Author: Gennifer Albin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Format: egalley* 368 pages
Get it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Enter a tangled world of secrets and intrigue where a girl is in charge of other’s destinies, but not her own.
Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die.
Thrust into the opulent Western Coventry, Adelice will be tried, tested and tempted as she navigates the deadly politics at play behind its walls. Now caught in a web of lies and forbidden romance, she must unravel the sinister truth behind her own unspeakable power. Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it — or destroy it.
My thoughts, feelings, and reactions
Crewel was not lacking in creativity. In fact, it was brimming with originality. Gennifer Albin put together a book with ingenious world building and stunningly illustrious writing. What I expected out of Crewel was beyond anything I ever imagined and more.
In Arras, everything is controlled by the Guild; who you marry, when and how many kids you can have, what you eat, what your future job will be is all decided for you. Men are superior to woman, families with children are segregated between female and male, and young girls with special abilities are taken to be Spinsters who control the fabric of life in Arras. The world that Gennifer Albin created and built from the bottom up was really brought to life in Crewel. It felt surreal, nearly dream-like, but it also felt substantial and essential in the way Albin described the inner workings of it all. It was described in great detail, explained to the extent of allowing yourself to be placed within just like Adelice. I didn’t just read about Arras, I felt like I was living and breathing in it. Albin gets down to the very core of this world with the Spinsters, the Guild, and all the officials that control Arras. Not only do we know how this world works, but we also learn why and how it came to be. There is so many elements to this world that make it work, grow and thrive. It’s not only fascinating, it’s intricate and complex. While Albin gives us a lot to start with, she still allows room for interest and yearning to know more.
Main character and spunky, sharp-tongued Adelice Lewys was the star of this novel. She may have been frightened by the her new surroundings, but I felt and saw the fire within her and her will to fight for what she believed was right. She was definitely a little innocent and naive about a lot, but Adelice was intelligent and she cared. Although she listened, followed, and went along with her training and learning, she still knew her place, knew what she wanted and she never lost herself to the privileges that was given to her as an Eligible. Adelice cared deeply about her family and the friends she made within the Western Coventry. I seriously admired Adelice’s feisty personality and how she was sassy and just a handful to many people’s eyes. Even though her big mouth and quiet defiance got her in trouble time to time, Adelice never gave up. She was a rebel at heart who was courageous and clever all the way. The best thing about Adelice is the fact she didn’t let the power she knew had go over her head. Her compassion and kindness gave way to a character who was true and good from the bottom of her heart.
I love the connection Adelice had with both Erik and Jost. Albin made it so I was able to fall for both characters so easily. It didn’t really matter who Adelice would pick, because I felt either one would be a suitable for her. They both had great chemistry together. Eric was the comic relief during all the intense and serious parts of Crewel. At first he seemed like an arrogant pretty boy, but underneath was someone who was so funny and charming. Jost, on the other hand, was rough around the edges in the beginning. But Jost was a cool and witty guy. He watched out for Adelice and gave her advice even when she thought she didn’t need it. He saw how different she was compared to all the other Eligibles. Erik and Jost were different in some ways, but also the same in others. I believe that both cared for Adelice in their own way. In the end, I loved both of them and I bet other readers will definitely have a hard time choosing between the two.
Crewel had some predictable moments, in which I somehow knew how things were going to go, but there were still plenty of times where I was surprised by the twists that Albin placed within the story. I really enjoyed Albin’s clean and delightful writing. It was detailed and very thought-provoking. I thought the pacing of the whole book was great overall. Some parts were a little slow at times, but I wasn’t bored. In fact, I enjoyed finding out more seeing how the story would unravel. I loved how thorough the world building was and how developed the characters were.
All in all, Crewel was one crafty and intriguing dystopian novel that I found wanting to explore further on.
*Thanks to Macmillan for sending a copy for review