Book Review of Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Posted October 3, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 18 Comments

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Series: Crewel World #1
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher.

Blurb: 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 as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. 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 wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

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 stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

Review: What do I want to tell you about Crewel? I know I want to mention how extremely original and well thought out the premise is. It certainly is one if the most creative ideas I have come across this year. But I also think, for some readers, it will be a little hard to suspend disbelief. That was me in the beginning. I eventually ended up loving this one quite a bit, but I can totally understand why some readers didn’t care for this book. For the most part, the reviews I have been reading are WOW, but there are some that don’t like it, and I get it.

You have to somehow believe that this world that Adelice lives in is controlled by these girls that can weave the very fabric of the world they are living in. On a loom, in this…I guess it’s a palace, that is cut off from the rest of the world and ran by the very corrupt government. And that only these girls have the ability and no one else. I guess they just evolved that way? They go to school in academies where they learn how to weave the fabric of life, but they supposedly already have the ability. But…how?

The idea that these girls have the ability to remove/kill someone just by ripping a thread out of the loom, well it’s a little hard to believe. I tried as hard as I could to just roll with it, and for the most part, I was able to. But if you really want to know where I deducted a star, it was because of this. As creative as the world-building is, it also has to make sense for it to work. And for me, it just did not. I felt like the author glazed over some descriptions that would really have helped me to understand it more. When Adelice goes to the coventry and they are teaching her things, I didn’t feel like it was described for the reader very well. And there are some things later on that have to do with how the world of Arras came to be that I had issues with. Again, the explanations were very vague. I actually did love the world-building, but like i said in my status updates, I like my dystopian landscapes to have a foothold in reality, and this one just…it confused me. And most of the time, sense it did not make. Yet I kept turning pages. So it must have not been all that bad.

Adelice is a well-developed character and I really did root for her. I loved how insubordinate she was and I loved how she stood up for herself. There were other characters I liked as well. My other favorite was Loricel. She was an older woman with a very important role who became a sort of mentor for Adelice. The villains were vile as they were supposed to be, but kind of one-dimensional. They were the typical villains you would find in an action move and a bit corny, I suppose, but it worked for me and they scared me enough that I was terrified for Adelice. Maybe it’s not so much the antagonists that scared me, but the idea of this stifling, corrupt government. For Adelice, there was no chance of escape–nowhere to run–and for me, there was a very claustrophobic feeling running through this novel almost constantly.

Now we get to the fun part. The love interests. Yes, there is a plural there. Yeah…there’s a love triangle. I wish I could say that there wasn’t, because it wasn’t particularly well done. It wasn’t bad either, it was just kind of there. The characters, Erik and Jost (that name!), aren’t particularly well developed either. They were kind of flat and almost seem like they were added to the book last minute. I would have been perfectly fine if this book had not had a romance at all because the story was strong enough to carry the narrative without the added romance. Or just one love interest. That would have been better. Once again, I am not against love triangles if they serve a purpose in the story and are written with skill. This one was kind of meh and did nothing for me. But if you are going to make me choose, I choose Erik. I always root for the underdog.

The story was suspenseful and the pacing was consistent. The writing was gorgeous and flowed well. I can easily recommend this book. The cliffhanger wasn’t as brutal as I thought it would be and I actually LIKE where the story left off. I think the biggest problem most people will have with this one are the issues I had with the world-building. This is a dystopian novel, but because what went on would never actually happen, I consider it to be more fantasy than anything else. I guess maybe it seems that I did not like this book very much. But that is not the case. I kept the pages turning late into the night and I read this book faster than I do most. There were just little nitpicky issues I had here and there. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this one. Did you like it or did you not? Did you run into any of the same problems I had?

To purchase a copy of Crewel from, click here: Crewel (Crewel World).

18 responses to “Book Review of Crewel by Gennifer Albin

  1. Hmmm…I’m just not sure that I would like Crewel. I like the idea, but I’m not a big fan of dystopians or unbelievable world-building. BUT I do love beautiful writing,so I may try Crewel at some point. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
    Thanks for the great review!

