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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.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published October 16, 2012

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About the author

Gennifer Albin

29 books1,019 followers
****Guess what?! I am writing YA again! Check out Gennifer Albin writing as Geneva Lee and my new series GILT: By Invitation Only coming May 31!****

***HEADS UP REVIEWERS: I don't respond to review requests sent through Goodreads because I don't get on here frequently enough. However, it's super easy to fill out the review request form. I can't guarantee it will get you a copy, but it will get your name on the right list to the right people! And thank you for your interest.

BIO: I like coffee. A lot. Writing gives me time to go get a cup without my kids. I like books as much as I like coffee, but it is easier to read with children hanging on you than drink coffee due to the threat of third degree burns. That's why coffee gets top billing in my intro: its unattainability.

I hold a Masters in English with a specialization in 18th century women's studies. While this is a highly marketable area of expertise, I stay home with my kids, which means my 3 year-old son uses correct grammar and doesn't burn down the house.

I have a ridiculously supportive husband who dreams of being included on a book jacket: "The author lives in Kansas with her husband, two children, and a Tuesday cat."

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Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
September 8, 2016
It’s been so long since I actively disliked a book that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. The more I tried to separate my dislike for the characters and storytelling and try to analyze it impartially, the more I found myself saying, “Bugger this! Drink anyone?” to the empty air around me.

Crewel is a post-apocalyptic dystopian world in which women are oppressed and tightly controlled. It is a world where matter and people can be weaved and stitched through special looms that Spinsters use. This should have been right up my alley. It was definitely right up something, but it wasn’t my alley.

Unfortunately, Crewel is a heavily character-based novel. I say unfortunately because there isn’t a single character with more complexity or depth than a kiddie pool and certainly none of them are even a fraction of the fun. Even the main character, whose head we live in, is so vague and two dimensional that any actions and emotions she displays felt disconnected from the reality of the novel. This story, even in its most intense moments, was emotionless and the opposite of affecting. It was like watching a play only the stage is at the bottom of the cliff and you’re at the top. So far removed that you can see what the actors are doing but engaging in them or the story is impossible.

There are a number of characters the narrator expects us to care about: Elanor, Valery, Amie, Jost, Erik, Pryana. However, most of these characters barely even have a role. Most of Valery’s speaking lines come after the Great Tragedy that befalls her – and they’re still only a few lines. Elanor as well, while having a slightly bigger role, is little more than a convenient plot device and represents one of the only semi-positively written female characters. Her role is so tightly packed into being a convenient tell-machine for the narrator to pass information, and to resolve a later plot point that there is nothing else to her.

The plot itself is a hot mess with no direction or focus. It flits around distractedly, trying to accomplish everything and achieving nothing. Don’t even get me started on the ending! The main selling point of this novel is the weaving – which Adelice does almost none of since she spends more time making goo goo eyes are boys than she ever does interacting with women or doing the damn thing this book was named after.

This is made even worse when you consider the face that the romance in this book is justifiably scoff-worthy. There isn’t even enough material between them for one convincing romance. Since Adelice is about as interesting as wet cardboard, it’s hard to imagine anyone falling for her. Each boy barely fares better. Their personalities combined still wouldn’t save them from being inhumanely dull. They are just two more wooden puppets in a whole cast of wooden puppets.

For a novel that is supposed to be about the struggles of women in a highly patriarchal world, this novel was dreadfully sexist. When I spoke to a friend about this issue, they said, “I tend to disagree with a lot of the criticism re: the book being sexist, but think you could probably make a more compelling case.”

Well, buckle up your seatbelt, sunshine*! Here’s my case!

*Seatbelt not actually required.

Readers can and should make a deal about the slut-shaming and complete lack of positive female characters. That’s an issue all in itself. But then, I guess, one could also sweep that aside with justifications. Because there are unpleasant and horrible women out there – because women are people, and people come in a mixed bag. And a society so entirely preoccupied with purity would result in citizens slut-shaming girls for acting outside of those bounds. So there’s obviously an important discussion to be had on those topics, even though they are not definitely sexist on their own, only kind of sexist.

