Friday, October 12, 2012

Crewel - Gennifer Albin

Crewel Gennifer Albin book cover
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Series: Crewel World #1
Publisher: Farrar, Strous & Giroux
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Rachel (Thanks!) || ARC

Sixteen-year-old Adelice has a gift: she can weave time with matter. This gift is something sought out by the Guild, and in the world of Arras, it is a privilege to be chosen as a Spinster. Spinsters have it all - privilege, beauty, an important role in society, the power to embroider the fabric of life in Arras - but Adelice wants no part of it. When she's forced to embrace her destiny, she discovers there is a lot more to the Guild, the Spinsters and the world of Arras than she ever knew.

It is one of the best feelings in the world to read a book that has a refreshing and original premise. Crewel certainly delivers on that count, with a story that had me interested from the very first page and a main character that I could definitely get behind. Gennifer Albin has created an enchanting story, filled with whimsy and magic, and at the same time, rife with questions of power and gender.

I absolutely loved the idea of having the ability to weave, at least the way that Adelice did. It was so fascinating to imagine how Spinsters are granted the power to weave the state of society - adding more food, changing the weather, removing any “problems” and much, much more. The idea of everything being controlled by this talent was captivating, and very, very scary at the same time. 

And the questions that arose while I read Crewel were definitely a lot more than I bargained for! I like books that make me think, and this was certainly one of them.

There was, for instance, definitely a sense of the story being a commentary on the roles that men and women take in a society. The lines were clearly and strictly drawn in Crewel, exhibited especially by those in power - Spinsters were powerful members of the society but they had plenty of standards and rules to live by; the officials, on the other hand, governed the Spinsters and oversaw pretty much every single moment of operation. 

Power was also questioned a lot in this book, especially the power to give or take life. Being a Spinster almost felt like playing god - they had the power to add new threads or to remove old, fraying ones. I felt uncomfortable watching this scenario play out more than once in the book, but I was also intrigued by the question it seemed to pose about the value or the morality behind this granted ability.

While there are more things I liked about the book, including a lot of the characters, there are a few things that I was a little iffy about. I had a hard time visualizing a few things in the book, though that may just be me. And the love triangle felt completely unnecessary, since it was too obvious to me who she should end up with! 

However, the ending left me completely intrigued. It was perfect enough to wrap up the novel with, but definitely open-ended enough for the sequel to add even more to this story. Crewel took on a completely fresh story idea, and certainly managed to divert my attention from the moment I started reading it. I can’t wait to read the next book!

(This is our BEA book club pick for the month of October - so please do check out the reviews from my friends Shanella, Rachel & Amanda!)

17 comments:

  1. Now I really can't wait to read this one! I really do love the idea of the Fates from Greek mythology; not that I'd like them to exist, but it's such a powerful idea of weaving different things in and out of our lives, and our lives being a single thread that can easily be cut. I'm also interested to see the different "thinking" aspects of Crewel. I know a few people have mentioned the commentary on women and men in society, something I really do LOVE reading about! Great job on this review! :)

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  2. Oooh yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. Next weekend I'm going to the Fierce Reads tour around here and I think I'm going to buy this one! (Since I'm broke and can only allow myself one!) I think your review just made me choice. I like that you said it was filled with "whimsy and magic" because I'm really craving something like that PLUS you know I like a thinking book so YAY.

    Great review, lady! <3

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  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I really did too, but I shared a lot of your thoughts. I feel like without the cover, I wouldn't have been able to picture what was going on much at all. I really didn't care for the quasi-love triangle either! It seemed really unnecessary since they didn't really tie much of a conflict in there.
    I REALLY loved the time manipulation though and I'm so interested to see how the next book takes off! :)
    Great review - I had a lot of fun reading it and seeing what you thought!

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  4. I had some trouble visualizing certain scenes in the book too, so it wasn't just you! But I completely agree with how interesting and thought-provoking the premise was. Definitely curious to see what happens next!

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  5. Great review, Alexa! I've seen so many good reviews about this book that I really want to read it! Though, I'm not sure about the love triangle -- I hate it when it seems like it's just there, when we know who the character's going to end up with.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  6. YESSS! Power is the best and my favorite to read about. AND OMG GENDER.

    This sounds like a smart book and I'm glad to have it in my stack. :-)

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  7. I have heard good things about this book, but this is a more detailed review than the others I've read. It sounds really interesting - I think I'll give it a try!

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  8. ooh this sounds like such an interesting book and a lovely lady is sending this to me so i'm excited to read it. even though you were iffy about a few things, it really does sound like this book is food for thought!

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  9. EEEK! Wasn't this fabulous? I loved it, too! The weaving was SO unique and well done, and the ending!!! So exciting! Super happy to see you enjoyed this one too, Alexa!!

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  10. I thought the love triangle was unnecessary too but I also loved the concept of weaving. It was very original! Amazing review, Alexa. :)

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  11. I definitely had trouble visualizing things-maybe Adelice can see the weave without a loom but I sure couldn't!

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  12. It definitely sounds unique. I just keep picturing the weavers from the Nightshade trilogy.

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  13. The world building sounds pretty amazing in this story! It's hard to find something totally unique and fresh so when you do, it's a great surprise. The premise reminds me somewhat of the Greek stories about the fates who controlled life and death. Very intriguing.

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  14. What an insightful review. I too like books which make me think. Having a unique/creative premise for a dystopian novel is a difficult feat to achieve lately. I'm really looking forward to this one. Nicely reviewed.

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  15. Finally getting around to reading your review. Good stuff :) I agree with that useless love triangle! I really felt like both guys could have easily been one guy and that would be good (or juicy) enough.

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  16. I am so glad you liked this one :) This was by far one of the prettiest books I picked up at BEA but I have yet to read it. It sounds so intriguing!

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  17. I'm glad to hear that Crewel was an intriguing and original book. I'm a new follower btw :) Cool blog!
    -
    Leigh
    Little Book Star

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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