Crewel by Gennifer Albin
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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 to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. 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 used her hidden talent for a moment. 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 jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because tonight, they’ll come for her.
I am truly amazed at Gennifer Albin’s world building skills in this novel.
World building impresses me so much. Its one thing to be a good writer, but its another to be able to build a world, and make it so incredibly real. I have always admired writers that are able to do that and this is exactly what makes this book so good. Its only part of it, but its a huge part of it.
She creates this world that can seem kind of familiar to ours but it isn’t. The world is hanging by a thread literally. Without the talents of the women (Spinsters) who weave the world, like food and weather, life and death, the world of Arras would literally cease to exist. They hold the power and yet…they have no power, no control. They are regulated, and trained and are hidden behind elaborate dress and make-up. Its so beautiful, and scary at the same time. She builds this world that could potentially be beautiful and enviable. The idea of beautiful threads on a loom, woven together to create and destroy is breathtaking. Being revered, and primped to look beautiful, every single day. But its also incredibly scary. The control they have over human life and death, in form of mere threads is so much power for any one to have, and that’s why the control of Arras is so dramatic.
I’m not going to lie, though. I’m a little confused. The world can be a little daunting, the idea of weaving the existence, and Adelice’s power. Sometimes, I had to read a page over again, to sort of understand what that was going on. You have to be really able to picture the world that Gennifer creates, in order to understand it. I’m planning on reading it again; now that I’ve absorbed the story, I can focus on the world and understanding it more clearly. Its a little confusing and daunting so if you’re not into worlds that are unfamiliar, I would avoid it. This is not for the occasional dystopian/fantasy reader. It works definitely if you’re used to being thrown into fantastical worlds.
But I honestly loved it. I think that she makes her world so real. While the world can be daunting, and the weaving ideas can be a little confusing, the story is easy accessible. Adelice has the same sort of worries and problems that other characters have, and that we can relate to. She’s worried about her little sister, Amie, and is immensely protective of her. She’s headstrong, afraid to give up her will so easily, not when her parents fought so hard to keep her from becoming a Spinster-a special title for those gifted with weaving. She is confused, by her own beauty and her own sexuality and her attraction to two incredible boys, when she hasn’t been allowed near boys for her whole life.
Plus she’s so confused. She doesn’t know who to trust, and she can barely trust herself and her own powers. Every move that she makes is in order to keep herself safe, and in order to find out what happened to her sister, but she makes enemies at every turn, and its difficult for her. She’s only sixteen years old. She’s so young and unsure. You’re connected to her so fast, from page one, when you realize how scared and unsure she is. But the reader can see a strength in her, so you keep turning the pages, hoping that she’ll figure things out.
The sequel to the novel, Altered, will be releasing TOMORROW, and I can’t WAIT to read it. Its going to be absolutely wonderful, and I can’t wait to see where else in this world that Gennifer takes us. This first novel really captivates the audience, and I’m grateful that I only have to wait a couple days!
4 out of 5 stars
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Starting tomorrow, Gennifer Albin will be on the Fall Fierce Reads Tour with Ann Aguirre, and guests, Jessica Brody and Leigh Bardugo. Check out this link to see if they’ll be heading your way!