Threadwalkers

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Threadwalkers hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Threadwalkers was first published in 2017 and is Joanna Volavka’s debut novel. It is a science fiction story which focuses on a teenager whose life is literally unravelling before her very eyes. The book reads as though it is the first part of a series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

When Miranda Woodward was a child, she found that she could hear voices that no one else could. When she tried to tell others about this, she found that only her father believed her and eventually seemed to lose this ability altogether. However, following her father’s death, Miranda found that she started to hear the voices again. At the same time, her life suddenly took a turn for the strange.

The changes were small at first. Her cat vanished and was replaced by another, and the date of her father’s death became ten years prior rather than a few months. Nobody else noticed these inconsistencies and Miranda started to feel as though she was losing her mind. However, things quickly became more serious. People that she knew for her entire life began to forget her name and her mother disappeared without a trace.

With nowhere else to turn, Miranda follows a clue left by her father to a man who calls himself the Tailor. Only he can explain what is happening to her and give her the training that she needs to put everything right. However, even he cannot answer the great mystery that plagues her. Why is it that her father entrusted her with a spool of golden thread that only she can see?

Threadwalkers is an incredibly strong debut novel that is quick to engage the reader and keep them hooked. However, I must admit that I did feel a little lost in the early chapters. The novel puts you firmly in Miranda’s shoes and so you experience her confusion as her life stops making sense. While this is initially quite disorientating, it soon becomes apparent that this is entirely the point. Because of this, I’d recommend that readers stick with it for a while. The threads really start to come together once Miranda meets with the Tailor, swiftly building into an exciting mystery.

At its heart, Threadwalkers is a story about time travel, which is a really difficult genre to write well. I haven’t reviewed a lot of time travel stories on this blog, but I did touch on this way back in my reviews of the Timeriders series. If you’re not careful, you can really tie yourself in knots and create rather unforgivable plot holes. However, Volavka skilfully managed to avoid these pitfalls and present a story that was pretty solid on the whole.

The mechanics of “threadwalking” as a concept are really original and I loved the running analogy of the universe being like a crumpled sheet which is used to explain how everything works. Basically, the novel takes a non-linear view of time, asserting that special people can push through into other periods in places where two timelines touch. It’s a refreshingly different idea that worked a little like a cross between Looper and the His Dark Materials series in practice. It’s that kind of thrilling time travel that comes with the constant risk of you preventing yourself from ever being born, which is always fun to read.

If I had to nitpick anything about this concept, it would be how sparingly it is used in the novel. Miranda doesn’t actually do a lot of threadwalking and, when she does, she only travels back a few months at the absolute most. Sometimes, it wasn’t even obvious that she had walked at all, as the process of moving between worlds can be really subtle. While I appreciated that the novel didn’t focus on her going to prehistory, World War II or the Victorian Era (the subjects of every time travel story ever), it still felt a little mundane. The sky is legitimately the limit in time travel stories – they’re a great opportunity to be really creative!

The plot of Threadwalkers is largely self-contained and therefore stands on its own pretty well. I’m not going to go into much more depth about it here as there are a fair few twists and turns, but it was always easy to follow and really well paced. While it’s simple enough to get a handle on what’s going on, the novel still does leave a lot of questions unanswered. We never truly learn what happened to Miranda’s father (died in a plane crash feels far too straightforward) or where the golden thread came from. I’m also curious who the little boy who rescued Miranda from the editors is, as Miranda did think that he seemed familiar. However, at least the novel ended well. It wrapped up Miranda’s first adventure, while leaving me curious to see what would happen next.

While the villains of the story were a little bit faceless, I did find that I got really attached to the secondary characters. Over the course of the novel, Miranda gets to meet a handful of other threadwalkers, but doesn’t really get to learn a lot about any of them. I was really curious about why Jake seems to never really leave the Library, and what exactly Bridget was fleeing from when she discovered her power. I hope that subsequent stories spend more time fleshing these out, as I do want to know more about them.

Miranda’s character is one of the things that I found most compelling about the story. She is a really sympathetic protagonist and you could feel her confusion and helplessness as reality started to break down around her. Although her situation is bizarre, her attitude towards it felt genuine. Her lack of understanding made her vulnerable but she was driven by a desire to protect her family and put her timeline back to normal.

It was also truly refreshing to read a young adult novel that did not contain a romantic subplot. Nine times out of ten, these get shoehorned into stories even when they don’t make any sense being there. The fast pace of this novel left no space for romance to develop and left more room to focus on things that were more important to Miranda – friendship and family – which, at the end of the day, is the most important thing.

So, I think I’ve said enough. All in all, Threadwalkers was a really strong novel and an intriguing start to the series. While it does leave a lot of questions unanswered, it left me curious enough to want to read more. I can’t wait to see what adventures lie in store for Miranda in future instalments.

Threadwalkers can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on Amazon.co.uk

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Giselle [Xpresso Reads]
    Mar 06, 2018 @ 14:03:55

    Great review! This sounds like a fun debut and very well written! Glad you liked it! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Threadwalkers Blog Tour: day 2 | Joanna Volavka

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