For me, the true test came when I considered what my Southern and Imaginary mother always told me and that is, “Honey cupcake, y’all should know that actions speak louder than words.” So true, Southern and Imaginary mother. So true. So whilst this book may have given lipservice to how unfair life was for women and how that TOTALLY wasn’t right or good, what service did the narration and plot actually have to say about women? Put it this way: When comparing the relevance and representation given to male and female characters in relation to their contribution to the novel, what does it say about women?

Almost every single male character we meet is important. Cormac, Jost, Erik are the three big ones. There are only a handful of other males with speaking roles in this book and they’re fairly neutral in their representation. People just doing their job. Only one male with a speaking role is depicted badly, which is a drunk, handsy official at a party – and he is still not portrayed worse than the woman trying to vie for his attention. At least, the characters narrating the situation focus on how disgusting she is, while he only gets a passing mention. I think there may be a waiter who has a speaking role for the purpose of showing how segregated and unfair they world is, but that’s it.

Compare that to the novel’s complete and utter lack of focus on women – which is pretty disgraceful for a novel that’s supposed to be about women’s struggles in a patriarchal society. The only important women in this book are Adelice and the women who torment her. We are introduced to whole batches of women, who are immediately dismissed by the character and text as meaningless and valueless. The girls from Adelice’s hometown? Just simpering morons waiting to get mated. Even her own younger sister cares for little else. It seems no one is as deep and thoughtful as Adelice. Then when she enters Coventry with a large group of her peers, they are immediately shown to be jealous and power-hungry, but ultimately completely inconsequential. We don’t meet any of them ever again whilst Jost, Erik and Cormac receive the large bulk of Adelice’s, and the narrative’s attention. Because they’re what really matters, ya know? What the menfolk are doing. The only exception to this rule, because it is a pattern repeated yet again when Adelice joins the Spinsters who are also cliquey and immediately dismissed from the narrative as pointless and worthless like the literally dozens of other women we meet, is Maela and Pryana. Maela is a power-hungry psychopath and Pryana is a power-hungry, vicious, idiot. Both are stupid and extremely ineffective at what they do. Female solidarity doesn’t exist in this novel. Unless you’re referring to the convenient plot-device that is Elanor. She is the sole exception.

Add to this the fact that the women in this novel all act inexplicably irrational. There is evil Cormac, and evil Maela and evil Pryana. Only one of them acts intelligently and with rationale – I’ll let you pick which one. You can depend on the evil women to be emotional, lashing out and sometimes hysterical. Behaviour that is never depicted in the men. For example, Maela asks Adelice to remove a strand from the weave. The strand is a person who doesn’t need to be removed and doing so could harm the weave, so she refuses. Maele takes her scalpel and tears into the weave out of anger. It turns out this was a school where Pryana’s sister lived. So Pryana… blames Adelice?! Because that totally makes sense. And she spends the rest of the novel irrationally tormenting Adelice. Valery, similarly blames Adelice for things that are entirely out of her control. It is so manufactured and senseless that it made the novel ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the fact that Adelice spent the novel entirely focused on boys. The plot went something like this:

Adelice’s family dies


meets horrible girls




stuff about weaving






More horrible girls






Even Loricel, supposedly the one, decent woman in power in this book is little more than a caricature. You can’t claim a feminist text when the narration itself, despite constantly being surrounded by women, decides that all the male characters are so much more interesting and worth focusing on. When the few male characters are afforded exponentially more important roles than any of the many, many female characters – many of whom don’t even get the honour of a name or mention outside of just Horrible Female #35 who says horrible thing to Adelice. When the rate of decent male character so far outstrips the demonstration of decent female characters that there isn’t even room for comparison, you have a problem. You have a book that wants to say something about women, but ignores them in favor of focusing on men.

That is really fucking sexist. So… Bugger this! Drink, anyone?
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,356 followers
June 28, 2012
Initial reaction:
Holy mother of giraffe balls!!!

Official review:

What. Did. I. Just. Read?


