Review Detail4.1 6
The beginning of Crewel reminded me a lot of Matched by Ally Condie. The set up is only similar because both societies involved tight monitoring of its citizens. This means they are given a small pool of marriage options, limitations on the amount of children they can have, restricted access to other parts of the society, jobs chosen for them, etc.
Adelice, our main character, has the ability to weave time on an actual loom. It is a highly coveted ability in her society because it pretty much guarantees a woman a higher social status and a comfortable lifestyle without needing a husband. I'll admit I was worried about how Albin would pull off a society that was generally misogynistic. Even though woman were considered second-rate in this world (needing a husband, only having secretarial type jobs, no real positions of power, can't travel without a man, etc.) and were held to unfair higher standards than their male counter parts (Spinters had to remain "pure", women were expected to always appear a certain way in public: Make-up, dressed up and heels, act like a "lady") I never felt that this was ever accepted by the main character or by other secondary characters. And while I contemplated how I could ever survive in a society that forced me to wear heels all the time, I realized that these ideals were being challenged especially through Adelice's character. She was a strong, formidable heroine who did not back down or allow anyone to push her around. She took action at her own personal risk. She was bold, gutsy and witty.
As for Arras, this is yet again another book that makes talking about the world building difficult, mostly due to how Albin tells the story. She doesn't lay out the world building in the beginning over the first few chapters like most dystopians. In fact, for the first half of the book I still had quite a few questions on how the society in Crewel actually functioned. But the reader is given pieces bit by bit. As I learned more about the world, the plot continued to open up along the way. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about that style because I prefer my world building laid out from the beginning, but it grew on me and by the end of the book I had an appreciation for how it was told.
Final Verdict: Overall, I really like Crewel and think dystopian fans who are looking for something completely different, will eat this up. I don't usually say this that often, but Crewel is definitely a debut that lives up to the hype and will have readers hungering for more. I know I am.