Monday, April 29, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: CREWEL (Crewel World, #1) by Gennifer Albin


US Cover (left), UK Cover (right) 
CREWEL (Crewel World, #1) by Gennifer Albin

Published: October 16, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US)
Published: October 4, 2012 byFaber & Faber (UK)

GENRES: YA • NA • Science Fiction • Dystoptian • Supernatural Abilities • Political Intregue • Paranormal/Fantasy • Mild Romance
Technically 4.2 rounded to 4
Enter a tangled world of secrets and intrigue where a girl is in charge of other’s destinies, but not her own. 

Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die. 

Thrust into the opulent Western Coventry, Adelice will be tried, tested and tempted as she navigates the deadly politics at play behind its walls.  Now caught in a web of lies and forbidden romance, she must unravel the sinister truth behind her own unspeakable power.  Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it — or destroy it.
Hang on... I think my head just exploded into the far reaches of the galaxy. 

That was intense! Any classic Sci-Fi fiction readers out there should completely fall in love with this book. It reminded me of some true Sci-Fi classics. (My husband and I were arguing discussing this weekend the validity of the Sci-Fi label in recent works as compared to classical Sci-Fi... but I digress.) It was incredibly creative, immense in scope and thick with complexity. Most of the time I was sitting there with absolutely no clue.

There was a formidable quality to it that was a bit daunting. I am a COMPLETE klutz when it comes to all forms of sewing: quilting, knitting, weaving, cross-stitch and even the running stitch. Don't even try to get me using a sewing machine... I'll end up stitching my fingers to the fabric. So the terminology sometimes had me lying down on the floor of my room in crazy town.

However, the book was so refreshingly unique, so complex, multi-layered and textured that I didn't mind. In fact... I was pretty hyped up. The idea that in this future, everyone and everything can be manipulated, remade and in some cases duplicated or deleted? Fascinating. That Spinsters (women with special ability) can weave matter and time was such a revolutionary concept. This would have Spock's full attention. It makes so happy to find a book that no has even come close to. I get a little spastic-happy.

Some may find this too detailed for their taste. I must say to build a world of this scope there is a lot of information to reveal to the reader and that takes time. It was a slow build up in the beginning. Albin did get a little repetitive about some of the mythology as well which didn't help the pace early on. Once the ball started rolling, the pace improved. 

This was like Baklava... only better. It had so many layers to it, but a great deal of them were hidden till you took a bite got down to it. SEE MORE...
I must say that I felt the characters were distant and the emotional vulnerability was not as apparent as other novels. Some readers prefer it that way. There were sections where it left the abstract and became solid, tangible and impactful. Adelice really develops throughout the book and I absolutely came to fall in love with her character. Her sarcastic tongue comes out to give a lashing to the antagonists (Cormac, among others.)
In the beginning, she is just this frightened girl who's confused and unsure. As she learns what happened to everyone, and bad things keep piling up, Adelice decides to take a stand. She starts to really see her world around her for what it is, to question everything that came before and started looking for her own answers. 

I was a bit perplexed by how easy she fell into relationships with two certain characters (can't spoil it) since there was a "purity standard" for the society, so she had no interactions previously with males her age. I would have liked to see her first kiss be super awkward instead of how good it was. It is awkward for the real world... and we are around guys our whole lives. But that is NOT the main focus of the book, and if you are looking for a hot romance... you might skip this one. 

The dystopian aspect gains traction and develops greatly over the course of time.
The evil characters were not very impressive and were the most underdeveloped character group in the novel. I think if Albin had cut out some of the world building monologues in the beginning, clarified and evened out some of the mythology as well as developed the character connectivity earlier, it would have been perfect. The ending was a big cliffhanger that leaves my eager to read book two. ENJOY! HEY.. and the NOOK Book is FREE on Barnes & Noble...

Find a copy at your local library or click on a link below: