Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on June 10, 2013 | 16 Comments

Review: Crewel by Gennifer AlbinCrewel by Gennifer Albin
Series: Crewel World #1
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux (10.16.2012)
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: Library
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3.5 Stars

For generations, Spinsters have been called by Arras’s Manipulation Services to work the looms and determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die. Gifted with the rare ability to weave time with matter, Adelice is exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But once you become a Spinster, there is no turning back. Now caught in a web of lies and intrigue, Adelice must decide who to trust: her kind mentor, Enora; the handsome and mysterious valet Jost; or the charismatic Guild ambassador Cormac Patton. They each have secrets, but Adelice is about to unravel the deadliest one of all, a sinister truth that could destroy reality as she knows it.

In a powerful and original debut about a world where the Guild decides everything, one extraordinary girl dares to defy the power of men and the boundaries of love.

My thoughts

I’m not really sure what to think of this book overall. I had a lot of issues with the world building, but it was so unique I couldn’t help but enjoy it anyway.

I had a very difficult time in the beginning because I was really struggling to understand all of the terms and trying to envision the world. Things were not explained very well at all. I had a hard time picturing anything in my head, and thinking about it made my brain hurt. Arras, the Guild, Stream, complants, rebound, motocarriage (kinda speaks for itself, but still. A description would have been nice), digifile…I picked up on the meanings eventually, but a brief description could have painted a picture in my head rather than confusing me. I shouldn’t be just figuring out what important terms are when I’m halfway through the book.

I don’t think I started actually getting into this book until the scene with the first ‘ripping.’ That was almost 100 pages in. The beginning was a bit rough for me because I was having trouble with the world building, and frankly I was bored. Extremely. So bored, in fact, that I almost considered putting it down. I’m glad I stuck with it though – it didn’t wow me, but the last half was much better.

I have to admit I liked the idea of it, though! Everyone was controlled by threads in a loom…and that made up the whole world. Again, I had some trouble grasping it, but it was still a pretty awesome concept. The fact that it’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before makes it stand out, and I’m more likely to remember it even though I didn’t love it. 

I can see how some people would have problems with it being rather misogynistic. But it worked for me. It didn’t really bother me because it was convincing that this was the way they lived. I mean seriously guys, you can tell just by reading the synopsis (which I got straight from the cover flap because it’s better than the Goodreads one) – ‘power of men,’ and the line about privilege and beauty. The men and women are segregated, and women are pretty much raised to be tested for being a Spinster. The only line that irked me was this: 

“Actually, you don’t see many women out from behind the desk these days. Not without their husbands.”

It annoyed me, but I think that was the intent. Because it really conveyed that misogynist society. 

The characters were meh. I didn’t really care much about any of them. Adelice was alright – she didn’t wow me, but I admit that she earned my grudging respect with this line:

“Fetish? Big word.” He raised one eyebrow at me, challenging me to explain how a pure Eligible knows a word like that. I want to tell him that unlike the other simpering idiots here I’ve actually read a book or two in my life.

I did really like Cormac for some reason. I’m very curious about him! I hope to see more of him in the next book!

The love triangle really irked me, though. Adelice kissed Erik, then 30 pages later she kissed Jost and was thinking about them at the same time, like she could have them both. There was no guilt or feeling of wrongness for playing both guys. These are the kind of love triangles that ruin my enjoyment of the story!

There was one revelation regarding character identities that should have been a shock, but I found myself sadly unsurprised. The ending, on the other hand…I must admit that’s what saved this book for me! The cliffhanger was killer epic and it left me dying to know what happens!

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3.5/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 5/5
Characters: 3/5
World-building: 2.5/5
Pace: 3/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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16 responses to “Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

  1. Inky

    Firstly, ANOTHER JESSINATOR review! I’ve missed them. And you in general. Dang busy life. Second, AAW. I’m sorry. I have this book on my shelf and I’m excited to read this one. I’m sorry it wasn’t the best for you! But I’m glad the story wasn’t a total letdown. I hate it when that happens.

    And I am SO on board with the whole description thing!!! I am so annoyed if that doesn’t happen soon after we learn the term, or if it’s not easy to pick out. LIke in For Darkness Shows The Stars. The lack of description in the beginning….was terrible.

    Awesome review Jessinator!
    <3333 Inky

    • Daww I know I missed you too! I hope you love it more than I did at least. Yeah FDStS was awful! That’s why I couldn’t finish it. I didn’t know what the hell was going on and I was bored to tears. Sigh. Oh well…


      • Inky

        I think I was too generous with my rating. Took me like a million tries to get into it and push myself to read it. I think the only way I pushed was cuz Annabelle loved it and I usually share her taste..but NO.

  2. Eileen Li

    I’m sorry you didn’t LOVE this one, but I’m really happy that you still enjoyed it! I had that same issue with the characters I couldn’t really connect to them or care much about them, and I never noticed the romance thing of the description thing, but that definitely happens a lot, especially in fantasy books! It just makes it so hard to know what’s going on and by the time the sequel comes around I’m so confused and I have like no idea what they’re talking about lol.

    Fantastic review!!!

  3. Melanie Z

    URGH, Yuck. love triangles can really suck sometimes. Shame you didn’t love this. i’ve been meaning to read this novel for ages after everyone talking about the sequel’s release.
    Huh. Lovely review, Jessi! <33

  4. Crewel…was weird. I think you did a really good job of explaining how so in this review, girl. I REALLY liked it, because it was so unique, and I knew as I was reading it, I was definitely into all the Spinster work and such. But then again there was all this STUFF we as the reader are just supposed to figure out…which i liked for the most part, but was sometimes annoying. And the love triangle, GRR. I liked Jost, and I liked Erik, and one of tem would have been fine, but I didn’t like how Adelice sort of played them both.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  5. After reading several reviews, I believe I was too generous with my rating at that time (but I’m not going to change it. It’s all about first impressions after all.) I know that I was very interested about the world when I finished it. I hated the love-triangle and I agree, epic cliff-hanger! I’m sorry that you didn’t love it :)

    • I’ve felt that way about plenty of books! I don’t ever change ratings, although many times I wish I hadn’t given something a certain rating. I have high hopes for the next one!

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