Sorrow's Knot

Erin Bow's young adult novel is about what lurks in the shadows and the one girl who may have the powers to fight against them.

Erin Bow

In the world of Sorrow's Knot, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry, something deadly. Most of the people of this world live on the sunlit, treeless prairies. But a few carve out an uneasy living in the forest towns, keeping the dead at bay with wards made from magically knotted cords. The women who tie these knots are called binders. And Otter's mother, Willow, is one of the greatest binders her people have ever known.

But Willow does not wish for her daughter to lead the lonely, heavy life of a binder, so she chooses another as her apprentice. Otter is devastated by this choice and what's more, it leaves her untrained when the village falls under attack. In a moment of desperation, Otter casts her first ward, and the results are disastrous. But now Otter may be her people's only hope against the shadows that threaten them. Will the challenge be too great for her? Or will she find a way to put the dead to rest once and for all? (Arthur A. Levine Books)

From the book

The girl who remade the world was born in winter.

It was the last day of the Nameless Moon, and bitterly cold. For as long as she could, the girl's mother, whose name was Willow, walked round and round the outside of the midwife's lodge, leaning on the earthen walls when pains came fiercely. Willow's hair was full of sweat, and her body was steaming like a hot spring. She was trailed by a mist of ice that glittered in the bitter sunlight. She looked like a comet.

She looked like what she was: a woman of power.

Willow was a binder: a woman whose power and duty it was to tie the knots that bound the dead. But her knots could do more than that. When the time was right, she went into the midwife's lodge, and there, as the last binder had taught her, Willow let her power turn backward and undid the knot between herself and her baby, and made an easy birth.

From Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow ©2013. Published by Scholastic.