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Monday, January 28, 2013
Book Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Author: Gennifer Albin
Series: Crewel World, book 1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Buy it here: Amazon | Book Depository
For more information visit Gennifer Albin's website
Reviewed by: Ronnie
Crewel is one of those books that has a great premise and superb visual imagery. We meet Adelice as she’s living with her family and has been trying her hardest to conceal her abilities as a Spinster. Spinsters are individuals that have the ability to weave time with matter and are called upon by Arras’s Manipulation Services to work the looms and essentially decide how people live and die. On the day that Adelice is unable to keep her abilities a secret, she is whisked off by the Guild of the Twelve, to serve as a spinster, whether she wants to or not.
As she is being held captive and trained to work as a Spinster, Adelice encounters several people that will shape her very future as a Spinster. We’re introduced to Jost, the head valet who works for Guild Ambassador, Cormac Patton. There is also Erik, a guard who helped retrieve Adelice when she tried to flee from the Guild when they came for her earlier. This sets up to be what is one of the weakest parts of the whole book: a rather limp love triangle. I can see why Adelice is attracted to Jost. He challenges her preconceptions about what it means to be a spinster, whereas Erik comes across more as the eye candy who occasionally will flirt with Adelice. I’m not big on triangles, I think they’re a pretty contrived way to set up conflict within a book. Crewel already has enough going on, and the author does an excellent job of making various characters give Adelice different pieces of information about Arras and what her role will be in the future.
The world building is complex without being overwhelming and there were many ideas I found intriguing, such as the idea of being able to “cut strands” and subsequently killing innocent people, or weave people new identities and lives. Adelice is an impulsive heroine, but she’s good at keeping the information she’s gathered to herself. You truly get the sense that she loves her family and would do pretty much anything to keep them from harm. The villain of the piece, Ambassador Cormac Patton, comes across as creepy with an agenda he fully intends to have Adelice fulfill. That being said, his character has more depth to him than I expected.
Crewel has a very dystopian feel, but I would also stipulate that there are fantasy like elements within the story and it makes for a very enjoyable read. If you like fascinating world building, intrigue, with characters that have yet to reveal their true intentions, I can imagine that Crewel would most likely be a good book for you to pick up. I know I certainly enjoyed the book.