Monday, 2 September 2013

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Title: Crewel
Author: Gennifer Albin
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Released: October 4th 2012
Pages: 360 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

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.

I went into Crewel expecting to enjoy it - I came out of Crewel wondering what the heck I had just read. THIS. IS. AMAZING. I have spent the last few days reeling from this book and avoiding writing a review because what the heck am I supposed to say? In my eyes, Crewel just got better and better with each page; it is addictive, imaginative, and full to the brim with suspense.

Adelice is a Spinster, meaning she can see and weave time, changing and enhancing the environment around her. Her home of Arras depends on the altering of matter, so each year potential sixteen-year-old girls are put through a series of tests to find out who has what it takes to be a Spinster. Naturally, Adelice is taken. However, the inner world of the Spinsters is far different than she could have ever imagined - once, they seemed as if they were an exception to the rules the government has set in place. Now, she realises that they have even more restrictions than she could ever imagine.

I still don't know where to start! First off, I guess I've got to comment on the world-building - um, Albin rocks at it! Just from descriptions, Arras built itself up around me, the background ever increasing in believability. I loved how Albin took the idea of time and (sort-of) time travel and zoomed in on it, creating a novel examining the mechanics behind it in an exciting and ingenious way. I also loved how she set down rules for time - some sci-fi novels just let you go crazy with paradoxes and loopholes and whatnot, but Albin made what Spinsters could and could not do clear.

In my drama class last year, my teacher gave us an assignment to envision what the world would be like if we were denied a certain right. Going to an all-girls school, a lot of us immediately jumped to there being a lack of women's rights. This is one of the main themes in Crewel - the only position of power a woman can have is being a Spinsters, and even that has its limitations. Some may have found this sexist, but I personally think Albin made a great point by weaving (pun intended!) this into her world, as it showed just how different things are now compared to how they used to be - and how awful it would be if things returned to that way!

Adelice was an...interesting character. Whilst a small part of me felt like her emotions were very in-check (meaning that she didn't react to some things as much as I thought she would), I could get over that by the fact that she was so damn likeable! I just couldn't not like her! I think the trick with sci-fi or fantasy novels is to find a beacon - a tie to the real world - and to cling to them. That way, despite being a bit lost at first, you'll be able to make your way through the novel.

The boys...swoooon. I was tripping over my tongue left, right and centre. Usually I'd pick a side, but in the case of Jost and Erick, I just love them both equally. They were so gorgeous and seductive that I just wished they could slip from the pages and become real.  Cormac on the other hand can stay in the book. His sliminess made my skin crawl - I just don't trust him, and I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for him in Altered, the sequel. Speaking of which - I NEED IT NOW! Please be released already!

So overall, if it isn't obvious, I loved Crewel. I'm just wondering why I didn't read this before, to be honest! But better late than never I guess, and now, I am totally on the bandwagon and won't be jumping off it any time soon. If you love dystopian novels with a sci-fi twist, then pick this up, because it has your name on it!
Rating: 5/5


  1. Crewel was awesome! I remember being totally blown away by how unique the concept is :D Not long until Altered!
    Fab review, Nina :)