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Spindle and Dagger por J. Anderson Coats
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Spindle and Dagger (edição 2020)

por J. Anderson Coats (Autor)

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2811673,495 (3.58)1
Título:Spindle and Dagger
Autores:J. Anderson Coats (Autor)
Informação:Candlewick (2020), 304 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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Spindle and Dagger por J. Anderson Coats

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Mostrando 1-5 de 11 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


The copy I received was littered with typos which often brought me out of the story and made it hard to follow at points, however, I still found the protagonist very plain. This book had a lot of potentials I found the idea around the main character possibly being a saint and being mistaken for her miracles was interesting, but she MC was quite boring. She didn't really do much other than follow the warlord around and I wanted to learn more about the mythology. ( )
  afrozenbookparadise | Apr 22, 2021 |
Well...I will start the review by saying that I am not sure why this book is marked as YA. Is it because, apart from one instance, there isn't any death shown? Perhaps the accessible language? I hope so, because the tag really only applies if you squint so hard you can only see "isn't death" and "-ssible language".

So what makes this book so dark? Enjoying the story through the eyes of a person suffering from severe PTSD and a sprinkle of Stockholm syndrome on top is a start. This is the first book I read that shows episodes of such severity from first person perspective in an age when mental illnesses were not really a thing so the heroine is left to fend for herself and her problems. It is quite brutal. Nothing is said explicitly, you see everything through quick flashes of Elen's traumatic experiences from when she was 14 years old.

Unfortunately, everyone else but Elen were one of the points why I had to lower my score. Apart from the main "antagonist" and Nest, everyone was a blank. Some characterization on Rhys, but rest is seen through the lens of Elen and she basically only fears people and we don't really know much beyond that. Nest has a supporting role and we also don't learn much about her besides her role in the story and the main antagonist is basically an idiot. Not like he is not intimidating, but his actions through the stories actually grate on anyone with half a brain.

Which brings me to the second issue - the historicity. Now, historical fiction is a broad genre. Usually it being set in an era from the past already makes it historical fiction. Some readers may put it into a bit higher standard and search for actual historical fact. I do not believe there was much of it here and you will not leave this story with much knowledge. Let me show some points:

The author makes a good point in saying that so far in history you only really work with legends and they tend to favor the side writing them. I do not believe the way to "even the odds" is to simply turn it upside down and now favor the other side. It makes it equally nonsensical.

The Normans were not good people like this book tries to show (for sake of plot). They were a product of their age, sure, but they were brutal conquerors and they definitely were not magnanimous to those perceived as enemy - in this case Welsh into which lands they wanted to expand. I understand this story needed some good guys but they were TOO good. Also they were so scarce that even any semblance of threat by them was nonexistent.

The main antagonist was an absolute donkey. I have no idea why the author didn't make him more sinister and smart. Considering the history of the character, I highly doubt he was as big of an imbecile as shown and the reason given doesn't really work. He is legitimately laughably stupid. It was jarring and honestly infuriating and always made me wonder why is he even the bad guy when all he is doing is the equivalent of walking into poles or, more appropriately, blindfolding self and walking into traffic.

Leather armor...historically it probably existed, but mostly limited to protecting limbs and even then on poorer fighting men. Most people running around in the story would have chain-mail. Normans had it, Donkey boy would have it too being a prince. His band would prolly steal it off corpses. I felt everyone just ran around in leather.

Lastly - the language. It felt modern. Not a negative though as it just made reading the story accessible to modern reader.

Solid book, worth a read and with it being so beautiful in physical print, it would be a shame not to have it decorate a shelf. Seriously that cover is gorgeous. ( )
  Deceptikitty | Nov 24, 2020 |
Literary Merit: Fair
Characterization: Fair
Recommended: No
Level: High School and above

I don’t read much Historical Fiction, but there has to be better novels out there. Elen’s home was attacked by Owain’s warband. Elen saved herself by deceiving Owain. Owain believes that Elen's presence blessed him with the protection of Saint Elen. (Cool premise, but the book is so boring and depressing.) Elen is saved because of her quick thinking. She convinced herself that she is content until Owain abducts Nest and her three children. Honestly, I wish this book was about Nest, because she was far more interesting than Elen.

Elen was sexually assaulted by one of Owain’s warband members and is forced to live with his presence daily. Elen might have Stockholm syndrome because she saves Owain in the end of the book. ( )
  SWONroyal | Nov 18, 2020 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
I thought this book was written for Young Adults because that is what this author is best known for writing. However, I'm not sure I would feel comfortable giving this book to just any teenager. There are quite a few adult themes and I think I would recommend a reader be adult. (Of course I may be out of touch with what teenagers are reading these days so maybe it is commonplace; I do think that the author has branched out into historical fiction for an older audience here.)

Elen and her family were poor farmers living in Wales in the early twelfth century. The son of the king of Powys, Owain ap Cadwgan, raided their home with his warband. Elen was the only one who survived. She did it by healing Owain's wound and telling him that he was guarded by St. Elen who would not let anyone kill him as long as he kept Elen by his side. So Elen became Owain's companion and bedmate. But the horrors of the raid on her home and the killing of her sisters and parents remained with her. She thought she was safe with Owain and that was her primary goal. Then Owain came home from raiding the castle of a Norman lord with the lord's wife, Nest, and three children in tow. This sparks a manhunt for Owain and anyone with him. There goes Elen's safety and security and she needs to re-evaluate her choices.

It seemed to me that the author did a good job of researching the time period. I especially appreciated the pronunciation guide provided at the beginning of the book. I'm not quite sure I buy Elen's decision to throw her lot in with Owain after he and his men killed the rest of her family. It does make for an interesting dynamic though especially when Nest comes on the scene. ( )
  gypsysmom | May 5, 2020 |
A quiet story one girl become woman finding a place for herself admist unglorious medieval realities.

When raiders slaughtered Elen’s family, she traded desperate promises for a chance to live. Owain ap Cadwgan would never fall to the sword, so long as he kept the blessing of Saint Elen by protecting her the girl who bore her name. So says Elen, and to her relief, Owain believes. But as the years pass, Elen begins to wonder if it would have been better to have never made the bargain at all.

The writing reads easy, although this slow, character-driven historical-fiction is not for everyone. In many ways, I was reminded of Tess of the Road, although lacking such a strong character voice.

Elen’s journey doesn’t jump out as heroic. She doesn’t become a fighter, or plot vengeance, or indulge in petty sabotage against her overlords. Her entire struggle is coping with traumatic memories and coming to a place of being able to hope for living a normal, peaceful life.

To the author, I say thank you, thank you for the welsh pronunciation guide. I’m sure I still got it all wrong, but I liked being able to try.

I think I remember seeing some debate as to whether this is really a YA book. Yes, it is. Nothing explicit, and the instances of abuse are alluded to in such a way that it would pass over your head if you didn’t know what to look for.

**Thanks to Netgalley and Candlewick for the ARC** ( )
  Pascale1812 | Apr 16, 2020 |
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