    • I agree with you, Andrea. Normally, I would feel the same way. I love fantasy as a genre and I am still not sure how I feel about the two blending. But I liked it enough to read on. And yeah, the writing was pretty special.

  2. It’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief, too, if something just doesn’t make sense. It sounds like everything else was good enough to make up for it, though. This is the first I’ve heard about Crewel. The “threads” they weave reminds me a little of Caitlin Sweet’s The Pattern Scars.

    • Yeah, I tried to suspend disbelief. I ended up doing pretty well because I was able to enjoy it, but I think maybe for me, this is just a personal thing.

      If you read it, I hope you enjoy it!

  3. You know I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, but I’m sort of not surprised you liked it a lot. This struck me as one of those things that would appeal to you, kind of like Magisterium.

    I actually didn’t really have trouble suspending disbelief, except with that bit at the very end. That got a bit odd.

    Oh man, I didn’t like Adelice at all. It’s funny. I looked at my review a couple days ago, and I said I liked Loricel, but I sure hardly remember her now. O_O

    Really? WORST LOVE TRIANGLE EVER imo. Well, maybe not worst, but seriously up there. The revelation at the end? Head, meet wall. I went with Erik too, just because I do the underdog thing, as well.

    • You are right about the similar feel to Magisterium. It was very dreamy and strange.

      Yes, the end. I know what you mean. It was not explained very well and I wish I could have talked about it more, but you know…spoilers.

      Loricel was the Creweler. Why didn’t you like Adelice? I thought she was a bad-ass who stuck up for herself though I hate how indecisive she was about the love interests.

      Nah. There are WAY worse love triangles. Twilight? Enclave? Those are both worse, imo. Though yes, the revelation was corny.

  4. Wow. Gorgeous cover, though. I’ve seen this one around on some lists, but I honestly hadn’t read any reviews or even read what it was about yet. Lol. Now that I have, it sounds intriguing. I think I’m going to have to consider picking this one up. Your review was so informative too. Thanks, I appreciate it. Kind of sucks there’s a love triangle and not much in the way of explanation for some things, but if you still enjoyed it despite that, then that’s good. 😛

    Great review. I look forward to reading this sometime and seeing what I think! 🙂


    • The cover is stunning. Though in person it is a little busy, the colors are still really attractive.

      I sort of posted my review early, but it comes out this month, so I thought it would be okay. Like i said on Twitter, I think you might like this one. For most people, this is a like it or hate it book.

      Feel free to share your thoughts when you finish. 🙂

  5. I thought this book was pretty good too-I was kind of taken by surprise! For me, the love triangle was really lacking; neither boy was very interesting and I want Adelice to have a fun personality-filled guy!

    • I can totally understand why you would feel that way. Many feel similarly. I just didn’t mind it so much. Though I am not really a fan of love triangles anyway, unless they are well done. This one was just…there.

  6. EEK YOU LIKED IT! I’m so happy! I freaking love this book it blew my mind giraffe balls style! I see people comment on the love triangle a lot and you know I just didn’t give a crap so I ignored it and it didn’t bother me. I think I was just too fascinated by the world! Awesome review, muffin cups!!!

    • I did! And I know you adored it. I didn’t love it quite that much, but I am a fan. There is room for more character development in the next book and hopefully the 2 love interests will grow more substance. I tend to ignore things when I really love something too. 🙂

  7. Hmm. I was really looking forward to reading this one, but now I’m not entirely sure I should be so excited. Maybe lower my expectations a bit. I can see how it might be hard to really believe in the world created. It’s unfortunate too that the love triangle and interests weren’t as dynamic as they could have been. You have me thinking that maybe this is a borrow, not a buy. Thank you!

    • Yes, the world-building was a little hard to believe, but I still really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say lower your expectation but maybe go into it with a DIFFERENT expectation.

      The love triangle was just blah though. I feel like it was unnecessary to the plot and just tacked on to make sales.

      You are so welcome. Thank you, Jessica!

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