Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Here's a surprise for you--another review! :)



Incapable. Awkward. Artless. 
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. 

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.


My gosh this book was amazing. I'm going to start off right away and say that if you haven't read this yet, go do it. But alas, I am quite glad I waited for a few days for my initial reactions to sink in and give me time to think. If I had written this review as soon as I'd finished, I'd have given it a 5/5 right away. (I would still give it that in terms of my own enjoyment of it, but critically it fell just a bit short.)

The premise is completely new, and I love it. It's dystopian, which I'm usually really on the border about, but it's so well-written, and I think that even readers that don't like dystopian would have a big chance of enjoying this book. I think it's really the concept that originally drew me to the book.

The pacing of the story was pretty quick, and I was glad that there wasn't really a lot of info-dumping. It moves fast enough that you're kept interested and sucked into the novel, especially towards the middle-ish, end-ish, though that isn't to say the beginning isn't. I don't want to say it's necessarily a quick read, but it's a book that I personally wanted to keep reading and not put down.

What I think Gennifer did extremely well was world-building. You could imagine the strands of the weave. You could picture the metro stations. And again, there wasn't much info-dumping (more on this below). This kind of ties back to the premise thing above, but really, the world-building stuck out.

But the thing I loved most about the book was that it was thought-provoking, at least for me. The thing is, a lot of people are criticizing the book for slut-shaming, sexism, etc, but that's kind of the point. Look, Gennifer minored (or was it double majored) in Gender/Women's Studies (I forget which). I think she'd know better than to do something like that unless it was intentional. And it was. What I found interesting was how, on the one hand, it shows how much our own society has moved forward and improved, but at the same time it shows how much further we have to go. This applies to sexism, homophobia, stereotypes, segregation, etc. While it contrasts our society in many ways, it also shows how there are so many similarities. So no, Gennifer isn't sexist; she did it on purpose, and I think she wanted to start a conversation about it.

So, you might be thinking, if it's so awesome, why don't I just give it a 5/5 right away? Or what about the characters? Don't fret--here's your answer.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the characters for the most part. I liked Adelice, Jost, Erik (to some extent), Valerie, Enora, and Loricel. I loved to hate Priyana, Cormac, the Guild, and Maela. But the thing is, those are pretty much all the characters. Sure, there's Amie and Adelice's parents and for a short time, other Eligibles, BUT THAT'S ABOUT IT. And the thing is, a lot of the characters lacked the depth that I look for, particularly Erik. I think we did get to know a lot about him, but there was always something missing. Enora, though one of my favorites, was also pretty flat (as well as Valerie). They were more like plot devices more than anything else. Enora provided much of the info-dump, and then her and Valerie, who was hardly involved beforehand, had a pivotal role towards the end but also in a more plot device-y type of way. Yes, Adelice and Jost, and arguably Priyana and Loricel, were well thought out and complex, but there was very little of that from everyone else (I was going to say possibly Cormac, but I'm not sure). It was enough for me to get through the book and not notice until I thought more in-depth about the novel, but it was there. (Also the love triangle thing is a bit iffy for me. I feel like she never even really knew Erik, so that felt so fake. I just don't like how it's done.)

And lastly, the other thing was that I was left with so many unanswered questions at the end, and even while reading, there were many concepts I still couldn't grasp until the end. Those weren't huge bumps, but it did break up the reading a bit. So what were the parents involved with? Were there others involved? What exactly is the Guild? What exactly is remapping? etc, etc. Again, this didn't hinder the reading and didn't make the book any less enjoyable, but it was always in the back of my mind.

All in all, I'd seriously recommend this!

Rating: 4.5/5 (Critically); 5/5 (Personal enjoyment)
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You can find Crewel at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Gennifer's official website, and Indiebound.

You can find Gennifer Albin on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and her official website.
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