The Spinner of Dreams by K.A. Reynolds
Inventive, empathetic, and strange in all the best ways, The Spinner of Dreams draws from the author’s own experiences to create a story that feels timeless and universal. As she did in her debut The Land of Yesterday, K. A. Reynolds thoughtfully explores mental health and crafts an adventure that fits right alongside middle grade classics like The Phantom Tollbooth.
Annalise Meriwether—though kind, smart, and curious—is terribly lonely.
Cursed at birth by the devious Fate Spinner, Annalise has always lived a solitary life with her loving parents. She does her best to ignore the cruel townsfolk of her desolate town—but the black mark on her hand won’t be ignored.
Not when the monster living within it, which seems to have an agenda of its own, grows more unpredictable each day.
There’s only one way for Annalise to rid herself of her curse: to enter the Labyrinth of Fate and Dreams and defeat the Fate Spinner. So despite her anxiety, Annalise sets out to undo the curse that’s defined her—and to show the world, and herself, exactly who she is inside.
“With this haunting, wildly-imaginative, deeply-felt fairy tale, K.A. Reynolds proves to be a gifted dream spinner herself. A testament to the power of hope, determination, and of having a magical cat on your side.” (Anne Ursu, author of The Lost Girl)
“A magnificent and fantastical journey expertly woven with magic, imagination, and hope. Reynolds gently draws the reader to a place where fragile dreams are realized, where broken hearts are made whole. Readers will be utterly captivated.” (J.C. Cervantes, New York Times bestselling author of The Storm Runner)
Utterly thrilling and achingly poignant, The Spinner of Dreams positively brims with magic, mystery, and poetry. This is the kind of book I needed when I was eleven years old: the type that proves that girls can fight their demons and win. (Hayley Chewins, author of The Turnaway Girls)
Praise for The Land of Yesterday: “Told with riveting language, this is a poignant tale that will resonate with readers of all ages and leave them reeling from such an emotional, gorgeous story.” (Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of Aru Shah and the End of Time)
“From its first words, The Land of Yesterday has the pure crystal ring of a classic, like The Little Prince or The Phantom Tollbooth—beautiful, unique, and shimmering with truth. It’s a balm for grief, and a bursting fantastical joy of a story.” (Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer)
“Richly imagined, creative, and entertaining.” (School Library Journal)
I think this is a great starting book for MG readers to get into heavier fantasy. It was part fairytale, part adventure, part humanity, with some portal magic. There were talking animals, curses, strange creatures, and challenges. This book has a little bit of everything with beautiful writing.
When Annalise was born, her whole town became cursed by the Fate Spinner. Annalise had one hand that was larger than another with a broken black heart. She had purple eyes and blackberry colored hair. She was a strange girl, but her family loved her. Unfortunately, the cruelty of the people around her was terrible. They blamed Annalise for everything. They called her a monster. She never had a friend. Her mom found a hypoallergenic cat at the shelter (her dad is allergic) and the three went to see if they could adopt him. The cat was afraid of people, but he approached Annalise after she spoke to him. He came out of the cage and she saw that one of his paws was larger than the other. It felt like fate until the cat ran away. Looking into the cage, Annalise found a book.
Annalise felt that her hand was a monster. It had a mind of it’s own and destroyed things. She finally had enough and decided to enter the Labyrinth to find the Spinner of Dreams. Annalise wanted to control her own fate and wanted her life to be happy.
“Dreams are the one thing that must always be followed.”
Annalise quickly found out that she could talk to animals. She made her first friend on a train, a black fox trying to get back to his husband. She also met siblings who were nice to her. But the labyrinth was full of challenges. The Fate Spinner wanted Annalise to fail. She tried to turn everyone against her. Annalise finds things that help her along the way. She has memories from the past and gets information from the old king and queen. She is terrified, but kept finding her strength to go on.
“I think you’re just the girl for the job. The perfect candidate for greatness is often the one who feels least qualified.”
Annalise found out so much about herself on this adventure. She realized that by making her hand out to be evil, she was making it worse. Her big hand wasn’t a curse and helped her once she started to accept it. Annalise had to trust her heart and her instincts if she wanted to defeat the Fate Spinner and find her way to dreamland to have a dream granted.
“Always listen to the poets,” Esh-Baal said. “They are the secret keepers of dreams. And remember there is no dream without risk, no fear without courage.”
I really enjoyed the author’s note and hope you read it, too. I found it interesting that Annalise counts to four when stresses and she preferred right to left. I’ve counted things when stressed for as long as I can remember. For me, I prefer odd numbers. I honestly don’t know what it’s from, but it’s a way to calm myself and control something when things feel out of control. I appreciate the author sharing her story and how she included some of it throughout the book.
I gave this book 4 stars. Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my copy for review. Quotes are taken from an arc and may change before final printing.
Have you read The Spinner of Dreams? Is it on your TBR?
2 thoughts on “Review of Spinner of Dreams by K.A. Reynolds (digital arc)”
Good review, Kristi! 🙂 The author has deftly woven mental illness with fantasy. Seems a book worth reading.
LikeLiked by 1 person
LikeLiked by 1 person