Review of CREWEL by GENNIFER ALBIN
(first in the CREWEL WORLD series, based on a review copy)
Adelice lives in a world where gifted women possess the power to “weave” reality on a physical tapestry, crafting every decision for every individual in society. These revered Spinsters weave everything from birth and death to relocating supplies.
In a society where you have to pick your words very carefully, well, Adelice’s parents have done just that her whole life. Thankfully, their careful word selection has been enough to warn her that they hope she isn’t picked as a Spinster because that life isn’t the heaven those in power would have her believe. Of course, as any reader would expect, Adelice is picked as a Spinster. Her parents’ attempts to hide her fail and have devastating consequences. Once in her new home, Adelice hears repeated whispers about how girls who try to run like she did rarely get the honor of living...and yet she’s receiving preferential treatment. It turns out Adelice has some extra special capabilities that make her too powerful an asset to murder over the slightest display of rebellion.
I really liked Adelice. She’s recklessly brave, speaking up in situations where she knows full well that her challenging comments will have repercussions. She’s too true to her mind to keep her mouth shut even when doing so would make life go more smoothly for her.
Albin also populates her novel with an assortment of distinct and interesting side characters, each well crafted and intriguing in their own way. Most admirably, each feels like they have their own story even if we’re fixating on Adelice’s right now.
While I really love the concept of this crafty magic system, the magic sometimes feels a little arbitrary. The limitations are laid down like facts, but I don’t understand why you can do one thing but not another, except that it works better for the story that way. I think that if you can weave reality you should be able to change time, for one thing. Though I will mention that I really liked how Adelice learns to manipulate the weave to create “new moments,” little snippets of reality outside what others around her can see or experience. Talk about having a nice safe space in a bad situation.
With CREWEL, Albin introduces readers to a unique and intriguing world but more notably to an exceptional heroine. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.