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Sorrow's Knot Hardcover – 29 Oct 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (29 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545166667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545166669
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,258,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Sorrow's Knot Otter is a girl of the Shadowed People, a tribe of women, and she is born to be a binder, a woman whose power it is to tie the knots that bind the dead--but she is also destined to remake her world.

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By Steven R. McEvoy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Erin Bow is a local author and though I have yet to meet her in person with each of her books I read I have a greater appreciation for her skill and talent as a written, from her poetry published as Erin Noteboom. This book was a very compelling read, once started it was always hard to put down. And I found that for days afterword's the story and characters kept coming back to mind. Sometimes remembering the events from the story and sometimes wondering what happened later.

Sorrow's Know is set in what could be comparably a Native agrarian socity. But it is a world haunted and living things are hunted and always need to be vigilant for every patch of darkness or shadow can contain the shadow beings that will enter you and consume you. Most people live in the plains away from trees, forests, hills, and there shadows. But some carve out an uneasy living in the forest, living in towns protected by wards made from magically knotted cords. Each young woman is chose to train or apprentice under another so that the community will always have the skills it needs to survive. Otter believe her mother will chose her to train as a binder under her as she becomes a woman and takes he place in society. She is devastated when Willow does not pick her and it is just the beginning of things becoming untied.

With a great darkness rising and an attack coming can the untrained and unprepared Otter figure out what needs to be done to save not only her friends but her whole village? This is an incredibly well written book give it a try!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Stunning and wonderful 6 Nov. 2013
By Liviania - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes I wonder about myself. Somehow I was surprised that a book named SORROW'S KNOT, a book about a young woman who binds the restless dead, was often creepy and sad. I read it right after finishing two cute books about magic kids who have adventures, and I think I was just expecting more of the same. SORROW'S KNOT is the best kind of different.

Otter, Kestrel, and Cricket are best friends on the cusp of adulthood. Something is going wrong, however. Otter's mother Willow, one of the tribe's two binders, is going mad. Otter always knew she would grow up to be a binder, but her future is beginning to look uncertain. Otter's journey to find her place and master her power is but one of the journeys in this book, however.

I find that I don't want to say too much. SORROW'S KNOT is a lovely book, and I think my confused expectations made it even better. I could often see Erin Bow setting the pieces up, but it was so lovely to see them fall into place. I fell headfirst into SORROW'S KNOT and let it tug on my heartstrings willy-nilly.

I will say that I particularly liked the romance in SORROW'S KNOT. For one thing, there are three best friends and no love triangle! Kestrel and Cricket love each other, and Otter is totally cool with that. (In fact, she finds it a little odd, because there are few married couples in their community. Men often move on because they have no binding power and are vulnerable to the dead.) When Otter does meet someone, they grow close due to desperate circumstance, but I didn't feel that the relationship proceeded too quickly.

I also loved the setting. There are not that many novels that draw on American Indian folklore. I thought Bow did a good job creating a fantasyland not entirely based on European culture. I liked that the main tribe was imperfect, but that they were trying to do their best to keep everyone safe. I liked that the matriarchal society Bow set up allowed her to focus on many different relationships between women. I like that there were other tribes who had very little in common with Otter's tribe.

I also loved the emphasis on story. I love stories about story, and SORROW'S KNOT is no exception. It's unsurprising that stories become important, given that Cricket is a storyteller, but they're used in such wonderful ways. And it meshes so well with the theme about secrets. After all, secrets are stories we don't tell.

SORROW'S KNOT is a wonderful book. And despite the darkness and sadness, it remains appropriate for kids. I might not hand it to a particularly sensitive or easily scared reader, but it is suitable for both middle grade and YA audiences.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fabulous Read 29 Oct. 2013
By Pam - mom-ish since 2000 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Love, love, love this book. Truly, SORROW'S KNOT is one of my top reads for 2013.

The story takes place in Westmost. It's a small isolated village at the western edge of known civilization. We aren't told how the eastern places are ruled but Westmost is governed by women. In fact, the only males there are children. (The boys, when they are old enough, leave and go down the river with the men who come to trade with the settlement.)

Westmost can exist there because of the binders. These are women who have the strength and knowledge to weave the knots that bind the evils outside. And the danger isn't wild animals as you'd think; but the dead.

The small-dead have always been. The lady warriors know how to kill these creatures of shadow, and the children know how to avoid them. But the White Hands are something far more ominous. They are newer creations and more powerful. These are human essences capable of engulfing souls and turning people's minds to madness.

It's when Otter's mother is touched by a White Hand that the simple life of Westmost spins out of control. For the community has no ready defense against the corruption of it's own Binder.

