Author: Cari Thomas
Series: The Language of Magic #1
Release Date: 27/5/2021
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 50
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from HarperVoyager ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.
Magic is the first sin. It must be bound.
Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.
It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.
Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?
Oh how do I describe this one, other than I really enjoyed it. This just created such an interesting world. I love when a book lets you discover a secret magical world hidden behind what appears to be mundane and that is exactly what Threadneedle does with its worldbuilding. We have vintage shops filled with magical items, magical libraries buried under the British library and nightclubs that resemble the fairy court scenes from Shakespeare! All this is tucked into modern British living, it makes the magical world seem accessible. The magic itself also seems very accessible too. I loved how many different ‘languages’ of magic there were and I really wish we had got to learn more about them.
It felt like the magic system had a note of Wicca and Modern Witch craft about it, particularly in its rituals, taking snippets of herb lore, binding magics, candle magic, elemental magic and then expanding them out. I love how many every day things had a magical solution such as magical makeup and dresses, to skeleton keys. I really enjoyed how the teenage characters responded to exploring their magical power. The acted exactly how you would expect, using it to attract boys, to get their own back on the mean girls, to feel popular and pretty. It had that ring of authenticity, like the Wicca craze of the early 00’s – girl up and down the country were doing candle spells to chase away rumours etc. This part exploring that magic and those friendships was just so great.
It really worked well with the other side to the plot which was Anna’s home life. The Binders and the knot magic had a darker tone. It reflected a much more dangerous side to the magic, where people were in danger of becoming fanatical, seeing magic as both dangerous and a curse itself but also to continue using it, granting themselves status and power. It was a really great juxtaposition, giving the lighter magic a more teenage rebellious feel. I really liked how the plot played out, there were lots of moments of double crossing and twists I just didn’t see coming. I found the romance a little bland but it did lead again to some good twists and turns. I really loved the conflict Anna went through. not knowing who to trust or believe or even what she wanted out of it all. All the doubt and fear, yet curiosity and excitement she felt just made her such a great character. We really got to see her grow in strength too.
It does to me read more YA than adult fiction (which is what it was marketed as in the UK) but I love a well written and well constructed YA. I found this such a compelling read with strong characters, that made me want to read more. I do hope that there is a series so we can keep exploring the magic.