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Crewel by Gennifer Albin Book Review – “If you ran, it doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter if you admit it. They’ve marked you and they’ll watch you.”

Title: Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Author Info: Bio | Website | Twitter
Publication: Oct 16th 2012 by Macmillan
They came in the night...
Story Arc: Series, Book 1
Hardcover: 368 pages
Age Group: Teen, YA
Genre: Sci-fi Dystopian
Excerpt(s): Prologue
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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 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.
Review: : Okay, anyone who knows me at all knows that I can read just about anything. I certainly have preferences in genres, but I read anything that looks exciting, except maybe horror, but even there I have ventured. While sci-fi dystopians aren’t among my favorite kinds of books, I do like them, even if some of them follow the same tropes. Crewel by Gennifer Albin is similar enough to fit in, while still managing to stand out. One thing I immediately have to give Albin points for is her stunning creativity and imagination, as well as her ability to execute both, as some authors are powerless to do this and fail. A world made up of fabrications isn’t anything new, but the idea of visualizing a world in which the main character can see the strands that weave the illusion lingering around her is quite fascinating. And I found myself captivated by Adelice’s ability, and wondering about the possibilities.

There’s about nothing Adelice can’t do. Even when people in her new life as a Spinster try to force their perception of her power—or lack there of—onto her, a big draw for Crewel by Gennifer Albin is Adelice’s evolution, her realization of her own capabilities that put her beyond the grasp of those that try to control her. As a character, Adelice is very expressive even when she tries not to reveal what’s raging underneath the surface. She can’t always repress her anger, and her quick wit definitely makes her a charmer, though not all of the other characters would agree. I absolutely enjoyed the accessibility to her emotions, how easily she felt them and expressed them in a way we could absorb and therefore connect with. On the other hand, her love interests could’ve used the depth Adelice innately possesses. I found it difficult to like either of the mysterious and attractive blue-eyed boys consuming Adelice’s thoughts now and then, simply because their personalities are painfully familiar. The handsome stoic guard with a past and the gorgeous arrogant charmer. Normally this set-up works for me, but their characterizations fell flat in that they had nothing particularly exciting or different to fill in the framework of their characterizations. Later, I of course was reeled in by one of the two’s tale of woe and strong arms, but it’s mostly a superficial tolerance than a firm attraction.

I also had qualms with the plot. There is so much going on, and for a reader like me, who is easily distracted by the main character’s quips and the eye-catching world-building, I lost my way and ended up a frustrating pile of confusion. What is the goal? Is it to break away from this awful society? To rescue loved ones? To ace the testing? Maybe it’s a mixture of all three, but it’s taken me only just now to come to this conclusion.

While reading, however, I had a hard time coming to any conclusion. Though, the ending is one that opens up an infinite number of exciting possibilities, a turn of events I’m always thrilled with especially with this kind of dystopia. It is a predictable direction about halfway to three quarters into the book, but I’m most definitely anticipating a much more thrilling and likable plot in the upcoming books.

Most Likely to Be Enjoyed By: Futuristic/post-apocalyptic sci-fi dystopian lovers who are into complex world-building and plot formulation, as well as an interesting, easily likeable heroine will like the way Albin has written this book. It’s engaging, falls on the thought-provoking side, and a touch magical. I will say, however, coming from someone who finds it necessary to experience the right balance of romantic chemistry in a book, don’t be too expectant of the romance. As a love triangle, though, it’s not too shabby so don’t be put-off.

Content Warning: I actually think Crewel by Gennifer Albin is quite suitable for most age groups. There isn’t anything particularly uncomfortable in the book. I’ll mention that there are some sexual implications, LGBT, and kissing involved. Concepts of death and a few moments of violence might be a deterrent for younger readers.

Blog Rating: Sud-Kissed
Those delightful moments during your bubble bath, with a book companion in one hand and a glass of chocolate milk in the other, are the best way to describe luxurious feelings that sud-kissed books create. These books can sometimes be even more rereadable than special shelf books...

