Sorrow's Knot-- Erin Bow

Release Date: October 29, 2013
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pages: 368
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
In the world of SORROW'S KNOT, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry, something deadly. Most of the people of this world live on the sunlit, treeless prairies. But a few carve out an uneasy living in the forest towns, keeping the dead at bay with wards made from magically knotted cords. The women who tie these knots are called binders. And Otter's mother, Willow, is one of the greatest binders her people have ever known.

But Willow does not wish for her daughter to lead the lonely, heavy life of a binder, so she chooses another as her apprentice. Otter is devastated by this choice, and what's more, it leaves her untrained when the village falls under attack. In a moment of desperation, Otter casts her first ward, and the results are disastrous. But now Otter may be her people's only hope against the shadows that threaten them. Will the challenge be too great for her? Or will she find a way to put the dead to rest once and for all?
Blurb: An AWESOME story, but not one to read if your brain is tired.

Review: I am a HUGE fan of the author's first book, Plain Kate, and so I had really high hopes for this book. I loved this story and the world and the characters. HOWEVER I never really understood what was going on...

This was one of those books (and maybe there's a word for this?) where they never actually come out an explain anything. You are just supposed to piece things together by watching the characters live their lives. And maybe it's just because my brain is super tired from my penultimate semester, but I just could never wrap my brain fully around anything. I found myself CRAVING an omniscient narrator who would explain the rules of the world to me, or a new character to stumble in so that the existing characters would have to explain what was going on to him/her. And even though a new character eventually DID stumble into the world, the existing characters DIDN'T explain anything. At least, not more than they already had. They expected the new character to figure it out, just like me.

Things that I wish had been more fully explained:

1. What exactly is "binding"? Where did it come from? How was it discovered? Why does string have power? Does ANY kind of knot have power?

2. Where do the dead come from? Are the non white-hands recognized as being the dead versions of people who were once alive, or are they just mysterious malevolent spirits? (honestly, I only JUST realized that the dead hide in shadows, and that's why the traveling folk don't come to the forest often. They're trying to avoid shadows.)

3. How is the society organized? I was kind of able to piece together the idea of the cords, but I would have liked to know more about the different kinds and options, what it takes to belong in each.

4. Why aren't there very many boys? Why do only women have power? Has there EVER been a boy with power? Do the boys leave because they DON'T have power, or just because it's the norm for boys to leave?

I THINK that all of these things were in the book somewhere, but they were never explicitly explained. And so I feel like in order to answer these questions I'd have to do a lot of guesswork and fill-in-the-blank. And even if someone were to tell me the answers to these questions now... I still wish I had been able to find them in the story.

With all that said, I did REALLY enjoy the book. Maybe if I had gone into it after having read some kind of author's note or summary it would have helped. OR if this had been a book club book and so I could now TALK to people about it. But as it is, here I am 400 pages later and I'm STILL not quite sure what happened...

Other Reviews (TBA):
  • TBA (Loved it!)
  • TBA (It was okay)
  • TBA (Didn't Like It.)

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2013
*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

1 comment:

  1. Erm, we think you left those "other links" TBA on accident? Hehe.

    Good review, though! We normally don't mind when things aren't spelled out, but it sounds like in this case it was a bit too confusing, to the point of the questions being distracting from the good story and characters. That's a shame. :/


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