Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review: Crewel and Altered

I read these books, one after another, so while I could probably do a review of each of them separately, I thought I'd stick them both together.

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.   Quoted from Goodreads


I absolutely adore this series. This is another one of those I knew it would be good, but I was waiting for the second book to come out sort of reads, and I wasn't disappointed. Plus, do these covers remind anyone of Matched?  Maybe it's the color scheme, maybe the girl in glass thing, but that's totally what I think of when I see them.

This is one of those series you can't put down.  It's such a unique world and concept, mashing dystopia and science fiction together in a unique, mind-bending sort of way.  I love the idea of women being able to weave time and matter.  At the same time, it's a horrifying idea.  The amount of control  it gives a group or organization is terrifying, which is what the whole book is about.

It's hard to review both books at the same time.  I love the world building in each.  This may give something away, but while they both take place in very different locations, the tension and plot twists are similar. Adelice is an excellent main character---the perfect blend of powerful and controlled, clueless and smart, so there's plenty of room for growth but we can see her potential and the sort of person she could become. Plus, the different locations really add depth to the world building and flesh out a lot of the history.  It also helps keep the books separate and gives Adelice new, interesting challenges to overcome.

The villains in this are absolutely excellent. They're a mixture of evil people (Cormack honestly makes me shudder, he's so creepy), and even tougher situations.  I really liked how the author balanced the levels of antagonists, from mildly annoying to shudderingly bad, so we get annoyed with some people, angry at others, and horrified by a few.  There are different levels and extents of evil Adelice has to overcome, and each aspect brings out a different strength in her.

As for the romantic sub-plot, I kind of adore it.  It definitely stays a sub-plot for which I'm grateful,  but I really like the direction it's taking.  While it does take on triangle-like aspects from time to time, Adelice never becomes wishy-whashy about what/who she wants.  Each boy is a full fleshed character, and each one offers, and needs from Adelice, different things.

Basically, these books are amazing. The concept is unique, the characters fantastic, and the tension builds sky high.   I absolutely recommend this series, especially if you want a fresh twist on a dystopiaesque tale.  I'm giving this series a bold 4 stars, with a good chance of achieving 5 stars depending on the last book. I'll admit, part of me wishes I had waited, because there's a horrible cliff-hanger at the end, but there's something wonderful about looking forward to the next great book in a series.

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