Goodreads Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quotes/Scenes:

They came in the night. Once, families fought them, neighbors coming to their aid. But now that peace has been established, and the looms proven, girls pray to be retrieved. They still come at night, but now it's to avoid the masses with eager hands. It's a blessing to touch a Spinster as she passes. That's what they tell us.
No one knows why some girls have the gift. There are theories, of course. That it's passed down genetically. Or that girls with an open mind can see the weave of life around them at all times. Even that it's a gift only given to the pure-hearted. But I know better. It's a curse.
I've trained at night with my parents since they realized I had the calling. They taught me clumsiness, making me fumble until it looked natural when I dropped a bowl or spilled the water jug. Then we practiced with time, my parents encouraging me to take the silky strands deftly into my fingers to twist and tangle them until they were warped and useless in my hands. This was harder than dropping and spilling. My fingers wanted to weave the delicate tendrils seamlessly with matter. By my sixteenth birthday, when it was time for the required testing, the ruse was so effective, the other girls whispered I would be sent away early.
Maybe it was their taunts lodging in my back like tiny daggers that poisoned my resolve. Or perhaps it was the way the practice loom sang out, begging to be touched. But today, the last day of testing, I finally slipped—my fingers gracefully winding through the ebbing bands of time.
Tonight they’ll come for me.

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Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Also, if you could weave yourself something in the world, what would you pick?


Christina Franke said...

You liked this one a bit more than I did. Lots of people were charmed by Adelice, but I thought she was flat. Maybe I was just so annoyed by her stupid love triangle that I couldn't care about her. I don't know. So few reviewers hated that love triangle and I was all CHICKA-WHAT?

The world building was beautiful, but I don't know if I'll be able to do book two or not. :/

Princess Ash said...

I was surprised by how much I liked it because normally, no this wouldn't be what I prefer. I get why some people would see her as flat, but for some reason she spoke to me. Again, surprising. BUT YES THE LOVE TRIANGLE IS ANNOYING. Like, slap somebody's face until either boy is more interesting annoying. It has potential, but the fact that there's already a couple when you consider that the boy needs more depth to really be likable... typical love triangle. Ahhh, I know all about when a book annoys you so bad, even with redeeming qualities that you're like, meh, this was okay but not enough for the sequel. If and when I read it, I'll let you know if maybe it's worthy trying to get back into ;)

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

I enjoyed this just a fraction more than you did, but I'm glad you still liked it overall. :) I completely agree that the characters could do with some work. The love interest(s) failed to make a true impact on me, though I didn't dislike the romance at the time. The ending has me quite excited about the next book!

Awesome review, Ash! I love how honest and articulate you always are. :)

Bookworm1858 said...

I loved the ending for this book too-it was amazing and really shook me, something that not a lot of books are able to do anymore.

Candace said...

I have heard a lot of good things about this book and I'm definitely curious! I think I'm a bit more wary now and have set my expectations a bit lower, but that's a good thing. I am suppose to review the audio but it hasn't yet arrived.

Ash @ Paranormal Indulgence said...

Yeah, try to go with the flow instead of worrying so much about expectations, trust me. Because then you'll be more likely to like this one. It's a good book, there are good threads, but I'm hoping for TONS more in the next book! ;D

Princess Ash said...

I'm actually surprised, because in this situation it's usually the other way around xD THE LOVE INTERESTS. I'm just so mad they weren't nearly as swoon-worthy as they could've been. It was nice every time they had a make-out scene of whatever, but COME ON. There wasn't enough substance to sate a vampire. I hope we get more of that later on ;)


Princess Ash said...

Right? Not so many books surprise you by how much they effect you. I definitely found myself shivering with excitement at the end.

Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

Yes, I agree, I loved how I totally felt Adelice's emotions. I thought the writing was absolutely gorgeous and the ending left me needing more. Great review, I'm happy that even though you had issues with the plot & the romance, you still enjoyed the novel overall.

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

EEEP, glad you liked it, Asher! I wavered between the boys, but finally found myself completely drawn to one (not saying who to avoid spoilers in the comments). I cannot WAIT to see the sequel and what happens. I really, really loved Adelice. This book was just a treasure!

Molli | | Once Upon a Prologue

Princess Ash said...

It's amazing how vivid her emotions felt. I guess it's just because most of the time I could relate to her and how she handled the situation she found herself in. AND DAMN THAT ENDING. So many awesome possibilities. For some reason I had a Matrix flashback, when Neo falls into the pool of acid and shizz and there's this blaring light looking for him... Maybe that was just me. AND I HOPE THE ROMANCE WILL BE BETTER. For serious.

Princess Ash said...

I betcha I know which boy for sure. It's probably the same as my guy. I really liked Adelice as well and I hope to see her and the rest of the cast grow and to see more exciting situations...

AnimeJune said...

I thought the ideas behind the worldbuilding were fascinating - but I was really troubled by the depiction of women in this book. It seems like all the women except for Adelice were a) shallow twits, b) scheming sluts, or c) sacrificial victims. Also, the "reveal" about why Spinsters were all women was just insulting and offensive.

I really did like the idea behind the worldbuilding but I couldn't get over the offensive gender ideas in the novel.

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