Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel by Gennifer Albin(Cover picture courtesy of Xpresso Reads.)

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.

This time I can honestly say it was not the cover of this book that caught my attention.  Rather, it was the title.  Crewel.  What’s a crewel?  Is it a dystopian city, a deliberate misspelling of cruel for some sort of theme in the book or something else?  It was my curiosity that made me read the blurb and I soon learned it was a weaving term.  A teenage girl in a dystopian world where time itself is woven?  That’s pretty unique.  So of course I bought the book.

Gennifer Albin’s book is one of the very few dystopian novels I’ve read that has such an amazing, unique premise.  If the rest of the book were trash, you could read it for her world-building alone.  Good thing the rest of the book wasn’t trash, though.  She doesn’t dump too much info on you at once and just when you think you know all about Arras, you learn something completely different that throws the conventions for a loop.  And you know what?  All the shocking behind-the-scenes things that ordinary citizens in Arras don’t know about make sense considering the kind of beautiful yet horrible world they live in.

Adelice was an interesting protagonist.  She was defiant but she also learned when to fight and when to keep her mouth shut as she began her apprenticeship as a Spinster.  Yes, she made some pretty big mistakes because of her naivete but she learned from them and became a better person.  Adelice saw through all of the glitz and glamour and actually tried to find a way to hide her talents so she could escape.  Finally, a smart YA protagonist!  And when she falls for a guy that’s obviously not a good choice for her, she learns to smother her feelings and move on.  What a novel concept!

The plot starts off pretty fast in the beginning but then it slows down a little to allow you to catch your breath in this crazy new world.  As Adelice learns about the world around her, so do we and it’s a more natural pace than a lot of books.  Crewel focuses heavily on character development but it’s never at the expense of the plot.  There’s always this feeling of suspense and dread just lurking in the background, ready to materialize and wreak havoc on Adelice’s plans.  Especially toward the end of the novel when Cormac’s true intentions are made painfully clear as he goes from run-of-the-mill pervert to something a little more dangerous.

This is Gennifer Albin’s debut novel so I think we can expect great things from her in the future.  I can’t wait to read the rest of the Crewel World trilogy!

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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