Monday, 7 November 2011
Review- Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
When Wayland North brings rain to a region that’s been dry for over ten years, he’s promised anything he’d like as a reward. He chooses the village elder’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she’s hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she’s heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.
The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North’s dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.
Before Reading: why hasn’t there been more buzz about this book? Because, I’d have read it so much earlier if I’d known about it; I only decided to read this book when I saw a review of this book on The Crooked Shelf.
I love fantasy. Harry Potter is my favourite book series ever, and Percy Jackson is pretty darn awesome, too, but they contain elements of the real world and always have a tie to the world we know.
But in high fantasy, there is no world as we know it. Depending on the skill level of the author, high fantasy can be amazing (Kristin Cashore’s medieval-type world of Graceling and Fire) or a bit of a flop if the reader can’t conjure the world vividly enough [insert title of such a book here].
Brightly Woven surpassed all my expectations, especially because it was written by Alexandra Bracken when she was in college. The writing was fluid, beautiful. The world was vivid and quite different from any I’d encountered before. The whole wizard/Sorceress Imperial stuff reminded me a bit of Angie Sage’s Magyk series, but WHATEVS, because this world was very different, too.
WAYLAND NORTH, I LOVE YOU. I don’t exactly know why; I just know that he isn’t perfect and that is exactly what made him stand out in a huge crowd of amazingly perfect YA male leads.
The truth is, I’m tired of the six-pack-perfect-face-body-lovely-amazing-always-right kind of guy YA fiction is overflowing with. I mean, for a long, long time, I always fell for those sort of amazingly perfect guys, until I realized that HEY, look, there’s a guy named Hale (Heist Society) who may be good-looking, but he’s NOT perfect- he doesn’t always do the right thing. He doesn’t always say the right thing. And that opened my eyes.
Anyways, back to the book. I loved Wayland North, and although I feel a little miffed thinking about it, he made a perfect match for the protagonist, Sydelle.
Sydelle herself was unique. She wasn’t the usual pretty-with-low-self-esteem type of girl ALSO always featured in books with amazingly hot dangerous guys. I really liked her no-nonsense, practical nature. Her voice flowed very naturally, and she was a perfect fit for the story.
The world itself: I found that the part of the story that took place in Provincia was a lot more vivid (I’m using this word a lot here, I know) than the desert/travelling thing. It’s probably my own view, because I do so like castles in a medieval-type setting, since I don’t know if anyone else felt the same way.
Parting Thoughts: I loved this book. I definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy as well as those who want to give this amazing genre (underappreciated in YA, sadly) a try.