Book Review: “Delphine and the Dark Thread” Continues LOTR-Like Quest for Young Readers

Delphine and the Dark Thread is the second book in the Delphine series by author Alyssa Moon that invites young readers on a journey with Cinderella’s bravest mouse.

Following on from the first book, Delphine and The Silver Needle, the sequel continues the Lord of the Rings-style quest; delivering action, adventure, and magic in the most unexpected places.

For newcomers to the series, Silver Needle introduces us to Delphine; a young, orphaned dressmaker mouse living in the walls of Cinderella’s chateau. After being summoned to the castle for a dress consultation by Princess Petits-Oiseaux, Delphine stumbles upon a life-changing secret that sheds light on her mysterious past as well as the disappearance of the magical tailor mice of legend known as the Threaded. When fearsome rat King Midnight gets wind of Delphine’s quest, Delphine and her pompous traveling companion Alexander must work hard and fast to find answers and stay ahead of King Midnight and his henchrats. Full of strange enemies, unlikely allies and more than one brush with death, Delphine must be braver than she ever imagined in order to save the kingdom.

Dark Thread starts fresh off the heels of King Midnight's rat-army invasion at the Winterberry Ball. Delphine, Alexander, and Cornichonne are on the run, making their way through the far reaches of Peltinore. Unlikely allies pop up at every turn, but so do new enemies. While evading the rats hot on their tails, the trio uncovers new clues about the legendary Threaded tailor mice, including surprising discoveries about Delphine's magical needle. As Delphine's powers grow stronger, she realizes she may need to head straight into Midnight's lair and confront the villain herself.

Dark Thread is another beautifully written book and a worthy continuation of the epic adventure that begins in Silver Needle. Moon again peppers in poetry, songs, interludes, and different points of view to give readers a broader grasp of the story. The mystery of Elodie and Rien’s friendship in the past and how it impacts Delphine and her mission in the present is revealed in this book and is my favorite part of the tale. Their story is neatly intertwined with the main plot, and Delphine’s discoveries about her past and theirs become the reader’s own.

There are two prongs of Dark Thread that serve as the overall motivations for the story which young readers will likely find compelling: Delphine’s immediate quest to confront and defeat Midnight, and Delphine’s personal quest to uncover the secrets of the Threaded and learn more about herself. Both prongs contain magic and mischief; trial and tribulation. They also weigh in on the significance of personal choices. These themes will confront-but-delight young readers.

The relationships between Delphine, Alexander and Cornichonne, as well as other characters, also deepens and enriches the saga. Delphine’s heated, anxious disposition is tempered by calm Ysabeau, the princess’s “pawmaid”, and by jovial, light-hearted Alexander. The challenges the characters face in this book are more intense and the journey feels much longer. Similarly to Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the story did slow down and dwindle at certain points which I attribute to being a “middle” book. However, the value of the story is not lost and it wraps up neatly – it also packs a punch with a big reveal at the end.

An essential part two of the journey for Delphine fans, Delphine and the Dark Thread is not to be missed.

Delphine and the Dark Thread will be released on August 30, 2022. In the meantime, check out our review of book one, Delphine and The Silver Needle, here; as well as our interview with author Alyssa Moon here.