Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Author: Gennifer Albin. Website|Twitter
Published: 18 October 2012 (Faber and Faber)
Format: Kindle e-book
Book Depository: Paperback
Source: Bought (Kindle)
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
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 and matter, Adelice is 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, power and beauty, the ability to embroider the very fabric of life. It also means entering a world secrets and lethal intrigue. But unlike the others, Adelice isn't interested in controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have and will do anything to hide her talent from the Guild. But when she slips up during her final test, her gift is identified. Now she has one hour to eat her mum's overcooked dinner. One hour to listen to her sister's school gossip and laugh at her dad's stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything is OK. And one hour to escape. Because once you become a Spinster, there's no turning back...
I'd had my eye on this book for a while now and I managed to snag it as a 99p Kindle bargain recently. Crewel tells the story of Adelice, who has spent years trying to hide her ability to see and weave matter. In Arras, people with this ability are whisked away from their families and sent to the Coventry, where they'll spend the rest of their lives as Spinsters.
The concept and idea behind this book is fantastic. The premise is that the world of Arras is controlled by people on looms who are responsible for weaving everything from the weather to births and deaths. I fell in love with the idea straight away, and most importantly it created some dazzling writing and vivid descriptions. The book has that dystopian/post-apocalyptic nature with a controlling society which dictates where people live, how many children they have and segregates boys and girls.
The idea that only women are chosen to use this special power was something that was really interesting to explore. The fact the Spinsters are forbidden from marrying and forced away from their families made you see them as oppressed, and I thought that added a really interesting dynamic to the story. Even the girls who don't get chosen are almost forced into marriages. It really helped me root for Adelice and as a main character she is such a huge draw for this book. She starts out so vulnerable and ends up treated pretty cruelly. My heart really went out to her, but soon enough she has to stand up for herself, and man does she get feisty! I loved her! I like that she is powerful both in her abilities and the way she thinks.Throughout the book she definitely develops and character really shines through. It's great to see her stand up for what is right and I really liked her curiosity - how she questions what happens around her.
Because of the controlling society the story takes place in, there's some pretty good villains including Cormac - the ambassador who is just plain creepy at times. His interactions with Adelice were brilliant as she really stands up to him. Then there's the bitchy and envious Maela who was a really interesting character - jealous and twisted. I really liked the mystery element to just who was on Adelice's side and what certain characters were up to. Some of the revelations towards the end I hadn't seen coming!
On the other side I really liked the "good" characters, especially Jost who I was really fascinated by. There are a few love interests weaved into the story (no pun intended) and I think that was made even more interesting by Adelice's lack of experience due to the segregation.
Crewel was so brilliantly written with such rich detail and description that I just couldn't put it down. I didn't want to break away from that world! It's clear there's so much more to be explored and the ending blew me away with a huge cliffhanger that leaves incredible potential for the second book in the series. I can't wait to read more! I'd highly recommend this book to fans of The Hunger Games and similar books, or anyone who likes books with a touch of magic. Fantastic writing and fabulous characters. A must-read!
What to read next: Altered, the second book in the Crewel World series which is scheduled for release in October 2013.
Books like this: Skylark by Meagan Spooner, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins