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YA Book Review: Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow

I knew Erin Bow was a masterful writer after reading her last book, Plain Kate, so I was excited when I saw Sorrow’s Knot on NetGalley. Erin Bow is one of the most talented writers I’ve read. Her writing is lyrical and magical; every word sings a perfect note. I was captivated by this book from the very first chapter and if I’d only had the time to read the whole thing straight through, I would have.

The story is about a young girl named Otter who has the gift of binding, a powerful talent passed on from her mother. However, the power of binding—which involves the crafting of elaborate knots and patterns out of yarn—is a dangerous one, linked to the mysterious ghosts which plague her village. And so her mother, the village binder Willow, the most powerful binder in years, chooses not to train Otter. The consequences are devastating.

The story is haunting and intense, but at times, the writing is so poetic that it’s difficult to follow what precisely is happening (reminds me of Toni Morrison in that way). I was completely unable to picture any of the binds, or knots, which are important to the tale. And while the world building (which, hooray isn’t based on a European world) is vivid and well done, I sometimes found that the names (Otter, Willow, Thistle, etc). were a little confusing because most of them were two syllables. I also felt the story lost a little steam towards the end, but that was partially because I was tearing through the book to find out what was going to happen!

All in all, Sorrow’s Knot is a stunning, vivid, gorgeous read. One that will stay with you even after the book is closed. What writers can look for in this book: —fantasy (paranormal dare I say?) with a unique setting and fresh premise (see this post by Erin Bow on her research for this novel) —strong friendships —complicated family relationships —perfect, beautiful prose

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from NetGalley (but I might actually buy myself a real copy)

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