Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review of Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

Sorrow's Knot
In the world of Sorrow’s Knot, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry and nearly invisible, something deadly. The dead can only be repelled or destroyed with magically knotted cords and yarns. The women who tie these knots are called binders.

Otter is the daughter of Willow, a binder of great power. She’s a proud and privileged girl who takes it for granted that she will be a binder some day herself. But when Willow’s power begins to turn inward and tear her apart, Otter finds herself trapped with a responsibility she’s not ready for, and a power she no longer wants.

(Summary from GoodReads) 

Several things about Sorrow's Knot caught my attention when it first came out.  I'd heard good things about Erin Bow's books, but I was also intrigued by the setting and the magic.   There are a lot of things that Sorrow's Knot does well, but it's not a story I fell in love with.
I'm not sure if I preferred the writing or the characters in this book, because it is beautifully written.  I also got pretty attached to all of the characters--Otter, Kestrel, Orca, Cricket, and Kestrel.  They were all distinct and full of genuine emotion, talent, and at times, pain.  Bow weaves a storytelling element in throughout the novel, and although it's good, it felt as though it could have been done better.
I struggled a lot with the magic system in this book.  It was mildly interesting and I understand why Otter had her ups and downs with it, but the inexplicable spark that would make this book click for me just wasn't there.  A lot of good and bad things happen throughout this story and I never quite felt like the pacing or timing was right.  I wasn't fanatical about where the story ended.
Readers seeking a quieter, thought-provoking folktale type story with a bit of fantasy might enjoy Sorrow's Knight. While there is a lot of emotion behind this story, Bow's pacing and worldbuilding are always just off enough that this isn't a story that truly stuck with me.  I went into this story with a lot of expectations, but even without those, I'm not sure I would have been satisfied.

Disclosure: I received an electronic galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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  2. I HIGHLY recommend SORROW'S KNOT to readers who are in the mood for stylized narrative that will transport them to somewhere else.

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