Crewel (Crewel World #1)

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4.2(6)
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A Highly Unique and Intriguing Dystopian!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Crewel is the first book in an enthralling new dystopian series. It centers around the world of Spinsters - those with the gift to manipulate the threads of time and matter. Most girls hope to be chosen for this fate, but Adelice wants to be dismissed. In spite of her best efforts, Adelice is chosen to become a Spinster and is taken away to the Coventry. Her life will never be the same and things on the inside are even worse than she thought.

This novel is one of the most inventive and enchanting ones I've read. The world and it's workings are so detailed and intricate that I immediately fell under their spell. The politics, the lives of the Spinsters, the setting of Arras and the Coventry - not to mention the storyline of weaving the threads of time - all come together to create a thrilling page turner. The characters are flawed and endearing - especially the heroine Adelice, who has sarcasm and attitude to spare. I identified with her and was definitely rooting her on throughout the entire book. There is romance in the story, which made it all the more intriguing. It gives the plot more depth and the scenes are romantic but not cheesy (which I like). There are lots of twists in the story and you never quite know what to expect next. I liked the feeling that there is always something new to discover; another layer of the story to figure out. It was a bit hard to wrap my mind around the whole time weaving concept as well as figuring out the world of Arras and everyone's place inside it; but once I did, I was completely immersed in the setting and the plot. I really loved this book and the only thing I'm upset about is that I have to wait for what feels like forever for the next book to come out. I highly recommend this novel for fans of science fiction and dystopian fiction.
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What?
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Can't wait for "Altered"
Good Points
Wow!!!! This was just amazing. I'm still shocked I need to know what happens!!!
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Such an interesting concept; imaginative world-building!
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
In a dystopian world where the Arras government controls everything- from what you wear, to marriage, to how many kids you can have, to the limited amount of food rationed to your family each week- being a Spinster means having a life that all little girls dream of when they’re little. In Arras, men run the show, and if you’re a girl and don’t develop the skills to be a Spinster, the best you can hope for is to become a secretary and look pretty while playing mom and wife if they government allows it. For the majority of Adelice’s life, her parents have taught her to hide her spinning abilities in hopes that she’d never be taken away by The Guild. Because once you become a Spinster, you’re one for life. You’ll be expected to live away from your family, maintain “pure” standards (which means no hooking up or sex, EVER), and never marry. Your life will be dedicated to spinning the extremely delicate threads of life-matter and time to makes sure the preservation of Arras continues on for eternity.

On the surface level, this story seems like most other dystopians that have become so popular over the past few years. Life as we know it now has ceased to exist and formulaic standards are set in place. One, there’s a villain or controlling body, usually a government like The Guild in this book, that dictates the population in hopes of restoring order and balance to a world gone wrong. Two, there’s the heroine (or sometimes hero) that steps in to plant the seed of doubt and begins a bit of a revolution. Three, a love interest or love triangle that comes to the protagonist’s aid and shifts the plot into motion.

Where this dystopian differs from its predecessors is in the ingenuity of its world-building and how Arras came to be. It’s like The Matrix except for instead of binary coding, Spinsters see the world as though it were a complex fabric made up of millions of tiny threads. They can weave anything into existence using these threads to interlock time and matter: weather, people, animals, landmarks, buildings, etc. Yet, just as easily, snapping a thread can blink anything or anyone out of existence.

The whole process pulled me in from the beginning and kept me questioning the possibility of this type of universe. As the story progressed, I grew more enthralled with the journey that the author takes us on. However, I felt a bit let down at the end. Though there’s no cliffhanger, there is a life-altering moment that takes place. I felt like it was supposed to leave me flailing and screaming for the next in the series immediately, but I actually felt underwhelmed by the turn of events. That being said, it does open up a world of possibilities for the series and I’m definitely curious as to where it will go from here.

Adelice, our heroine, is a witty girl with a stern backbone that doesn’t back down from a challenge, even if it means she’ll get thrown in jail. When she realizes just how powerful her weaving skills are and how much the government is willing to put up with in order to have her on their side, she goes out of her way to be a snarky pain in the butt. By now, you should know that I like my girls to have a bit of fierce attitude to them, and Ad is definitely feisty.

Adelice has a few gentlemen pursuers, but I didn’t really have any strong feelings toward any particular one except for one of the main villains, Cormac Patton who is Coventry Ambassador for the Guild of Twelve. Yuck!

With that comes my major complaint; I wanted to feel the love triangle more. Actually, I kind of just wanted to feel any kind of love. The romance, the pull or attraction, was honestly a bit lackluster for me. I feel like it had the potential to be there, but there was more telling than showing me about Adelice and her “connections” to the guys. I need a tiny bit of spark in my books to fully enjoy them.

All in all, Ms. Gennifer Albin has a compelling way in which she writes. The world-building was fascinating and the descriptions were vivid, keeping me enamored with Adelice’s surroundings and the other characters throughout the book. I thought it was a creative plot and I look forward to seeing more of what this series has to offer.

*Note: I was provided an e-ARC of this title from MacMillan via Net Galley.

Good Points
Descriptive writing with vibrant characters and a lush setting.
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Highly Original Debut
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
'No one knows why some girls have the gift. There are theories, of course. That it's passed down genetically. Or that girls with an open mind can see the weave of life around them at all times. Even that it's a gift only given to the pure-hearted. But I know better. It's a curse.'

In this world, everything is comprised of threads which can be altered, manipulated, or completely removed. Behavior modification can be done for unruly children or if they're deemed a lost cause can be removed completely. If that is done then everything is reworked in order to change the complete structure of everyone's thoughts and memories so that the child that was removed is not even remembered, even by his own parents. Even the most base things that would normally be natural: food cultivation, upcoming thunderstorms, these are all managed by the Spinsters. Only managed though.

