On Gwyn’s 9th birthday, his grandmother tells him he may be a magician, like his Welsh ancestors. She gives him five gifts to help him–a brooch, a piece of dried seaweed, a tin whistle, a scarf, and a broken toy horse. One blustery day, unsure what to do with his newfound magic, Gwyn throws the brooch to the wind and receives a silvery snow spider in return. Will he be able to use this special spider to bring his missing sister, Bethan, home? THE SNOW SPIDER spins an icy, sparkly web of mystical intrigue that sets the stage for the next two books in this outstanding trilogy!
I was absolutely enchanted by this story of a young boy searching for his lost sister. Gwyn discovers that he is a magician, and he can use his magical abilities to call his sister, Bethan, back home. She has been missing for four years, and Gwyn’s family is broken by her loss. Through a series of magical encounters, Gwyn searches for his sister and discovers his own powers.
The setting is in the Welsh countryside, which immediately gives a sense of legend and myth to the story. The magic system that Gwyn learns is very wild and mysterious. The magic seems to work more on instinct than by any rules or definite actions. If Gwyn wishes for something and focuses on what he wants, his magic will go out into the world and bring something back to him that will help him accomplish his goals. That is how Gwyn first releases the Snow Spider, and gains her help in his quest for his lost sister.
I loved Gwyn’s character! He is so plucky and brave, but he also has a moral courage and an optimism in the face of darkness that really impressed me in so young a child. Seeing his relationship with his father was upsetting at first, but gratifying in the end. Their relationship is one of the main developments in the story, and it’s beautifully written.
As always, Jenny Nimmo’s writing is charming and delightful. It pulls you into the story with such original and imaginative details. I just love her books! I can’t wait to read the rest of this trilogy!