Threadneedle by Cari Thomas – REVIEW

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?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harper Collins.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

“‘We deal in that which cannot be known by the light of day and exact our punishments by dark.”

This book was not at all what I expected but I loved it. I initially thought it was an adult fantasy in the vein of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell but it’s actually much more of a YA fantasy. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. Rather, the main character is sixteen years old and a lot of the action takes place at a private girls school. 

For me, it was like a combination of The Craft and Charmed. There’s a teen-witch coven, revenge against the mean girls, and romantic angst. Its expansive exploration of witchcraft and lore was wonderful and the author has woven a world of magic that is unlike anything I’ve read before. The reader can feel the magic building in the book and there’s a sense of anticipation about when the snapping point will come and what consequences it will bring.

“People think stories are harmless but they are the most dangerous weapon mankind has.”

Alongside this is the darker tale of the main character, Anna, who has suffered (and is still suffering) an abusive childhood and the coercive control of her aunt. She has been taught that magic is a sin and something to be hidden away. Unlearning years of insidious messages takes time and I appreciated how the author treated this subject with respect and nuance.

The final few chapters are absolutely gripping, leading to an epic magical showdown and the revelation of secrets that have been long buried. Engaging, wildly inventive, and addictive, Threadneedle is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.

(Goodreads | Amazon UK | Book Depository | Bookshop.org)

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