Enebish, a warrior in the Sky King’s army, is a Night Spinner, capable of bending the darkness to her will. Or she was—until the night that her power broke free and she massacred innocent merchants instead of enemy soldiers. Enebish doesn’t remember that night; all she knows is that her adopted sister, Commander Ghoa, stopped the slaughter by severely injuring Enebish’s arm and leg, and then intervened with the Sky King on her behalf. Instead of being executed, Enebish was given traitor’s marks, cut off from her powers and sentenced to live out the rest of her days in a monastery. Two years later, Ghoa returns from the front lines with an offer: Return to the city, befriend Temujin—the leader of a group stealing vital supplies from the military—and deliver him into custody.
As Enebish gets closer to Temujin, she discovers that he’s been distributing the stolen supplies to impoverished shepherds whose winter grazing fields are damaged, while the Sky King and his army are doing nothing. She also learns that Temujin, like her, still prays to the forbidden First Gods rather than to the Sky King. Although Temujin’s cause may be just, Enebish still isn’t sure whether she can trust him. Caught between yearning for her freedom, loyalty to her family and her desire to know and do what is right, Enebish must learn how to be a warrior again, despite her fear of losing control.
Author Addie Thorley conjures a social setting drawn from an intriguing mix of cultures, in an environment that combines wintry tundra and harsh steppe, along with hints of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Its twisty plot, intriguing blend of magic and religion, and a vulnerable but noble narrator make Night Spinner perfect for readers looking for a slightly offbeat YA fantasy.