*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A brilliant weaver; a conscience stricken gardener; and a journey through deadly ancestral secrets.
An orphan’s weaving genius ignites the envy of her peers, the possessiveness of her mill, and the hopes of an unborn nation.
Furi knows she was born to create, but the fabric of her life otherwise weaves mysteries. These things are more than they appear:
Shin, the gardener, with his unlikely power over life and death;
A mysterious illness with a selective death route;
Kitsuke artist Madame Sato who would fashion Furi into a reincarnation of her own dead daughter;
A superstitious overlord with a fist of iron;
The princess of a figurehead emperor, who has strange loyalties to a humble gardener; and
The vaporous rumor of war with no apparent aggressor.
Spinning Silk is a light novel with a second generation twist on Japan’s traditional Tanabata tale.
A fascinating blend of Japanese mythology and customs, Spinning Silk tells the story of Furi, raised a peasant orphan and sold cheap to the first person to ask, despite her supernaturally exceptional skill with a loom.
There is romance and rebellion, slavery and creative freedom warring for dominance between these pages, and the details of life as a skilled craftsperson, and later artisan, are cast into relief by the cobwebs and shadows of gods, shapeshifters and spider demons.
The fantasy elements of the story are written in a factual manner and keep mostly within the bounds of the explainable, at least, until the reader is committed to Furi and her narrative enough to suspend their disbelief.
I found the constant peril of the metaphorical sword that Furi lived beneath had me on the edge of my seat throughout and my nerves were thoroughly wracked by the climax. The aftermath of the BIG DECISION felt a little anticlimactic after such an emotional build-up, and the results were summed up in rather a brief, dry manner (which fitted with the emotional tone of the narrative voice at the point of narration). However there is clearly more of this story to tell and so the good news is that the companion book, which shows the story from another perspective is already available… get it here!
Fans of Japanese folklore and fantasy-realism will enjoy the warp and weft of this well-spun narrative web.
“Make a wish, Furi. It’s Tanabata custom.”
“I can’t.” Among peasantry, expressing wishes was never encouraged, and I had learned to strangle mine before they could ever be fully formed.
Yoshi frowned. “Let me then.” He paused and met my stare with his grave black eyes, as if there were some moment to a wish’s superstition. “Someday you’ll wear the silk you reel from the silkworm cocoons.”
– T. Cook, Spinning Silk
Spinning Silk is available on Amazon right now!