Upon witnessing a murder, priviledged Tess Willoughby’s life takes a sudden turn for bizarre and adventuresome. As if the death of the renowned London seer isn’t shocking enough, Tess is now charged with the keeping of the dead seer’s prophetic spinner ring, and a dangerous chain of events begins. There’s the revelation of a terrible family secret, Tess’s trapping on a merchant ship, and before she knows it, she’s unwittingly betrothed to the murderer himself, a man who wants nothing more than the power bestowed by the ring. Enter Will, an anomaly among the dirty, unpolished sailors, and the real heart-stopping adventure begins.
While part of a trilogy, in many ways, Quintspinner can easily be considered a standalone book, and I certainly appreciate that. When sagas break with huge cliffhangers, it tends to drive me a bit nuts. Still, I was left with a lot of questions, and some aspects of the story seemed to be forgotten in favor of the romantic aspect.
I will say I was a bit disappointed in the overall dark feeling of the book. I know that’s not exactly unheard of in young adult stories, especially not one that begins with a murder, but I expected something a little more lighthearted, even with the lurking danger that seemed to spring up from every crevice. Instead, there was a feeling of constant dread throughout the story, pained situations and scenes that were interrupted only by more danger, and while I enjoyed the infrequent moments of levity and hope, they were few and far between. There was violence, rape, and other harsh realities not really appropriate for younger readers. It’s a great story, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to those on the youngest end of the young adult age group.
Quintspinner is a fast-paced tale of heart-stopping adventure and redeeming romance. Tess, despite her prviledged upbringing, is out of character with typical eighteenth century London, and that’s a wonderful thing, as it allowed her to be strong, willful, and independent. She’s an easy heroine to love, so it’s no wonder Will was taken with her. Will is also easy to love, his respect for Tess’s engagement speaking well of his character. His chemistry with and devotion to Tess helped lighten the otherwise dark and at times cruel tale.
Lovers of fantasy may be a little disappointed, as that aspect of the story seems to be little more than a backdrop, with the romance and relationship side taking center stage, but I suspect that may be more fully explored as the series continues. Even though the book wasn’t what I expected, it was still an incredibly enjoyable read, fraught with tension and action and edge-of-your-seat suspense, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in Deadly Misfortune.