Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Monday, October 15, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel
by Gennifer Albin

To be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR
on October 16, 2012

Source: Received e-ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss.   Read my review policy/disclosure here.



My summary: In a world run by the Guild, there are few freedoms. The soldiers come for Adelice unexpectedly, tearing her away from her family during dinner. When she tries to run, she's jailed, then offered a future that other girls dream of: life as a Spinster, a girl who weaves the very fabric of life.  She'll have the power to create and destroy.

My take: The first couple chapters of Crewel left me with a strong sense of deja-vu. A girl is torn from her family by a cruel and arbitrary selection process. The girl has to leave her adorable and much beloved younger sister. She meets her mentor, a guy who drinks too much. She's primped by a stylist in preparation for her duties to come.

After that, Crewel takes on an identity all its own. The book's fairy tale setting and matriarchal leanings make it a gentler, more beguiling story than the Hunger Games. Spinsters and weavers have long been a staple of myth and fairy tale. Think Rumplestiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, or Odysseus' wife Penelope, who told her suitors that she'd remarry when her weaving was finished, then craftily unraveled her work each night. The Greek Fates were also goddesses who spun out the lives of men. 

Crewel evokes a world in which men hold the power. However, talented spinsters like Adelice have the ability to weave time and matter. Spinsters can remove "weak threads" from the fabric of life, literally ending the existence of another with a tug and a snip.

Adelice is such a gifted weaver that her parents feared for her and wanted her to hide her abilities. After her attempted escape, the Guild is willing to overlook the small problem of Adelice trying to flee from her destiny. She learns that she has two secret talents above and beyond the average spinster, talents which come in handy as she navigates the hierarchy of spinsters and flirts with both a lowly valet and an ambitious young guard. If that sounds like a love triangle, don't worry. At least in this first installment of the Crewel World series, the threesome didn't seem to be headed in that direction. Crewel weaves together such a fascinating and original story world that some of the characters felt a little flat to me in comparison. But with such imaginative world building, I'd argue that this represents only a tiny snag in a truly stunning tapestry.

Crewel ends on the requisite YA series cliffhanger -- in fact, the plot spins off into a VERY unexpected direction at the end. Highly recommended to fans of fairy tales, fantasy, and historical fiction.

Have you read this yet? I'm giving away a finished copy in Hot Off the Presses tomorrow! Don't miss it!

44 comments:

  1. That ending was crazy, wasn't it? I cannot fathom where Albin is going to go from there but I'm excited to discover!

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    1. SO crazy. I'm extremely curious to see where the story is going.

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  2. Yeah, I notice the similarities of Crewel to Hunger Games too. I thought, I was the only one who felt that. Good thing I read your review! :)

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    1. For me, it was just in the first few chapters. After that the two stories were completely different :)

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  3. I can't wait to read Crewel. Thank you for the review.

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  4. I loved this book. It was so unique and I was so caught up in it. It was a bit over the top at times, but it still was awesome!! I am totally pining for the next book already! Fab review hon!

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    1. Unique is the word -- I loved the spinning/weaving concept -- so cool!

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  5. No! But I totally want to read it! :D Awesome review!

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  6. I still can't decide if I want to start this now or wait until more books are out. There are only so many dystopian type books that I can read at once. Plus the YA cliffhanger is a turnoff - if I can't have the next book yet. BUT I really like the fairytale angle of this one! I haven't heard that mentioned before and it's definitely a draw for me.

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    1. I hear you -- the number of cliffhangers and series is becoming overwhelming. And there's something so satisfying about reading a series one book after the other!

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  7. Amazing review, Jen! I've been hearing how fantastic this book is from a bunch of people, but your review has definitely won me over!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

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    1. Aw, thanks. It's really a breath of fresh air. Loved the story world!

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  8. Yay, awesome review! i'm glad you lied this one, Jen. The reviews have been so crazy, people just go nuts over it or seem to hate it with a passion!

    My fave part of your review:

    "The book's fairy tale setting and matriarchal leanings make it a gentler, more beguiling story than the Hunger Games. Spinsters and weavers have long been a staple of myth and fairy tale. Think Rumplestiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, or Odysseus' wife Penelope, who told her suitors that she'd remarry when her weaving was finished, then craftily unraveled her work each night. The Greek Fates were also goddesses who spun out the lives of men."

