AUTHOR Gennifer Albin
PUBLICATION October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
READ October 6 - 7, 2012
SOURCE Raincoast Books for review
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.I don't have any idea how to start this review. Upon finishing Crewel I put my Kindle down and thought to myself "I have to write a review of THAT?" It was engrossing, it was beautiful, and it was easily the most original story I have read in a long while. Starting with the very first paragraph Gennifer Albin sucks us in and begins building an intense level of suspense. She feeds us her tale in small servings and as the world becomes clearer and clearer the readers mind is simply blown. That's a crap way to describe how I felt, I know this, but that's all I've got.
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.
In Crewel we meet Adelice, who is just coming of age in the world of Arras and she is being tested to see if she has what it takes to join the Spinsters. She has shown exceptional talent in this field from the time she was 8 years old, but from that time she was intensely trained by her mother and father to hide her gift so as to fail her test. When she slips up in her exam, she knows that her talent was found and that the retrieval squad will be knocking at her door any minute to take her off for her new assignment. In this opening chapter there was this perfect level of tension that was achieved through the writing and as Adelice sat at the table with her parents and sister I was so nervous for her. I didn't know the full extent of why she was encouraged to fail and repress her gift but I knew there had to be a solid reason for it.
So I guess this is a good place to talk about the characters in the world of Arras. I was a big fan of Adelice, she was feisty and smart. She knew that she had a very special gift, it would have been easy for her to get lost in the Coventry and shoot right to the top. A lot of the girls around her would have done just that, they come off as girls who want nothing more than to get to the top and be lavished with gifts. But not Adelice, it was all hers for the taking, and yet she was constantly questioning everyone around her and kept her wits about her through this trying change. She went through so much on the night of her retrieval and yet she remained strong and persistent through the whole ordeal. The people that she meets at the Coventry definitely didn't warrant much liking from me. We had Maela who was an evil witch from the moment we met her and Pryana (who was someone that I thought I would like) quickly went down the witch road as well. But the most detestable character, whom I disliked immensely had to be Cormac Patton, he was such a skeezeball but he was the perfect villain and his twisted ways kept throwing me for a loop.
I feel like here I should talk about the amazing world building, about how I was completely engrossed in the world of Arras and how Albin took a completely unique setting, ran with it, and made it feel so real. But if I go in too deeply to this aspect I think I could ruin the experience for you, so just know that you are going into a fresh, unique world that is so unlike anything ever! Moving on from that to the twists of the novel. I will say that one I had figured out within the first quarter of the novel but that was overshadowed by the ultimate plot turn in the end and I was left in awe and needing to find out where Albin is taking the series in the sequel. Seriously the ending was not anything I could have ever expected and the next installment is going to be a painful wait!
Full of fantastic world building and top notch character development, Crewel is a story that you will have to read to believe. It's unlike anything I have ever read and it leaves off with so many possibilities that you will be pining to find out where this Crewel world will go next.