'Crewel work is an act of pure creation. Crewelers do more than weave the fabric of Arras. They can capture the materials to create the weave. Only they can see the weave of the raw materials. (...) The Spinsters wouldn't have any matter to weave if it weren't for her special gift.'

Because this world wouldn't exist without the Creweler.

'Day by day, I am remade, into someone else. I'm sixteen now, and I will be almost flawless forever. That thought helps me fall asleep at night, secure in my place here, but it also wakes me up trembling with nightmares.'

Their beauty routines and the description of how these women look reminded me of geisha's. The only difference with the women in Arras is the access to renewal patches which allow them to heal wounds rapidly but also help to preserve their youth. These patches worked so well that you're virtually unable to tell people's true age anymore. A very sci-fi and freaky touch.

Sure, there is a slight love-triangle in the book but I'm starting to realize that my main issue with them is that there is always the guy the protagonist should obviously be going for and one that she very clearly should not be (and he's usually a total prick). That wasn't the case with Crewel and it was a very plausible situation in which the love triangle derived from. I actually liked both guys, one more so than the other (Jost), but they were both still well likable and weren't total pricks. That calls for celebration I think.

I loved the twist that was thrown in at the end. Everything slowly begins to unravel (haha... pun intended) and Adelice finally realizes the enormity of the situation that she's been forced into. The twist succeeded in not only making the entire situation crazy and eye-popping but really added a layer of realism to this 'perfect world'.

While I had trouble grasping the concept (at first) I was still incredibly fascinated by the idea and everything ended up being explained sufficiently in my opinion. The attention to detail into every facet of this world was incredibly intricate and entirely original. I loved it. Crewel is a sci-fi world where everything can be altered with a 1984 type society where people are controlled to the nth degree. Highly recommended for dystopian fans.
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It's a Crewel World for a Woman or a Girl
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Overall, an enjoyable sci-fi, dystopian YA debut novel with a fresh idea and good execution. Not anything above and beyond the norm though. I wasn't 'wowed'? by it's awesomeness.
Good Points
I had never thought of the possiblity that someone could weave the fabric of space and time, to keep reality running smoothly. It's a very original idea and the execution was beautifully done. I did feel that Adelice was a bit bland as a heroine, but the novel was character driven in a way that a lot of dystopians (even sci-fi oriented ones) are not. I LOVE a character driven novel. It sucks me in and gets me involved, making me care what happens. In the novel, women are second-class citizens and oppressed beyond belief. They really only have two viable choices - marriage or to become a Spinster. I loved that Adelice didn't just give in to their demands and bribes after they'd destroyed her life and left her with nothing. The relationships with Jost and Erik were very different and it was easy to tell which was the more real of the two. I can definitely say I was NOT expecting the revelation at the end of the book about how they were connected to each other.
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Crewel
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
2.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Crewel is a highly unique addition to the YA Sci-Fi genre. It’s some strange combination of Utopia and Dystopia. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. On the surface Arras looks like a nice place to live. There’s no crime, just peace, but this is actually accomplished through weaving time and matter, done by Spinsters. Adelice is 16 years old and has just been recruited as a Spinster despite her’s and her family’s attempts at hiding her gift. She doesn’t want to be responsible for every single aspect of people’s lives, including removing those who deviate from the tapestry of life.

One thing that really bothered me about Crewel was all of the talk about gowns and cosmetics. The Spinsters live a very glamorous lifestyle, but why? Their clothes and makeup didn’t add anything to the story except a bunch of empty words. I much rather would have been reading more about their job and the compound. They can manipulate space and time, so who cares what they’re wearing?! Even Adelice doesn’t care very much about the glitz and glamor, so why does the author spend so much time talking about it? It just became irritating about a third of the way in.

The world, Arras, was what I really wanted to learn more about. It’s an extremely fascinating concept to have a world where everything can be altered at a simple touch. But it’s not very clear how it all works, and even the character don’t know. There’s plenty of “we’re still working things out,” and “it wasn’t explained” or “that has now been forgotten” and other phrases to kind of push the world building aside. I want to know how this all works! If the Spinsters must weave everything pertaining to life, who weaves the Spinsters? Why the looms? Why do some girls have the gift and others don’t? If women ultimately have all of the control, why are they run by men?! Some answers start popping up in the last third, but they also sparked more questions about this complex and compelling world!

As for the plot…I was less interested, but there wasn’t much of a plot to start out with anyway. The first two thirds are essentially just Adelice being “tested” by a jealous head Spinster and basically being told to “shut up and look pretty” by everyone who knows about her special talent. Of course, there’s also the love triangle, but we never really get any real scenes of the boys and Adelice doing anything lovey related until a random kiss with one of them. It’s more implied though, since she’s never been around boys before and now all of a sudden there’s two set to guard her and cater to her.

We also don’t even get to know Erik that well at all, so it’s almost like he doesn’t exist until he’s needed as eye-candy. I did like Jost though, but he was also the more fleshed out of the two love interests. This isn’t really surprising though, since our heroine is a pretty bland character, too. In short, the world and the concept completely out shine the characters and the plot, and ultimately, it’s what kept me interested, if not invested.

By the end I was getting a headache trying to figure everything out, and things started getting very weird and slightly creepy. There’s some explanations about the history of Arras, but it’s still confusing as heck. Plus there’s all kinds of random things that start popping up seemingly out of nowhere. Overall, Crewel is an interesting read even if the plot, characters, and romance are lackluster. Will I read the next book? Most definitely! Would I recommend this one? Yes, if you’re looking for something really out there and can overlook my complaints.
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