Sunday, 22 March 2015

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Series: Crewel World
Author: Gennifer Albin
Page Count: 368
Published: October 16th, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
5 Stars ★★★★★

Adelice lives in Arras, a world where weather, food, and everything else is monitored and controlled by Spinsters; people who manage the weave that makes up Arras.

Adelice has a secret. She can see and manipulate the weave without using a loom. Her parents have taught her all her life how to fail weaving tests so that when her testing day comes, she will not be taken to the Coventry to train as a Spinster. 

Unfortunately, she slips up during testing and is brought to the Coventry where she immediately makes enemies of Maela and Pryana and befriends Jost, the head valet. With Maela watching her every move and Pryana ready to strike at any moment, Adelice must be careful who she trusts, and she must make sure that nobody knows about her friendship with Jost.

Arras is not as it seems, the ruling Guild may have ulterior motives for every choice that they make, and for Adelice, one wrong move could cost her everything she has left.

I picked up this book because it sounded different. Imagine a world made of what is essentially fabric, controlled by a small amount of people (small in comparison to the entire population of Arras). I have to say, it was most definitely different and incredibly unique!

I loved the conspiracies that revolved around the Guild. Conspiracies are one of my favourite kinds of mysteries, and this book really nailed it. I was always wondering if the characters had secret motives for everything that they did, and about who Adelice could really trust....

The love triangle was perfect. It was balanced and obvious but it did not distract from the bigger story. If anything,  I sometimes forgot about the love triangle because I was so caught up in the mysteries surrounding Adelice's situation. 

Emotions run high in this book! The author has you feeling Adelice's every moment of happiness, fear, sorrow, and disgust as if they were your own feelings. I felt so empathetic for her and I was constantly rooting for her to outsmart the Guild. Other characters (whom I cannot name because it may be a spoiler) also go through situations where I was on the edge of my seat in fear, shock, and sadness for them. 

Adelice was a very likeable character. She had her flaws and her strengths, and I really connected with her. Her bravery and determination were admirable. The other characters were similarly likeable, or absolutely despicable. Others stood in the gray area and I couldn't decide if liked them or loathed them.

I have to mention the diversity in this book. The characters came from different backgrounds, enjoyed different things, were of all ages and had unique relationships. I am so grateful that the author included LGBTQ characters in this novel, and I loved that she used them to illustrate the idea that people are afraid of what they don't know. 

Not to point fingers, but I was looking through reviews on Barnes and Noble's website and came across one where the reviewer was upset that the author had included LGBTQ characters. She claimed that as a society we are losing our "morals". This made me admire the author of this book even more because she took a risk by including queer characters and portraying their relationship as equal to heterosexual relationships, but challenged by a bigoted government. I liked how when Adelice found out, she saw nothing wrong with their love and found the treatment of the couple unfair. Kudos to you, Gennifer Albin, from an LGBTQ person. 

This book also did a great job of reflecting the reality of harmful values, generally placed upon girls and women, often found in society. The author discusses these issues through the treatment of women in this book. Married women are expected to put their husband before everything else. Women are subjected to these ridiculous "purity standards" that they must keep up.

Overall, a great book! I loved it and I was surprised by how much it got to me. 

I recommend this books to fans of YA and dystopia especially if you're looking for a unique dystopian novel. If you want to read a book about questioning what you have been told and breaking free from society's boundaries, this book is for you.

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