Spindleheart: Trail of Shadow and Spool

Spindleheart: Trail of Shadow and Spool
Publisher Name
Over The Tall Shelf LLC
Age Range
Release Date
April 26, 2024
After failing her duty as the newly appointed Guardian of TallStalks, Wynn, a young intrepid swirlear, journeys far beyond the tangled stalks of her home to retrieve the very thing she was appointed to protect. A gilded chest passed down in her family for countless generations. As she races to find the magic-wielding culprit responsible for the chest's disappearance, she finds herself haunted not only by failure, but by the possible peril that would be unleashed if the chest were ever opened.
Eager to leave her village and past behind, Calla, a brash flower-elf, trains for a chance to enroll in an academy for gifted young casters. But when an unearthed family secret brings her sister and her into the most vicious part of the Agrestal lands, she not only questions her future, but the murkier parts of her past.
As each step draws them further into dangerous lands of the Agrestal, Wynn and Calla may find that survival may lie within confronting what they're trying to escape.

Editor review

1 review
Uncovering the mystery behind the shadows
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The book follows two stories told in alternating chapters of two larks, creatures that can talk, with separate journeys to travel. Wynn is a swivel-ear who has quested herself to retrieve an artifact that once protected her people. She is a guardian of it but a moment of cowardice resulted in its theft. The other story involves a magical lark named Calla who is worried about passing her tests to become a caster. This is Calla’s primary focus, especially after she breaks her staff until soldiers show up with a summons to appear before the Keepers of Runnelloom. Readers must wait until the book nears its end for the separate journeys of Wynn and Calla to finally merge.
Young readers will enjoy the variety of wilders especially Calla’s three pet twig-trots. Pye, Mischief, and Thimble look like small bushes but their behavior is reminiscent of three cats, each with its own personality. Other wilders come in a wide range of shapes and sizes that lead to curious encounters. A dead wisteria winged-moose is Calla’s first inkling that something is seriously wrong in the forests. Later, Calla is forced to eat web-tailed toads. She bravely faces a dangerous dande-boar while Wynn is forced to flee from a pack of badger-pines. The author adds horns, wings, sharp claws, and pointy teeth to familiar animals which makes them recognizable and frightening.
The two main characters are motivated to prove themselves due to past disappointments. As mentioned, Wynn is tasked with protecting an artifact but she’s distracted from her duties and cowers instead of stopping the thief. She doesn’t share details of the artifact when speaking to others and she’s determined to locate and stop a powerful caster named Blume. Calla takes a personal interest in discovering the reason wilders are dying across the lands. It seems it might involve magic but she feels insufficient with her casting after breaking her staff. Later, Calla is reunited with an older sister which creates a need to prove herself. However, Calla’s impulsiveness sometimes leads to unwanted consequences and causes old issues to return.
What didn’t work as well:
Each chapter begins with an illustration which is nothing new. However, they’re repeated in a pattern and often have nothing to do with the events in those parts of the plot. Pictures at the start of chapters in other books often give visual previews of what’s to come so the illustrations in this book are confusing.
The final verdict:
The author tenderly develops empathy for Calla and Wynn as they try to prove themselves. Readers should be prepared to read the sequel as the plot isn’t resolved and will carry over into the next book. Overall, the blend of strange characters and mysterious story is entertaining and I recommend you give this book a shot.
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