by Emmi Itäranta
Cover Artist: Photo: Katerina Lomonosov / Trevillion Images
Review by Mel Jacob
Harper Voyager Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062326171
Date: 01 November 2016 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Weaver is the second novel by Emmi Itaranta and features weaver Eliana who is haunted by nightmares. She struggles to hide this from all for fear she would be sent to the House of Tainted, a prison for dreamers. Alva, a healer helps Eliana recover and continue as a web weaver. The House of Webs makes delicate hangings that confuse the unwary and protect the House of Webs.
Eliana's brother works in the House of Words copying texts that are later burned. They are all the family that remains. They are part of a conspiracy of dreamers.
A strange injured woman is brought to the House of Webs. She has been badly beaten and her tongue cut out. Her palm bears a tattoo of Eliana's name. She has no knowledge of the girl.
The tale of the island community and its strange customs moves slowly as Eliana becomes more adventuresome and explores the depths of the island and learns more about the strange girl. The two form a bond and Eliana teaches her to write. Her parents were killed when an air gondola crashed. The girl's father had inscribed the invisible ink tattoo with Eliana’s name on the girl's hand.
Two city guards come and go, but with sinister auras. Eventually the girl disappears, and Eliana is determined to find her. The unrest, natural and manmade grows worse. However there is no escape from the island.
The Weaver is a bleak dystopian tragedy. Some readers will find the story dark, obscure, and slow-moving as the author's lyrical prose meanders through a tale as complex as any web woven by the weavers. Motivations of some characters are unclear. The climax leaves much in doubt.