Friday, October 26, 2012

Becky's View: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel by Gennifer Albin
♦publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
♦release date: October, 16th, 2012
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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: Crewel first draws you in with this incredible cover---which, by the way, gets extra points for being so significant to the story and concept.  Those gorgeous multicolored swirls and threads  that you see perfectly depict the strands that Adelice sees and can pull from thin air.  

Crewel is an incredibly unique idea.  The world Albin builds is like nothing else I've ever read or imagined. The way the Spinsters work the looms to bring food and health and everything else, including death, to the people of Arras was such a creative concept.  The whole dynamic of the society was a little hard to follow at first, the "rebounding", and the importance of cosmetics (still a bit baffled by that!), and just how it all worked, but as far as the spinning goes, the author does a great job helping the reader visualize pulling these "threads" and working them into the looms that control the lives of the people of the land.  But really, I felt that the story was less about this and more about the politics and corruption of the people running both the Spinster's Guild and Arras itself.  In that way, I felt it really lost some of it's uniqueness and became just another "protagonist raging against the cruel government" dystopian.  It wasn't what I expected (I guess I wanted more mystical, not so political), so I admit to being a little let down, but it was still a gripping and heart-wrenching story. 

Adelice certainly does rage, too.  From day one, she fights them with everything she's got.  She is certainly not perfect, as a matter of fact she makes a deadly error in judgement before she's even dragged off to the Spinster Guild.  Once there, she deals with some pretty despicable characters, including Cormac and Maela---two that are as cruel and corrupt as they come.  Some of the things that happen are so heartless and harsh, that it just hurt to read about them. I found myself gripping the book and trying not to cry several times---a good sign of how invested I was in the story and some of its characters.  I really enjoyed reading about Jost, he was such a good person who'd been through such terrible things.  Erik was also an intriguing character, not one to easily be trusted; you never can be quite sure where his loyalty lies.  There's a bit of a romance triangle going on, but it didn't bother me as much as the fact that it seemed every male character in the story wanted Adelice.  

Still, a very compelling story right to the end.  The ending is quite a cliffhanger and I can't wait to hear more about where they've ended up (not telling spoilers!).  Now that I've got a feel for the story, I think I will enjoy the second even better.

Find Gennifer Albin online: Web   •   Twitter   •   Facebook

Purchase Crewel:  Amazon   •   •   BookDepository   •   Indiebound


  1. Great review! I really enjoyed Crewel! I definitely agree about the world being like nothing else I have read before. I noticed the whole every male character wanting Adelice thing too. It was weird but I wasn't bothered by the triangle either.

  2. Fab review! I really enjoyed this book as well. Didn't think I would but thankfully I did. It'll be interesting what happens in the sequel considering the ending we were left with.

  3. Awesome review, hon! I'm sad to hear that the story focuses so much on politics and corruption. You're right, it makes it too much like every other dystopian novel. At least it was still good, even though it lost a bit of it's uniqueness. Must say, I'm completely lusting over the cover.

  4. Oh, well that's a bit of a bummer about the confusing concept! It's funny how certain parts of the book were really creative and unique, while other parts read like just a typical dystopian. I'm still pretty curious to see how this one turns out - hopefully I won't end up too confused...