Gennifer Albin 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 and matter, Adelice is 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, power and beauty, the ability to embroider the very fabric of life. It also means entering a world secrets and lethal intrigue. But unlike the others, Adelice isn’t interested in controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have and will do anything to hide her talent from the Guild. But when she slips up during her final test, her gift is identified. Now she has one hour to eat her mum’s overcooked dinner. One hour to listen to her sister’s school gossip and laugh at her dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything is OK. And one hour to escape. Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back…
Adelice is gifted, but she doesn’t see it that way. Taught by her parents to hide her gifts her world falls apart when she slips just once during testing. Dragged from all she has ever known Adelice is about to find out the truth about the world that she thought that she knew.
Crewel is part of a influx of dystopian novels following the success of the Hunger Games, but I can’t help feeling that this book is slightly different. Crewel definitely has a stronger sci fi based storyline than some of the other books currently around. So much so that I did find myself getting confused on occasion about certain aspects, but the science was never my strong point! At the same time the book also looks at common themes in dystopian fiction such as governmental control and the rights of women.
Adelice is a strong central character, one that I really enjoyed. She is feisty, sometimes recklessly so and so completely likeable. There were parts where I thought she may be a little flighty, especially when it comes to the hint of a ever present love triangle, but she does show growth and progression as a character throughout the book. The book is very much told from Adelice’s point of view and I did find the lack of insight into other characters frustrating at times. This is something that I think may be remedied in subsequent books.
This is a book that explores the issue of control. The control that government may have over its subjects in every part of their lives, including that which we would consider private. The control that men so often exert over women and the control that we do on occasion have to exert on ourselves. This makes the book incredibly thought provoking and although the setting is incredibly different from the world that I know I did find it easy to see how a society like this could come about.
The book was well written and fairly fast paced. Sometimes book that are quite thought provoking are long and more difficult reads. That was not the case here. It was a book that I motored through, hungry to find out more. There were a couple of twists that I did see coming from a mile off, but that really didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. Verdict: Well written and thought provoking with a very engaging main character Reviewed by Alison
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: October 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Sci Fi
Challenge: Debut Author