    Awesome cross referencing and woo hoo! for nods to Greek mythology and classical literature:))

    I really liked this book as well, I know it's yet another dystopian but I thought the weaving aspects were pretty darn cool. And that ENDING! Holy cow, I didn't see that coming!

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    1. Uh, that would be 'liked' not lied:)You are one of the most honest people I know;))

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    2. I know -- what was that ending? I read it again today just to be sure I hadn't misremembered it!

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    3. And, yeah, autocorrect is always putting weird words in my mouth.

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  9. Awesome review, I have heard some amazing things about this one. I am going to be reading it hopefully soon!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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  10. I've seen this book around, but never really knew what it was about before. Do you know how many books will be in the series? I'm on a mission not to begin a series until it's complete then BOOM!!

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    1. I'm pretty sure the author tweeted recently that she'd finished drafting book three. So I'm guessing a trilogy at least....

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  11. This does sound like something I would enjoy. I like the fairy tale aspect you mentioned. I have been a little on the fence, but the author will be at a local event in May so I think I will give it a try before then! :)

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    1. Definitely try it. I was expecting straight-up dystopian, but I really loved the feel of the book. It definitely felt more like myth-fairy-tale-fantasy to me!

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  12. You know i totally didn't see the 'hunger games' similarities in this book until I read it in your review. you are spot on though! I personally found it a bit difficult to get through this book, i liked it but there just wasn't enough excitement for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it though! :)

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  13. Wow the book definitely sounds good!I initially added it to my TBR because I loved the cover,but the story sounds as great as the cover! :)

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  14. Great review! Sounds interesting. =)

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  15. I'm a fan of fairy tales, fantasy and historical fiction!!

    Also, this book sounds so good!! I NEED to read it!! The beginning does sound quite familiar though ;)

    Thanks for the review!

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  16. Fans of fairytales? I'm in! :D And fantasy!
    I can't wait to read this book. It sounds so unique.

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  17. I love fairy tales!
    I've had this book on my to read list forever
    Can't wait to read it

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  18. I am dying to read this and I love a great cliff hanger!!! Thanks for a great review!

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  19. Thanks for the review! I heard about this book but frankly wasn't interested. I thought it was about some magical crocheter or something but I appreciate you spelling it all out for me :) I really do like fairy tales and all that jazz so this could end up on my TBR list!

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  20. Well, I already wanted this book before I read your (amazing!) review, and now I just HAVE to get my grubby little paws on Crewel .... especially the *unexpected direction* cliff hanger!! <3
    Mary DeBorde aka M.A.D.

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  21. The summary of the book was kinda vague, but after reading your summary, now I really wanna read it! Crewel seriously sounds awesome! I love your review- I wanna know more about these "spinsters"! :)

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  22. I've seen so many excellent reviews of this book. It looks AMAZING! And the cover is so beautiful! I hate endings that are cliffhangers, but I do like that it was unexpected.

    Thanks for sharing, Jen!

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  23. I love fairy tales and the book looks so good! And the cover -- WOW!

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  24. That ending WAS unexpected, wasn't it? I'll admit, I was confused for a good third of this book. But I THINK I get it now. :P Also, it seemed like a big ole hodge podge of elements from other dystopian stories but all drawn together in a decisively different way. I mean, I had no idea it was going to take the sci-fi/fantasy turn that it did, but I'm not sorry that's where the story's headed. In fact, that's part of the reason I'm excited to read more of this series.

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  25. I'm really looking forward to reading this one for the world building! I've heard such amazing things about it.

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  26. oooh this sounds like an interesting book :D another dystopia. i LOVE your summary. seriously, you should write blurbs for a living.

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  27. I'm a huge fan of dystopia, so this one appeals to me! I've been seeing the book cover popping up everywhere lately! Nice review!

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  28. This sounds really good. The Hunger Games is a little rough/violent for me in concept, so I'd like a gentler world. I will put this on my tbr, but will probably wait to read it until the next book is out since I hate strong cliff-hangers and having to wait to see what happens next!

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  29. Awesome review!! Sounds as good as I hoped. I am hoping to get to this one soon! The dystopian books are really popular right now. I have enjoyed most of the ones I read. Thanks for the review!
    Brittany S

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