The Spindle of Fate

Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2024. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250886194.
Gr 4-8–Twelve-year-old Evie has never seen eye-to-eye with her hardworking, no-nonsense mother. She always hated helping in her mom’s tailor shop and hearing the constant reminders that if Evie just worked harder, she could do better. Then her mom dies suddenly in a car accident, and Evie finds herself desperate for any remaining trace. When a talking monkey appears in the shop and tells Evie that her mom was the master of the mythical Spindle of Fate and is now trapped in Dìyù, the Chinese underworld, Evie goes on a quest with Kevin, the awkward son of another Guild member, to rescue her. This novel expertly weaves Chinese mythology with a story about grief. It is at its strongest when Evie is with her family and the other Guild members; it is weaker when Evie and Kevin are in Dìyù. Lim’s take on the underworld is a fresh one: Dìyù, while full of the typical horrors, is also a bureaucratic hell of red tape and missing paperwork that adults may find relatable, and kids will find amusing. Overall, the book is at its most compelling when focusing on families, grief, and healing. Evie’s journey will be one that builds empathy in readers, while having broad appeal with its fantasy and adventure plot.
VERDICT A worthy addition to any library where readers are gobbling up fantasy, and more importantly, a poignant story about family grief and love.

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