Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Summary: Adelice has the unique ability to weave time and matter without the aid of a loom. She’s sent to the Coventry, where she will remain a Spinster, weaving things in and out of existence in order to keep the world working. But Adelice has never played by the rules.
My thoughts: Gennifer Albin creates a world so complex in Crewel that some readers, like myself, may have difficulty wrapping their head around it. That’s not to say that Crewel is lacking in world-building, because it absolutely isn’t. However the concept of the looms and the Spinsters is so abstract and strange that I had trouble fathoming it. For those like me, fear not: there’s a point in Crewel, about halfway through, that helps us relate Adelice’s world to our own, solidifying the concept in our minds.
On the topic of Crewel’s setting, I would like to applaud Gennifer Albin for thinking up such a unique idea for a universe. All things in our world are made up of atoms and matter, so it does make a strange sort of sense for things in Adelice’s world to be made up of strands woven together. I follow Albin’s logic, but man, I never would have come up with that idea on my own. Hats off to Gennifer!
Crewel is infused with tension from start to finish. (The misery of Adelice’s situation reminded me a bit of WITHER, for some reason. Those who enjoyed Lauren DeStefano’s debut will definitely like Crewel.) It’s difficult to put Crewel down once you’ve started, not because it’s fast-paced, but because it causes you to hold your breath due to the emotion within it. Crewel is a heartbreaking kind of novel.
On the surface, I loved Adelice as a protagonist. Her ability to be completely frank in life-threatening situations is very interesting (and occasionally humorous) to read about. However, as a whole, I didn’t feel very much for Adelice. I felt as if the focus was more about the dynamics of the Spinsterhood and those within it, rather than a single girl, no matter how special she may be. Considering the first-person narration, this is strange. Still, the way Albin expresses the politics of Adelice’s world is very well done, and again, full of tension.
An incredible world
+ a tense and emotional story
+ a modestly likable protagonist
= Crewel, a book unlike any other
For those who like: fantasy, social politics, stories about sexism
Find the author at genniferalbin.com.
Comment question: When’s the last time you read a book that was difficult to wrap your head around? What was it?