‘The Severed Thread’ by Leslie Vedder: ‘Bone Spindle’ sequel offers deeper friendships, higher stakes, and larger sacrifices

Our The Severed Thread book review is a spoiler-free look at Leslie Vedder’s sequel to her gender-bent Sleeping Beauty, The Bone Spindle.

Last year when I wrote my Bone Spindle book review, I had been excited to learn that it was not a standalone novel, but rather, a series. Now that I’ve read Leslie Vedder’s sequel, I’m even more excited about this story and everything to come.

The Severed Thread picks up not long after the events of Bone Spindle, which means everyone’s emotions are still raw. What happened in the Forest of Thorns changes everything, and our trio of intrepid heroes are more determined than ever to find a way to stop the Spindle Witch.

I have to applaud the author for building such layered characters whose strengths and weaknesses truly drive this story forward. Their relationships, however complicated and fluctuating, are what gets them to their feet after being knocked down. It’s what forces them to make reckless decisions, and it’s what inspires them to become heroes.

Fi and Briar are on shaky footing at the start of this book. It took a while for these two to get on the same page in the last one, but the prince of Andar knows how to win a girl over. Unfortunately, while Fi kisses him to break the curse, she also breaks his heart by rejecting his dreams of a future together. With the Butterfly Curse always waiting in the wings to make its move, she can’t risk settling down in one place for too long.

Briar doesn’t understand why Fi has put distance between them, but he knows her well enough not to push the subject. They’re still friends who have become allies against the Spindle Witch, but it’s hard not to feel heartbroken that these two haven’t quite decided to lay it all on the line, consequences be damned. Of course, it’s easier to write that in a Severed Thread book review than it would be to live the reality of it.

Regardless of their inner turmoil, Briar and Fi are more determined than ever to save Andar. If you enjoyed the Indiana Jones aspect of the first book, then you’ll be happy to learn that this one is full of as many codes, secret chambers, and magical relics as the first. The sheer breadth of this kingdom’s history is one of the reasons why I’ve fallen in love with this series.

Never one to be the third wheel in a situation, Shane is as fierce and formidable in every breath she takes as she is in every swing of her axe. I loved Shane in the first book, but she’s even more vibrant and sure of herself in this one. Especially when it comes to her relationship with Red.

As we learned in The Bone Spindle, Red is a servant of the Spindle Witch, though I think it’s clear throughout the first book that she is an anti-hero more than a villain. While she certainly has feelings for Shane, and regrets about her past, she sees no hope for the future and thus must act in her own self-interest. And right now, it behooves her to do what the Spindle Witch says.

the severed thread leslie vedder book review

Early on in The Severed Thread, Shane and Red find themselves in a tentative alliance. Despite everything the other woman has done, Shane cannot help but feel as though there’s more to Red than meets the eye. That there’s still hope that Shane’s good looks and charm can win her over. The trajectory of their relationship between the two books is measured and well-written, and every moment between them feels as heavy with consequences as it feels earned. There are several chapters from Red’s point of view, and it’s a wonderful insight into her mind, her backstory, and her feelings for Shane. Red steps into the spotlight in this book in a huge way, and I loved every second of it.

But it’s Fi and Shane’s friendship that takes centerstage for me. Not long ago, these two were reluctant allies, and now they are true partners in every aspect. When they are together, they are an unstoppable force, but even when they are separate, they lean on the knowledge they have learned from each other. I loved that they didn’t have to be in the same room for you to feel the vibrancy of their friendship hanging in the air all around them. Several of their scenes brought tears to my eyes, and I’m so happy to have found this series so that I can keep all of those moments close to my heart.

Though I could write an entire Severed Thread book review about these characters and their relationships to each other, I have to also congratulate Leslie Vedder on weaving together an intricate plot that kept me interested from start to finish.

We got a glimpse of the grandeur of Andar in the first book, but its sequel opens several more doors into the past. Through Briar’s eyes, we get glimpses of his princely childhood, both wonderous and devastating in turn. You can tell how Briar is torn between holding his memories close and wishing against all else that he wasn’t the one fated to save them all.

Fi is in her element as she helps Briar solve the mystery of his sister’s code, which holds the promise of a solution to the problem that is the Spindle Witch. Interwoven with Aurora’s history, however, is that of the Lord of the Butterflies. Not only do we come ever closer to answers about the Butterfly Curse, we learn that these two ancient figures are more closely related than ever before.

Like most fantasy novels, this series offers a look into the history of world removed from our own. As someone who struggles with the density of epic fantasy, I found The Severed Thread easy to navigate. The author makes her characters work for scraps of information, and when they find a piece of the puzzle, it’s ever more rewarding to watch as they lock it into place. Building up the broad landscape of a picture such as this is much more manageable and intriguing, and I’ve found I’m as invested in the kingdom’s history as I am in the characters who have lived it.

I want to wrap up this Severed Thread book review by talking about the last element of the book—the Spindle Witch. Like with Aurora and the Lord of the Butterflies, we learn snippets about her past and how she came to power. We also learn what she’s after, and the lengths to which she’ll go to get it. The Spindle Witch is a formidable enemy, and one which should not be underestimated. Though she lurked in the shadows of the first book, The Bone Spindle‘s sequel brought us face-to-face with the most powerful and dangerous figure in Andar’s history. And the consequences of that meeting will have lasting effects that carry over into the third and final installment, The Cursed Rose.

Overall, I thought The Severed Thread was an inspired sequel to The Bone Spindle, which was certainly one of my favorite books of 2022. It added layers of depth and emotion to an already strong foundation, and has me even more excited about what comes next. Here’s to hoping all our favorite characters find their happily ever after.

‘The Severed Thread’ hit store shelves on February 7, 2022

Buy The Severed Thread by Leslie Vedder from Penguin Random House, Bookshop.org, Book Depository, or Amazon. You can also add it to your Goodreads list.

Look for more recommendations on our books page.