Ok, wow. Creative does not even begin to describe this formidable world that Gennifer Albin has built. Bringing in some sci-fi elements into it, the explanations of the weaving and how the whole process works simply blew me away. When it starts off it creates a lot of questions and wonderment, but as the world building progresses, we're brought into an extremely complex, incredibly well described futuristic world where everything and everyone can be manipulated by the touch of a Spinster. It can be hard to grasp, especially if you don't pay attention - this is the kind of book you have to really be alert for - and it pays off. Furthermore, Gennifer's world building is beautifully written, making it both surreal and believable. It's also menacing; piece by piece, we find out details about this world that are astonishing, bigger than anyone would have thought. It's revealed layer by layer, until you simply cannot fathom that any more mind-blowingness could come forth - then it does. The more I learned about it, the giddier I became. I love it when an author thinks outside the box; employing some sci-fi, even a bit of fantasy, to create a world that could easily become overwhelming, but instead, It becomes impressive, it becomes convincing, and heck, I think it even gave me brain cells!

Moving on to our dear Adelice. Adelice is not an especially tough protagonist. She's not weak by any means; she knows how, and when, to take a stand, fending for herself. But, she can be naive, even feel a bit underwhelming at first. Nonetheless, I, for one, enjoyed her flawed characterization. She's a simple girl in a surreal world and it makes her genuinely likeable. She goes through a believable character growth when she, like us, begins to understand just how extraordinary the world is; how things really work - inside and out. When you've been betrayed, when you go through unimaginable ordeals, you grow up. I enjoyed seeing how she realistically reacted under this pressure.

Having been brought up with a purity standard in a world where boys and girls live in separate neighbourhoods, Adelice has never been in love, or kissed a boy for that matter. So it takes her by surprise when she meets not one, but two handsome guys that are pining for her. There is a hint - just maybe a small scratch - of a love triangle, but the scratch is really only just a scratch. I fell head over heels with the romance in this book. Experiencing the "firsts" with Adelice is exhilarating, filling me with hope and lust and butterflies. And even though there is a strong romantic thread in the story, I never felt it down-right took over, nor does it take anything away from the main plot.

I know of one person who is majorly awaiting book two. I will not be the only one either I am sure. The ending is not a hair pulling cliffhanger per say, more like an OH-EM-GEE-the-sequel-is-gonna-rock-my-face ending! Like I said, the world is given to us in layers, but so is the plot - and the more I read, the faster I needed to turn the page. l I think my Kobo sparked at one point. Point of the story? Read it. Maybe in print copy, for your safety.

Brilliant, completely gorgeous, and exceptionally unique, Crewel is highly recommended for sci-fi and dystopian fans.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
August 19, 2012

Without a doubt Crewel is the most creative novel I've read so far this year. When I first read the blurb I thought, "A dystopian society where people are weaving time?! YES! Gimme! Tell me more!" The dystopian genre has really taken off lately and sometimes it can be hard to find a novel that separates itself from the pack. Crewel does just that and does it well. It completely stands out with its complex concept, feisty heroine and a plot that kept me guessing over and over. Whoa. Can I pull out the winning gif?

The beginning of Crewel reminded me a lot of Matched by Ally Condie. Now before you start cringing and exiting out of this browsing window, let me assure you that it's not what you think. The set up is only similar because both societies involved tight monitoring of its citizens. This means they are given a small pool of marriage options, limitations on the amount of children they can have, restricted access to other parts of the society, jobs chosen for them, etc. That's where our similarities end and where the awesome begins.

Adelice, our main character, has the ability to weave time on an actual loom. It is a highly coveted ability in her society because it pretty much guarantees a woman a higher social status and a comfortable lifestyle without needing a husband. I'll admit I was worried about how Albin would pull off a society that was generally misogynistic. There are really only two outcomes for that: fail really hard or win. Even though woman were considered second-rate in this world (needing a husband, only having secretarial type jobs, no real positions of power, can't travel without a man, etc.) and were held to unfair higher standards than their male counter parts (Spinters had to remain "pure", women were expected to always appear a certain way in public: Make-up, dressed up and heels, act like a "lady") I never felt that this was ever accepted by the main character or by other secondary characters. And while I contemplated how I could ever survive in a society that forced me to wear heels ALL THE TIME (I freakin' live in my Converses, dude), I realized that these ideals were being challenged especially through Adelice's character.  She was a strong, formidable heroine who did not back down or allow anyone to push her around. She took action at her own personal risk. She was bold, gutsy and witty. I was like, "YES! You tell that man, girl. Give 'em a piece of your mind!"

