A fun twist on mythical retellings!

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The premise of Threads That Bind feels a little like a vision board for YA viral success: part mystery and part mythology, with a nod to fanfic's soulmate trope in the form of a fated connection. I wasn't sure whether Hatzopoulou could deliver on the promise of the plot, but after 2 straight nights of staying up past my (admittedly early) bedtime to read, I have to admit that she's on to something.

The main character, Io, is a private investigator with the ability to cut people's lifelines—a gift (or curse) she inherited as a descendant of the Fates. She lives in a world full of other-born: people with god-given abilities whose natural advantages are undercut by society's distrust in their powers. Hatzopoulou has come up with a cool take on mythical retellings, and the world of the novel is animated by familiar characters and ideas without being wedded to the specific story lines of ancient myths. As a result, there's a modern grit to Io's investigation into the person turning women into murdering wraiths, and her efforts to navigate her fated connection to Edei (cute, supportive, funny...also a gang enforcer) feel sweet instead of icky. I was impressed by the complexity of the novel's characterization: the major players in the novel are defined by complicated and shifting motivations, and almost everyone is sympathetic in one way or another. The elements of the mystery were occasionally challenging to follow, and the novel ends abruptly (why are YA series allergic to closure?), but Threads That Bind is an undeniably fun read.

My high school students have transformed their childhood devotion to Rick Riordan into a more general interest in mythical retellings, and for the last few years Madeline Miller's Circe and Song of Achilles have been among the most popular texts in my classroom. Threads That Bind serves as a kind of middle ground between these texts: more mature, certainly, than Riordan's series, but more approachable than Miller's adult-focused works. It feels destined (see what I did there?) for YA success.

Thanks to Bookish First and Razorbill for the ARC!