YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publication Date: March 23rd 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (4/5 stars)

Synopsis: Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

Review: I am not much of a fantasy reader, until now, I have always been staying away from them. But surprise surprise, I wanted to give Brightly Woven a chance because I’ve heard many wonderful things about it. Now, I would love to read more books like Bracken’s.

Brightly Woven is a novel full of magic, suspense, intrigue, adventure and romance no less. The writing is simply stunning and exquisite. It’s superb standard is something I would expect from an author who has three or four novels, and certainly not by a debut novelist. Very remarkable. And so it begins with this sentence “The day the rains finally came was like any other, with blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness.” It took me a while to grasp the language but as I delved further into the book, I was caught up in the plot that I did not mind the slightly foreign language. Everything about this book was downright fascinating. From the characters to the language to the places Sydelle and North travel to. The beginning of the novel reminded me of Ice by Sarah Beth Durst as Cassie also embarked on an adventure with a stranger whom she was initially wary of. Nevertheless, both books are extremely unique in their own ways but both are highly imaginative and wonderfully written.

Sydelle’s character was portrayed accurately with her uncertainties and insecurities about North. Strong, intelligent, stubborn, determined heroines are increasingly rare in YA genre of late (although there are a good number of such heroines out there) and Sydelle was a welcome addition to the list of feisty heroines. She was extremely resourceful and a good companion for North as she kept him grounded before he became too drunk. However, I did not always agree with her actions, finding her decisions rash at times. North was a character so endearing that I may have almost broken down once or twice in the book because of him. I would love to see more of him in future novels.

Even in the midst of the adventure and tension, Bracken manages to incorporate humor to the novel. I must also hand it to Bracken, she wrote and edited Brightly Woven while she was still in college. How amazing is that? I can’t even find the time to do my homework! If it had not been for the slow start, too many names of places, and Sydelle’s rash actions, I think Brightly Woven would have gotten 5/5 stars. I cannot stress enough, Brightly Woven is highly recommend! Read it to discover the magical world yourself.

Two of my favorite quotes from Brightly Woven are on Goodreads. If you like them too, please add them to your fave quotes!

“He’s just like a stallion. Wild and kicking on the outside, but a heart soft as satin on the inside. Just waiting for the right girl to break him in.”

“Ah, I thought, feeling the first brush of tingling warmth as we fell into the unknown. Magic.”
Add to your Goodreads quotes!

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Comments on: "Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken" (1)

  1. Interesting reaction. I gave this book three stars on Goodreads, but for completely different reasons. I read a lot of fantasy, so I expect the ‘set-up’ that lets you see a bit of the scene before plunging into the story, and I thought that Brightly Woven could have used more of that. But I’m glad it got you reading fantasy! Good luck and keep going. *grin*

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