This is a guest review by Tom (aka Well Read Boy), who came to our bookclub author event with Claire Barker last month and was inspired to start his own blog. You can follow his reviews here: https://wellreadboysreviews.water.blog/
The Snow Spider is an unsettling story of grief and magic, based on Welsh mythology. It is set on a remote farm in Wales during a bleak winter.
Gwyn is a boy whose life changed forever on his 5th birthday when his sister was lost on the mountainside in a blizzard without a trace.
Ever since, Gwyn’s family has been overcome with grief and each of them has reacted differently. Gwyn’s father blames him for Bethan’s disappearance and shows him no love or affection. His mother can’t accept the fact that her daughter has gone. His Grandma, Nain, stops telling him stories of the Welsh wizards, even though she is bent on believing that the family is related to the legendary magician, Gwydion.
Four years later, on Gwyn’s 9th birthday, Nain gives him five magical gifts to see if he had inherited his ancestor’s magical powers. Not only is he facing troubles in his school life and has to deal with the loneliness of becoming a magician, but he also unleashes dark magic from the depths of Celtic mythology, which endangers his family and friends.
With the help of the mysterious snow spider, Gwyn releases his inner magician and does things he never thought possible including achieving his heart’s desire.
I thought this was an inspiring, sad and dark tale that brought shivers up my spine. It kept me thinking long after I finished the book as things are not what they may seem…