Review: Crewel (Crewel World #1) by Gennifer Albin
Author: Gennifer Albin
Series: Crewel World #1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian
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. (Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads)
A Dystopian That Stands Apart...
I started reading Crewel simply because my awesome friend Jessie lent it to me, and because the premise sounded really cool. And really, weaving the fabric of reality? Sounds like a book I would love! But as I got into this story I began to realize that there was something that made Crewel so much more than just a cool plot–the broad themes. And it got me thinking. Most of the books that I absolutely love over all the others share specific things in common. Sure, they’ve got a great plot and lots of action and twists and turns, and great, complex characters, but they’ve also got that extra something–some kind of theme that spans the entire story or series. And because Crewel has this extra oomph, Gennifer Albin has put her story apart from most of the other dystopian fantasy novels that are on the market today.
And what is that theme, you ask? Well, in dystopians there normally is this idea that the government or someone in power is evil, or doing things that really do not benefit the rest of the community, and the main characters somehow try to thwart that government or person in power. And yes, that’s included in Crewel (because it really wouldn’t be dystopian without it), but Albin took it an extra step and created a world where men are the ones in power, and while some women do have a certain amount of power, they are still controlled by men and most women are thought to be happy if they simply have makeup to wear. In creating this sort of society, Albin has not only created a government that is corrupt and in need of a revolution, but she has created an even bigger hurdle for her characters to overcome, and created this story that speaks volumes of the way women are still treated in our own world. I just love this idea, and I love that I’ve been reading so many books with such powerful messages lately (see also my review of Gravity by Melissa West). Albin also includes the theme of equality for sexual orientation in the story, which made me love this book and the author even more.
Clever Writing, Action and Love Triangle…
I also love how Albin has used the term “Spinster” in this story in a way that it has multiple meanings–the same kind of meanings that it holds in our own society, that of someone who spins on a loom and also an unmarried woman. I just think it was pretty clever to use that term in multiple, symbolic ways.
And of course if I love a story it most likely has some great action in it, and Crewel did not disappoint in that way. Plus there was a fantastic twist that made this story even more amazing than it already was! And I really enjoyed the love triangle in this story. In so many YA novels, there is a love triangle, but often it’s quite obvious who the main character is going to choose, and the other guy just seems annoying and clingy. But in Crewel, I really never had a definite “Team” I was rooting for, although I was slightly more Team Jost for most of the story, and at the end I’m leaning more towards Team Erik… But what happens in the rest of the series remains to be seen!
Gennifer Albin gets some bonus points for the following reasons:
- 10,000 bonus points for a bath that is so huge that someone could swim in it.
- 50,000 bonus points for all the hints of other stories that I saw in this book, like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Never-Ending Story, Divergent, etc.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes* from Crewel:
Five huge stars, and it has been added to my favorites list on Goodreads. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!