Mini Book Review: Threadneedle (The Language Of Magic #1), by Cari Thomas

General Fiction/Fantasy |eARC Netgalley | Kindle Pages: 400 |Publishing: 27th May 2021 | Publisher: HarperCollins UK/Harper Fiction

“Magic Is The First Sin. It Must Be Bound.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.75 Stars

Synopsis: Anna has been taught that magic is a sin, and so it must be bound. Her mother died because of magic, and her aunt does not want the same to happen to her. Her aunt teachers her the way of the Binders, the way of bound magic. But, when Anna meets new witches she begins to question whether magic is truly a sin.

CW/TW: abuse/neglect/murder/bullying/ others may be present.

Threadneedle, by Cari Thomas is, undoubtedly, a unique and captivating read – the magic and characters are compelling and interesting, and the plot is full of surprising twists and turns- but it feels quite YA. Now, I love YA, but I went into this expecting it to be Adult fiction, so the significant focus on school took me by surprise. The plot itself is complex and mysterious, gripping you and keeping you reading – it did feel a little tangled at times and a slow in the middle, but overall the secrets and mysteries is enough to keep you reading.

The prose is a strong point of the book, easy to read but maintains a beauty to it. It perfectly captivates the magic in this world, and the different types, is compelling and full of beautiful descriptions, and evokes emotion perfectly. The narrative we get is that of Anna’s, it is a strong narrative that gives us enough insight into Anna and the world but also aids the mystery and suspense pervading the novel. Anna’s closed off lifestyle means we learn things alongside her, and feel amazed when she see new, beautiful forms of magic that exist aside of her knot magic. Not only that, the narrative allows us to see the complexities of magic, of being a witch, particularly with the knot magic used. The combination of the narrative and prose avoids any info-dumps, and let’s us learn about the world in a natural way, through Anna’s lessons and observations of others. The pacing is decent throughout, though it does feel slow in the middle, particularly with the school drama that occurs, and picks up again at the end.

The plot is compelling, with Anna on her way to become a Binder, the mystery of the Faceless Women, the death of Anna’s parents and the introduction of the witches who befriend Anna, each element comes together to create an interesting story of choice, magic and love. Anna and her aunt’s story is very strong, from believing in her aunt and trusting her, to her aunt’s abusive behaviour and finally to her aunt’s desire to have Anna bound – it is all around a strong thread that pulls at the heartstrings, horrifies you, and keeps you engaged. The mystery behind Anna’s parent’s death was also a strong element to the plot, adding decent amounts of horror and mystery to the story and keeping you guessing right up until the end.The death of The Faceless Women was equally compelling, I wish there had been more on this, though since this is the start of a series so it is likely to be a stronger point later on. The school element of the story was, for me, weaker – I liked the friends Anna made, but the plot within the school didn’t interest me as much – perhaps because I was not prepared for this YA element, but part of me feels like the story could have been stronger with a slightly older cast of characters. The plot twists were good though, shocking and surprising throughout and the explosive ending was a fantastic conclusion to the book, leaving us in suspense for the next instalment.

The characters were, for the most part, incredibly strong. Each are clearly defined with their own strong personalities, each with their own flaws, making them realistic. The relationships between the characters were also interesting, messy and real – with conflicts, resolutions and fallouts. Anna is a complex character, conditioned into being invisible, dutiful, bound. Her rebellion is not achieved in a single act, and slowly escalates as it would with any 16 year old- despite my hesitations for the younger cast, they were written well and had the impulsivity and rebellious natures of a teenager which did play out realistically. Effie was another strong character, a force of nature who was compelling from the start and Anna’s stark opposite – flawed and cruel at times but more to her than meets the eye. Rowan and Manda were interesting in their own right, though Rowan was a favourite of mine (as was her mum, an absolute cinnamon roll of a woman and not to be messed with – I loved her as soon as she was introduced). Attis, a mystery of a character was compelling throughout as well, cocky and clever, but not infuriating, he is the kind of character you feel drawn too – even when it feels like they are hiding something. Aunt and Selene; Aunt is cold, cruel and a very strong character – composed, determined and narrow minded – I hated her but her character was extremely well crafted. Selene is the opposite of Aunt, all about love, freedom, and is flaky – always travelling, or with a man, but seems to have a big heart and soft spot for Anna.

The magic was very interesting throughout. The different types, the way it is used, different witches approaches – it was rich, captivating and well written – another strong point in the story. I loved the magic, it was very unique and original from the complex knot magic to the flexibility of Selene’s.

Overall, this book was an enjoyable read, with strong characters, interesting magic, and a compelling plot. However, it does feel slow at times and the plot feels a little tangled in the middle. But the twists and turns are shocking and the explosive ending keeps you wanting more.

*I received an eARC via #Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – thankyou!*


  1. […] Mini Book Review: Threadneedle (The Language Of Magic #1), by Cari Thomas – Netgalley eARC – ⭐⭐⭐✨ (3.75 Stars) – “Magic is the first sin, it must be bound”. Taken in by her aunt after the tragic loss of her parent’s, Anna has lived a life of strict rules permeated by the belief that magic is a sin. As she prepares for her binding, Anna befriends a group of witches who challenge her belief that magic is a deadly sin. Torn between what she has known all er life and the possibilities in front of her, Anna must fight for what she really wants, but is there more to her fate than it seems? […]


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