Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Genre: Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Dystopia/Utopia
Publishing Info: Wattpad serialisation September 2014 (originally published October 16, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
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.
Crewel is the first book in Gennifer Albin’s gripping young adult series.
I read this book for free when it was posted as a serialisation on the writing website Wattpad, but I would have gladly bought it. The world Albin has created blew me away. This book stands out from many of the other dystopia/utopia young adults books because it has such a unique, original, and imaginative world and concept. The idea is that particular girls can manipulate ‘the weave’ and use it to manipulate the events in Arras. I can’t find the words to explain it right but Albin explains it very clearly and beautifully. Even if you don’t understand the concept right away it becomes more clear as the chapters go on.
Adelice is a strong character who wants to protect the people she cares about as much as she wants to get out of the Guild’s controlling hands. I like how she doesn’t lap up the lavish lifestyle the Guild provides for the Spinsters, not really caring for all the beauty treatments and expensive clothes. It shows she has an independent mind. I also like that she isn’t inherently rebellious like many other protagonists in the dystopia/utopia genre. Her parents drive her to rebel and hide her gifts to protect her from the Guild controlling her, which propels her into a path away from the rules.
The ‘villains’ of the story aren’t necessarily completely evil, and have their own motivations for their actions. They help move the book along as they continually attempt to push Adelice into a mould of the perfectly behaved and obedient Spinster.
The one thing that let the book down (and why I only gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5 stars) is that the love triangle sneaks into it. This crops up in so many young adult books that I find it incredibly annoying. In most books it isn’t necessary for the plot and if it is then it is a very weak plot device. However, it isn’t too bad in Crewel as Adelice’s whole world doesn’t revolve around her decision between these boys. It’s very much a side plot which comes up occasionally but which isn’t constantly being shoved in your face. The two ‘love interests’ have good personalities and they actually have a past which very much influences their actions, emotions and personality.
At first I wondered where the plot was going to go as at the start it is mostly about Adelice being at the academy. Then there are twists and turns and the plot begins to build up and get very exciting. I found myself unable to stop reading once I got into it. There are a few slow parts but mostly there is lots going on and it kept my attention.
Overall I was sad when it was finished and itching to get my hands on the next book. I was also disappointed to not be able to give it the stunning five stars I wanted to due to the love triangle issue. What makes this book special is how fresh and original it is and how amazing and imaginative the concept of the book is. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone interested in dystopia/utopia and is looking for something mind-blowingly unique and exciting.