Friday, 23 November 2012

Reviewed by Emily: Crewel by Gennifer Albin.


Product details:
Publisher: Faber & Faber.
Release date:  October 4th 2012.
Paperback, 360 pages.
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by:  Emily.

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.



Crewel surprised me. It’s not often I read sci-fi – mostly because I don’t know what I’m looking for. I know the contemporary genre inside out, and I find my way around the fantasy section fairly well, but sci-fi is a whole new ball game for me. But every time Crewel popped up on my Goodreads feed, I felt a spark of curiosity. Maybe it was the unusual name, the vivid cover or the unique (okay, weird) premise. Probably all three. So when I was offered Crewel for review, I jumped at the chance.

That’s not to say it was all smooth sailing. For the first 70 pages, I read with a look of bafflement and struggled to wrap my head around the concept of a world built by spinsters who weave time. In fact, I can see how this would turn some readers off. Arras is an intricate and bizarre world that requires suspension of disbelief. But as the story unfolds, we discover more and more about how this complex world works and, thankfully, by page 70 I was completely comfortable in Arras. I absolutely needed to know what happened next.

Not only has Albin nailed the world-building aspect, she’s got the kickass heroine covered, too. Quite simply, Adelice is awesome. She’s smart, she’s sassy and she keeps it real. She suffers great loss early in the book – and later, too – but her reactions never felt over the top or melodramatic. She’s just a girl who’s doing the best she can in the situation she’s found herself in. If I ever found myself trapped in a society like Arras… well, let’s just say I’d like her around. For her brain AND her humour.

So far we have a great world, an intriguing premise and a loveable heroine – what else could I possibly gush about? LOTS. But especially the romance. Oh, the romance *fans self*. Although the much-dreaded love triangle is present, it’s not as annoying as I expected it to be. It’s love triangle lite. Never fear, it is somewhat resolved by the end of the book. Both boys are wonderfully compelling, but my favourite is Jost Bell. It’s not often I see a love interest who’s as multi-layered as the main character, but this is definitely the case with Jost. We learn things about his past, things that are vital to the main story, that make him much more than just a cute valet.

Enora, Adelice’s mentor, is another character I particularly loved. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here. But, you should know, I cried. Her story is tragic and it also opens up discussion for issues we face here in our own world. This thought-provoking layer of the story made me fall in love with Crewel even more.

No character is left underdeveloped. Albin’s villains are painted in shades of grey. You hate them, but you can kind of understand why they act so atrociously. Kind of. Cormac Patton, the Guild Ambassador, is particularly scary because he absolutely thinks he’s doing the right thing for Arras, even when it means killing innocent people. And I feel Maela’s jealousy may play an important role in the rest of the series.

The last chapter of Crewel is crazy. You’ve been warned. Even I, who happily went along with whatever wild thing that happened along the way, was shocked by the turn of events. But I was cheering, too. It opens up such an exciting direction for the next book and I can’t wait to meet up with Adelice again for another thrilling adventure.

Extra

Gennifer Albin has created a stunning Pinterest board for Crewel and its sequel. There you can find lovely visuals for many of the characters and concepts in the story – definitely worth checking out! http://pinterest.com/gennalbin/crewel/

12 comments :

  1. Great review Emily! You've convinced me - I need to read this now! :D

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  2. I was definitely hooked by the unique world of Arras. I was very happy with the fact that I could understand this different world. She didn't make it to hard to follow, because it could have happen. Luckily, her world-building was amazing enough to make me fall in love with Arras. The ending was very surprising for me! Despite the fact that it's a cliff-hanger, it didn't bother me. It felt like the perfect ending to this book.
    I had some troubles with Adelice, but she isn't the worst character I've met so far. Enore *looks a bit sad*

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  3. I just won this the other day and it came through the post today. I'm glad you liked it - can't wait to give it a go!

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  4. I love crazy endings, and Crewel sounds like it has a really good one! Glad you loved this one, Emily! :)

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  5. Thanks Miss Maree! I'm happy to pass it along if you'd like it :D

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  6. I agree, Mel, Definitely a perfect ending!

    The next book is going to be soooo interesting :D

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  7. Happy reading! :-)

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  8. Wow, I had no idea that Crewel will turn out to be such a good read. Despite seeing it on almost every bookish website, I never approached it. But I guess I'd have to read it now.


    Great review, Emily! =D

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

    P.S. Check out my Blogoversary Giveaway!

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  9. This sounds great! I hope to read my copy sometime soon as it sounds like something I'll love. Awesome review your love for the book really shines through :)

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  10. This looks like an interesting book and I might have to pick it up! I'm finishing up a pretty great book now called "Three Fugitives" by Nat Howler, it's part of the Six Stones Trilogy. You can check out him and the book on the website http://nathowler.com/. Thanks for the review and suggestion!

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  11. I'm reading this now and enjoying it! I love the pitch of Albin gave in her query: JJ Abrams meets Mad Men. When I heard about that...I had to read Crewel. Like you, I'm enjoying the world-building and characters. Haven't gotten to the romance yet...but looking forward to it!

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  12. I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a quick read with an interesting
    concept on alternate worlds that I had not encountered before.
    Top Fly Fishing Alaska website

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