Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Author: Gennifer Albin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Genre: YA Dystopia
How I Read It: ARC received from the publisher – The views expressed in my review are mine alone and I have received no compensation for these opinions.
Synopsis: In a world where the Guild decides everything, one sixteen-year-old girl dares to defy the power of men and the boundaries of love…
For generations, Spinsters have been called by Arras’s Manipulation Services to work the looms and determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die.
Gifted with the rare ability to weave time with matter, Adelice Lewys is exactly what the Guild is looking for, and being chosen as a Spinster means privilege and eternal beauty.
But once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
*Synopsis taken from the back of the book
My Review: Newly released books seem to come in waves, at least the largely hyped ones, and the trend in YA lit right now seems to continue to be dystopia. I’m not necessarily sad about that, it makes for some entertaining reads that take just a day or two. Unfortunately, at this point, they are somewhat formulaic: you’ve got a special girl who doesn’t know what she’s capable of; the government is super controlling and trying to find new ways to be even worse; several men in the book will be in love with said girl for no explainable reason; even though said girl doesn’t know what she’s doing, she manages to save the society despite her stupidity and bad decisions. Oh, and they are typically a series lasting at least three books, although we’re starting to get a lot of novella’s along with the full length novels.
This novel, which is the start of a series, introduced something I haven’t read in YA dystopia recently – weaving time and basically everything about life into a tapestry. Our main character, Adelice, isn’t the only special one…she’s just the most special of all the special. The big difference between this and other novels being that she doesn’t know it at first, but then quickly realizes she’s different from the other Spinsters and uses that in a way that I haven’t seen recently. For example, in a lot of other series, the heroine continues to accidentally be awesome. Adelice decides to explore her gift and use it to figure some things out.
I enjoyed Adelice more than I have other characters in her position, although I’m not gonna lie – her name sucks. It’s a little unfair to name any kid something that has the word “lice” in it. My name doesn’t even have anything so blatant and kids found reason to make fun of it when I was growing up! That aside, she does make some silly choices, but ones that are more believable to me given her age and the society she lives in. I think part of that is because we aren’t constantly told just how awesome she is throughout the book. We know she’s special, and she does too, but it’s not being flung in our faces all the time. It’s more like huh, she can do some weird things, that’s cool.
And mad props for the cover art, because I think it’s just gorgeous.
One thing I’m tired of these days in YA is that these girls all think they’re so plain and yet everyone else thinks their beautiful. I’m sorry, but it sounds like it’s taken right out of a One Direction song, and I’m getting a little bored of it. Of all the interested men in this book, Jost is the only one who doesn’t say that he’s attracted to Adelice because of her beauty. He seems genuinely interested in someone who isn’t a mindless follower of the Guild, and I liked him as a character. But while we’re on the subject, I’m also kind of bored of love triangles, or squares, whatever. Let’s be realistic: your world is kind of falling apart and all you can think about is which boy you’re going to choose? There aren’t other things you’re worried about? To Adelice’s credit, she’s not that way, but some of the love interests in the book are and it bugs me.
I also found the plot to be a little predictable…I could see the “twist” coming from miles away, and the end of the book was really the only way it could go. There were some threads left hanging in weird ways too, so I’m hoping that was just a teaser for future resolution. And I was admittedly confused about how it all works when we were given the explanation for where this world exists. Ultimately, I set that worry aside because I guess that’s the point of sci-fi type things, but I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the mechanics of this whole world.
Despite all that, I liked this for the uniqueness of the concept, as well as Adelice not being quite as predictable and annoying as some other heroines. It was a fast read, I finished it in a day, and again, it was entertaining. I’m intrigued enough that I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next few books, because this world is different in that it’s going to be harder for the villains to find our heroes, and it’s going to be harder for our heroes to save the world.
Read this book if: If you’re a fan of YA dystopia, I say read it and see what you think. On the whole, it’s better than at least one other series I’ve read in the last year!
My Rating: 3.5/5 – Two thumbs up, fine holiday fun!