Sorrow’s Knot

Erin Bow, Author
Erin Bow. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-16666-9
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 10/29/2013
Paperback - 978-0-545-16667-6
Book - 978-0-545-57800-4
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Otter is the daughter of Willow, the most powerful woman in a matriarchy that exists on the edge of a dangerous forest. Willow, the binder, casts yarn into “wards” that protect the village by keeping the dead at bay. Although Otter has inherited her mother’s magic, Willow mysteriously refuses to teach her spells, expels her from home, and chooses another girl as her apprentice. Otter must rely on two best friends: Kestrel, a ranger in training, and Cricket, who plans to become the village’s storyteller. When Cricket runs afoul of head ranger Thistle, the three friends leave the village for an uncertain future. Bow’s background in science is evident in her Northern American setting; everything from the botany to the zoology feels authentic. Her prose is painterly, though the pacing occasionally lags under the weight of descriptive exposition. As with Bow’s debut, Plain Kate (2010), this dark fantasy has an old-fashioned feel: there’s a strong-willed protagonist with little knowledge of how to channel her power, and readers will enjoy watching her discover that “the world was larger than we knew.” Ages 12–up. Agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Nov.)
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