Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Thursday, October 18, 2012 with 7 comments
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Title:  Crewel
Author:  Gennifer Albin
Series:  Crewel World, book #1
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date:  October 16, 2012
Source:  ARC from publisher
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 is one of those books that starts and just never stops. It's a book that makes you think and ponder the possibilities until your head hurts. It also serves as a kind of cautionary tale.

Have you ever read a book that made you just want to crawl inside the pages and live there forever? Yeah, this isn't that kind of book. The Crewel world, while complex and solidly established, is everything we fought so long ago to rid ourselves of. In Crewel, women are second-class citizens and subservient to the men of their world. Granted, the technology of this world far surpasses anything we've yet to discover, but is never growing old and curing the "incurable" diseases worth losing all control over your life and becoming like the complacent, docile citizenry of Arras?

Although I found this world fascinating, I often also found myself confused. The weaving of time was explained several times throughout the story, but I still had trouble wrapping my brain around it. But I rather liked the complexity of it...the fact that I had to re-read passages several times to truly grasp the idea. After all, if altering the fabric of time were an easy concept, wouldn't everyone be able to do it? Remember that loom that spit out the "kill" list in Wanted? That was some unexplainable craziness, too, but it made for an intruiguing story.

The Spinsters were an interesting lot. It seemed that everyone in the Coventry was harboring a secret or dishonorable intentions. I questioned character motivations many times, and though some of the smaller subplots were a little predictable, given the nature of the story, they felt like they were still a natural course for the story to take. Forced predictability is the worst kind, but luckily, Crewel doesn't devolve into that territory.

Now that Adelice is a Spinster, she's got to prove herself. She's a clever girl but a little impulsive, and those reckless tendencies cause her way more strife than any one girl should have to deal with. I loved the way she handled herself, whether it be matters of the heart or her own safety. The two love interests -- yes, the romance in this novel is slightly triangular in nature, though it's more of an obtuse know, where two points are closer together than the others -- aren't anything special, really. I mean, I did love the background story on each boy and the extra layer of depth it gave them, but aside from that, they were your typical, swoon-worthy rogues.

I guess I shouldn't call Erik and Jost rogues, though, when scoundrels like Cormac Patton are roaming around freely in Arras. I have a love-hate relationship with Cormac...I love to hate his character. He's that villain who doesn't think himself evil. Cormac is supposed to be quite the heartthrob...the terminal bachelor. But he's such an arrogant prick and his pompous attitude toward Adelice leaves something to be desired. Oh, but he plays the part of the elegant, well-groomed politician soooo well. And you know what? He might just be my favorite character in Crewel. He reminded me a lot of Stephen Fry's character in V for Vendetta, except with some seriously evil intentions.

Crewel is a fast-paced, flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of book. It drops you in the middle of Crazy Town and leaves you with no way out but also a burning desire to find one. This is one fantastic debut novel, and after that insane ending, I guarantee I'll be picking up subsequent installments in Adelice's story.

Rating:  Photobucket

Interested in this novel but still not convinced?  Check out the chapter sampler being offered:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble.


  1. Crewel does sound interesting and I've heard the writing is beyond gorgeous. I have such a love/hate relationship w/fantasy, but I do plan to read it at some point. Great review, as always. Jen!

  2. I have this downloaded on audion. I need to get to it. It sounds amazing. I love books when I can hate the villian so much its enjoyable. Thanks for the awesome review.

  3. An obtuse love triangle? You crack me up. And Cormac was fun. He reminded me a little of a more dapper Haymitch from the Hunger Games.

  4. I keep putting this one off for some reason, but I have no idea why because it sounds so good! You know I love my triangles! Great review, Jen!

  5. I totally loved to hate Cormac too! Great review!

  6. Yup, now I'm totally hooked... Can't wait to get me some Crewel! :)

  7. Oh I am so disappointed that I didn't get a review copy of this one! I keep reading review after review that is fantastic! I like books that make me think! I liked that line about this not being the book you wanted to crawl into! I am definitely getting this one!


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