Crewel by Gennifer Albin is the first of three books published in this series. There are a lot of paranormal YA stories out there and to find a unique world is rare so I consider this book a real gem. The story is set in a place called Arras where special young women weave the lives and environment of its inhabitants. Yet for the women who wield so much power within their fingertips, they are stuck in a horrible male chauvinist society. Boys and girls are segregated during their childhood and are expected to be married at seventeen. Women’s value is based on their attractiveness and one of the highest career achievements is to become a “pet”, the derogatory term for a secretary. It’s a sad life facing our heroine.
I really wish that the story’s conflict wasn’t driven by the main character’s poor choices. She is continually warned not to make waves, to the point that the life of a beloved family member is dependent upon her but instead of internalizing her thoughts, she repeatedly vocalizes snarky and challenging remarks to her enemies. Readers have to be reminded that if she didn’t have certain paranormal skills, she would have been killed for her actions.
The setting is so rich and diverse; the author barely has time to scratch its surface. I’m glad that the book ended with a bang (a huge rip) which sets up the series for an exciting next installment.
Woven truths 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.