Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tea Time: A Single Thread

Part two of my three-part review series of Cait Spivey's THE WEB series is here! And, don't forget: there's a Goodreads giveaway going on right now for the first two books in the series. Make it to the bottom of the post, and enter!

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

A Single Thread (The Web #2), Cait Spivey

It’s been two weeks since Morgan Fletcher’s little sister, Erin, disappeared before his eyes in a flurry of spidersilk and blood. Probability says she’s dead; but when Erin comes to him in a dream, Morgan’s eyes are opened to a level of reality where probability doesn’t mean jack. His sister sees the web of time, and she’s got news for him: trouble is coming.

A cryptic riddle and flashing images of the future are all Morgan has to go on in order to save a mystery boy from a gruesome death. That’s if he even believes what’s happened to Erin. Is her spider-whisperer persona for real, or has his grief at losing her caused him to totally crack?
With a life at stake, Morgan isn’t taking any chances. Madness or no madness, he has to solve Erin’s riddle before it’s too late.(Cource:goodreads)

Narrative-The second installment of THE WEB series is told from the POV of Morgan Fletcher, whose little sister (Erin) was the narrator of the previous installment. What I found myself most curious about in this second installment was how the voice would change: a teenage girl vs. her older brother. It felt to me like a challenging shift, for the main reason that these are two very different people living in the same world.

Morgan's voice was definitely distinctive,  which is what I appreciated the most, even if it felt a bit forced and unnatural at times. Something about it made me read slower, since I kept getting hung up on some phrasing or another, and that's the biggest reason that I'm taking two stars off: I'm already typically a bit harsh when rating the narrative voice, and the clunky-ness of Morgan's didn't sit well with me as a reader.

Plot-A SINGLE THREAD takes off two weeks after the previous novella left off: Erin Fletcher and her girlfriend, Dawn, have simply disappeared. Erin's mother is catatonic and her brother feels like it's his fault for not looking after them. He's determined to find his sister, even calling up one of his cop buddies on occasion to see if there's news.

Then he gets bit by a spider and has a conversation with his missing sister, who's actually become the Ma Meri of time. She gives him a riddle that makes absolutely no sense, and tells him to save a random boy's life. So when Morgan wakes up, he has two options: listen to the specter of his sister and try to save a life, or shrug it off.

Then: vampires (and, really, I'm going to leave it at that. Because I'm cruel. And I think you should just read it).

I admit: I love riddles. I especially love when those riddles are in books, and they're done so well that the reader is just as lost as the character is. The plot of this novella was so excellently crafted around this strangeness and the fact that there are some very dangerous and supernatural things coming to town, and it was reflected well in both the tone, and the fact that the entire community was coming together to protect themselves against something. All they knew was that it was a threat, and they were trusting their instincts. It was a very human reaction to fear, and it was great to see.

What I do wish, however, was that more questions were answered. The questions surrounding the vampire woman are fine (by the end of the novella, you really only find out her name); the questions surrounding why she was choosing a particular victim were really never addressed (unless I missed them). Then there were questions about why Erin wanted the victim saved: what made him so important, or was it simply that she was trying to hold on to a part of herself that was still human? There was a bit of vagueness that I was eager to have cleared up by the time I reached the last page.

Beyond that, though, the mystery in this installment was fabulous.

Characters-Something I've come to learn and appreciate very quickly is how intense Spivey's characters are. Morgan, alone, carries with him a spectrum of emotion and motivation that centers around his sister, Erin: finding her, protecting her, thinking about her, inspired to do and believe anything that'll get him closer to figuring out what happened to her. This is why when the moment finally comes for him to see and talk to his sister, finally (in a dream brought on by getting bit by a spider, no less), he's willing to accept the riddle that she gives him. Either he's simply desperate for a connection to her, or the dream was real and he doesn't want to let her down.

Whatever the answer, Morgan does things like believe in vampires. He even finds/makes two wooden stakes in order to slay the vampire should he come across it. He approaches a girl he'd barely even talks to, and risks his own neck to save her brother. And, really, it's all because his sister told him to. After he figured out the riddle (with the help of a friend).

He's the big, bad brother I kind of wish I had.

Final Answer: 4 / 5

As promised, there's also a chance to win THE FIRST WEB, which is a paperback version of I SEE THE WEB and its sequel, A SINGLE THREAD. So if you're interested, check out this Goodreads Giveaway (open through March 31). You can also Buy Direct straight from Cait Spivey.

Meet the Author:

Cait Spivey is a speculative fiction writer and freelance editor. Fiction is a passion she doesn’t see giving up any time soon. In her spare time, she plans her next tattoo (there will always be a next tattoo) and watches too much Netflix. Anything left over is devoted to her tireless quest to make America read more. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her darling husband Matt and adorable dog Jay.

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Riddle me this: do vampires exist? A SINGLE THREAD @CaitSpivey got 4/5 stars from blogger @Rae_Slater. Read the review (Click to Tweet)

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