The weaver by Melanie Kanicky

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Shortlisted for the 2023 Aurealis Awards for Best Young Adult Novel, The weaver is an engaging story that is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy. Saatcha is a young woman who has taken over her father’s blacksmith forge when he falls ill. Because of the severe weather she sleeps in the attic of the shop as it is too cold to walk back to her house. When two thieves break into the forge they force her to leave her home behind and the unknown magic that has surrounded her begins to break down. Her eyes are opened to the deserted village, the grimy forge and the mouldy food that she has been eating. Her kidnappers are not ordinary thieves and she gradually learns that she has a vital role to play in the safety of the kingdom.

Told in the third person, the story smoothly brings the reader into the lives and thoughts of Saatcha, Kavarin and Ren. Saatcha is amazed at what her life was like, once the magic threads that bind her begin to disappear. Lovers of stories that feature magic libraries, a Librarian, and a sorcerous book will enjoy  Kanicky’s portrayal of the place that books and storytelling hold in Saatcha’s life. She is taken under the wing of the Librarian at Kavarin’s castle and gradually begins to learn to read and to uncover what is happening in the kingdom. She is adaptable and calm and readers, like me, will be keen to see her come into her powers. Kavarin and Ren’s personalities are multi-faceted and the romantic triangle between Saatcha, Kavarin and Ren will appeal to teen readers. The magic of weaving is unusual and the cold, dark sorcery of the king will bring shivers as he manipulates his people.

A couple of swear words (the ‘f’ word) appear and a jarring note (for me) was some modern phrases that did not fit into the fantasy setting but are likely to appeal to teen readers.

The weaver is a well written page turner with a beguiling cover that will grab its readers. The conclusion is open ended so hopefully there could be a sequel. Readers who enjoy books by Lynette Noni (The prison healer) and Brigid Kemmerer (Defy the night) are sure to enjoy this, while older readers may wish to look at some of Naomi Novik’s books like Uprooted and Spinning silver.

Themes: Fantasy, Magic, Friendship, Blacksmiths.

Pat Pledger