chief Uissinir who wants her for his wife, and five of his sons who emit lights and share tricks like her own. Forced to make an unwise judgement, a trail of death follows.
Questions plague her. Why does she dream of babies dying? Why does a voice in her head taunt her: Suffer the loss, suffer the pain? And what is she that no matter how lethal the wound, she does not die?
What is she to kill with a thought?
Set in the between-time, when hunter-gatherers turned to settled agriculture, when spirits and demons morphed to gods, the five books of The Spinner’s Game takes Kerrid’s story across continents and weaves through ages fraught with floods and droughts to become the prototype of our most ancient myths.”
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This is the last fantasy book that was on my TBR pile as I’m focusing on urban fantasies and paranormal romances. The Spinner’s Child was a unique book to finish on. So unique that, to start with, I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the style and here’s why.
The Spinner’s Child reads like a really long fable, which was a really enjoyable set-up once I got used to it. It tells the story of Kerrid, a young girl who learns early on in life that she can’t die. Her clan decides it’s the will of The Lady, who watches over them. She is put under the care of the clan’s wise man who teaches her all she knows.
But even being a future wise woman doesn’t remove Kerrid’s inevitable future as a wife. She is promised to the chief of another clan after she becomes a woman. After she passes a judgement of an alleged rapist, he attempts to kill her but her powers save her yet again. But with this man now dead at her hand and Kerrid taken into the folds of his clan via marriage, she becomes conscious of her own sins.
With her promised husband dead from old age, she is promised to the brother of the new chief. The new chief, Spelan, is a tyrant who thinks only of himself and his wants and despises Kerrid. She must use all she knows, her wiles and her connection to The Spinner, who controls all their fates, to save herself from Spelan. Influenced by a demon in the form of a snake which has already killed Kerrid’s parents, Spelan is out for her blood.
Throughout the book, Kerrid is constantly undervalued and undermined in this patriarchal society. When she comes into her own at the end of the book, I was so happy. It felt like she had been trodden on her entire life and now she finally had the power to not only make things right for herself but for her new clan.
The Spinner’s Child is written like a fable, so several months or a year can pass by in a scene or a chapter. It was a little hard to grasp at first but before long I was really enjoying this set-up. This book isn’t particularly fast-paced but the action varies from attempted murders to moments of spiritual drama. Absolutely nothing was predictable in this book and that made it a real page-turner.
My favourite part of this book was definitely the ending: Kerrid’s empowerment and using all her life lessons to take down a true threat to herself, her husband and their clan. It wrapped up the book in such a satisfying way and even left one conflict unresolved to bring Kerrid future problems.
One thing I wondered about was some other conflicts that appeared mid-way through the book that were not resolved. Are they going to come up in future books or have they been forgotten about? I’m holding out hope these loose ends will be tied up in future books because there’s one in particular that I want to see resolved.
While this is a slower paced read, The Spinner’s Child is entertaining and fantastical. I recommend it!
Thanks for reading!