SORROW'S KNOT isn't a simple tale really. It's a story of love and friendship and madness. It has a fairytale sounding narrative, but the mood is dark. There are mysteries that unfold. Some things that remained masked by mists, and left for the reader to ponder.

What I love about this book -besides the excellent writing and characters - is that it manages to be both epic in nature, and yet very personal. It was utterly important to find out how White Hands were created. But painful to see the task fall to these three friends.

I HIGHLY recommend SORROW'S KNOT to readers who are in the mood for stylized narrative that will transport them to somewhere else.
Such a beautiful, creepy story. 27 April 2015
By Donna C - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Our February YAck book thanks to yours truly (and then voted on almost unanimously). I chose good. Because words. All the words. And the storytelling. And the characters. I did good.

I liked the storytelling in PLAIN KATE and I was so happy to see that not only did SORROW’S KNOT match that, it far surpassed it. The book is unique in that it’s a fantasy story set in only a slightly recognizable world but it’s also an old world story that could be pulled from native stories of people living in the here and now. That line is blurred. You want to associate the people in this world to something knowable and look at it as a kind of folk tale that has its roots in reality but at the same time it’s a fantasy world where the dead continue to live and people hold magic and protect villages from the dead. I love it. I constantly found my brain flipping between real historical folktale and entirely invented fantasy world and I think it made my reading experience so much better.

There’s a redundancy to the way the story is told and that method lends itself to a more oral storytelling tradition and further supports the feeling that this could be something the indigenous people have passed down across the generations. I found myself getting a little annoyed by it because at times it felt like filler but at the same time it only added to the storytelling. I’m walking back over my own feelings, I know. But that’s how it is with this one.

I didn’t feel wholly connected to any one character until Orca came onto the scene but I think that’s the storytelling. I remember feeling that way with PLAIN KATE too. The way in which the story is told lends itself to that distance and I can understand how people would feel disassociated from the characters but that doesn’t make them feel any less real. With Orca, because he was so different from the way things were in the village, he really seemed to pop once he made an appearance. Plus he was a take-no-crap character with a logical outlook on things and I really liked that about him.

I got a bit worried toward the end because I wasn’t sure how dark Bow was willing to go with it but I’m glad it ended the way it did. Traditions get broken and rewritten and someone just had to take that step to question the whys of things for it all to change. People get comfort from tradition and fear change but pain for the sake of tradition isn’t all that tolerable either and there are some who weren’t willing to just be okay with that.

The writing is gorgeous. I love Bow’s storytelling, I love her methods, I love her words. She makes the story feel timeless and lends it to you and tells you that it can be a piece of you if you just accept it. The stories she tells are timeless and transcendent and applicable to anyone. Like fairy tales but richer, deeper, broader. SORROW’S KNOT is one of those books that’ll keep speaking for years. It lives beyond trends and waves and will always be just a damn good book.

4.5
Could not put it down 14 Feb. 2014
By Steven R. McEvoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Erin Bow is a local author and though I have yet to meet her in person with each of her books I read I have a greater appreciation for her skill and talent as a written, from her poetry published as Erin Noteboom. This book was a very compelling read, once started it was always hard to put down. And I found that for days afterword's the story and characters kept coming back to mind. Sometimes remembering the events from the story and sometimes wondering what happened later.

Sorrow's Know is set in what could be comparably a Native agrarian socity. But it is a world haunted and living things are hunted and always need to be vigilant for every patch of darkness or shadow can contain the shadow beings that will enter you and consume you. Most people live in the plains away from trees, forests, hills, and there shadows. But some carve out an uneasy living in the forest, living in towns protected by wards made from magically knotted cords. Each young woman is chose to train or apprentice under another so that the community will always have the skills it needs to survive. Otter believe her mother will chose her to train as a binder under her as she becomes a woman and takes he place in society. She is devastated when Willow does not pick her and it is just the beginning of things becoming untied.

With a great darkness rising and an attack coming can the untrained and unprepared Otter figure out what needs to be done to save not only her friends but her whole village? This is an incredibly well written book give it a try!
Disappointing Read 30 Nov. 2014
By Sierra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book was such a struggle to finish and not for the usual reasons. It was actually a pretty decent book. I liked the characters, I thought the friendship between Otter, Kestrel and Cricket was handled phenomenally. And when I read the description of the book, I thought the premise was fresh and unique.

However, once I started reading the book... it just didn't hold my attention. It started off quite interesting, and then everything got incredibly confusing and it just never let up. I only really understood what was going on in the last 4 or 5 pages. And usually, if I am intrigued enough by the book, I would go back and re-read sections with the knowledge that I have now, having had finished the story. But nope. Can't do it. Some people might enjoy this, but it just wasn't for me. And I'm incredibly disappointed because I thought I would love this book.
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