Review Detail

4.1 6
Young Adult Fiction 4591
Wonderful World Building; Painful Characters
Overall rating
Writing Style
Crewel has a beautiful cover and a unique plot line, but I did not connect with it emotionally at all. The romance aspects particularly lost me. For other readers, I am sure this will be a great read, particularly those who read for world building over character.

The very best part of Crewel is, without a doubt, the world building. Adelice lives in Arras, a mysterious fantasy land. The Guild runs Arras in conjunction with Spinsters, so named because they are not allowed to wed. At 16, girls are tested to see if they have the skills to become a Spinster, a weaver of the threads that compose Arras, the tapestry of life. Those that are chosen never get to go home again. Those that aren't have two years to wed and begin their adult lives.

The concept of a woven world really kind of blew my mind. Really, it's a lot like the internet in that, on the surface, I get it, but the more I think about it the less I understand. The descriptions of the weaving and the threads are lovely, as is Albin's writing. Towards the end, I had some suspension of disbelief issues, but I still would rate this as one of the most unique worlds I've encountered.

So far as dystopian-ness goes, Crewel certainly qualifies. Arras is one heck of a creepy place. For one thing, there's the whole forcing women to do certain things: become a Spinster, wed, and all sorts of other misogynistic rules. Women always seem to get the short end of the stick in dystopias; I should go read Herland or Nomansland. Even more than the dystopian aspects to the daily life, the government, both the Guild side and the Spinster side is seriously suspect. Both seem far too apt to make people disappear, if you get my drift.

Despite all of that being seriously cool, I just did not care. Adelice (what kind of name is that anyway?) really doesn't seem to have that much of a personality. We start with the dramatic removal of her to be a Spinster, no visions of her on a normal day. All I really feel like I know about her is that a) she's a skilled weaver b) she loves her family and c) she likes boys. None of this really lets me know anything about who she is. What I do pick up from that last one really doesn't make me think kindly of her either.

The worst aspect of the book, imo, is the love triangle. Of course, love triangles are dangerous, because, when done wrong, they make the reader want to *headdesk* all over the place. Well, this one did not work for me, probably partially because I really didn't care if the heroine found happiness. Not only that, but I don't have much more interest in either of the guys involved in the triangle. I suspect that I'm supposed to ship her with Jost (these names!), and he is the 'better' guy, but meh. Erik (what did he do to get a normal name?) probably would be my choice if I had to pick one, just because he seems like the underdog. The moment I entirely gave up on this was this: at the end of one chapter, Adelice makes out with one of the guys, then, in the next chapter, she finds out the other guy had a romantic past and got jealous. *throws up hands* And, of course, anytime she seems close to making a decision, based on syrupy protestations of needing to be with one of the guys, she'll suddenly start thinking maybe she's not so sure.

The most interesting characters were not the main ones. Loricel is my personal favorite. She's clever, kooky and has shades of grey to her personality. Maela and Cormac make stellar villains, of different kinds and powers. I definitely want to throw both of them across Arras. Cormac seriously creeps me out, which is a good sign in a villain.

Crewel was not the book for me, and I don't plan to continue with this series, unless I see reviews that convince me otherwise by other people who felt meh about this one. Will you like it? Maybe. If you read more for world building than for characters, you could potentially love Crewel.
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