As for Arras, this is yet again another book that makes talking about the world building difficult, mostly due to how Albin tells the story. She doesn't lay out the world building in the beginning over the first few chapters like most dystopians. In fact, for the first half of the book I still had quite a few questions on how the society in Crewel actually functioned. But the reader is given pieces bit by bit. As I learned more about the world, the plot continued to open up along the way. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about that style because I like my world building straight up, but it grew on me and by the end of the book I had an appreciation for how it was told.

One thing I have to mention was the plot twist. This is again why I'm reminded of Matched because they were forced to either marry or stay single. Anyone see a problem with that? I almost thought Albin was going to go down that same tired road Condie did with an unrealistic world. But then Albin threw in that plot twist when I was least expecting it. She must have known I was questioning the validity of a society that didn't even mention gay people. Then BAM! The plot twist came out of nowhere and backhanded me. All I could do is sit back, ice my face and nod my head in silent approval.

Oh, Albin, I totes see what you did there.

"But, Steph!" you say. "Why aren't you giving Crewel 5 stars? This book sounds amazeballs!"  Why, yes it was amazing, but I still had a few questions (if the neighborhoods are segregated by gender of the children, what happens if a couple has a boy and a girl?) not to mention I didn't fall in love with the *gasp* triangle of love. That really doesn't shock me because I'm usually not a fan of love triangles in the first place. I could probably count on one hand how many I actually did like. Crewel's love triangle didn't bother me to the point of "headdesk-ation", but I did feel that the relationships were underdeveloped and generally unnecessary. To me it felt like you could easily take out the romance of at least one beau (preferably Jost) and the story wouldn't suffer one bit. But the story is not yet over. Who knows what could happen!

Overall, I really like Crewel and think dystopian fans who are looking for something completely different, will eat this up. I don't usually say this that often, but Crewel is definitely a debut that lives up to the hype and will have readers hungering for more. I know I am.

ARC was provided by the publisher for review. Thank you, Macmillan! 

*Want a chance to win this ARC? Check out Cuddlebuggery's Anniversary Giveaway and enter to win!
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,041 followers
December 4, 2013
This review is also available over at my blog.


Actual rating might be 2.5 or 2.75. Or just 2 stars, I honestly don't even know.

After seeing the positive reviews of this book on Goodreads start pouring in, I can't deny that my excitement grew, so I crossed my fingers and requested this title. I was giddy when I was approved, and couldn't wait to start. Besides the number of positive reviews, the concept also intrigued me a lot. A dystopian world that has a lot of time-weavers? Sign me up! I haven't had a dystopian novel wow me since What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang, and I was hoping this one would change that.

Unfortunately, I ended up going from this:

To this:

So we have Adelice, a girl who can weave time with matter, and who's hiding her powers from the Guild, because a girl like her would be chosen to be a Spinster. Being a Spinster is anything a girl could want, but Adelice knows the truth about it, that she'd have to control people's lives and follow whatever the Guild wants her to do, sometimes including removing/cutting certain people. Adelice has tried to hide her powers, but she slipped during a testing and now the Guild is coming for her.

What I liked about this book was the originality of the concept, and the whole Spinster-Creweler thing. As for the story, the beginning parts were okay. I liked Adelice, but I kind of have a love-hate relationship with her. At times she seems strong and sarcastic, but at other times she makes me want to pull my hair out due to her Mary-Sue-ness constantly showing.

It took me roughly fifteen days to finish this book, because it didn't do a good job in pulling me in and keeping me interested. The plot was hard to follow and the characters weren't all that likable.

Don't even get me started on the romance. -_- The two love interests are Josten and Erik, both extremely gorgeous and blue-eyed. One's a servant with a tortured past and the other seems to be the boytoy of one of the villains. Of course, Adelice ends up kissing them both and torn and all but it's clear that Jost is the main love interest. I hate love triangles, and the one in this book is no exception. It really annoyed me.

Also, spoiler time.

Anyways, the ending was a hot mess. I didn't even know what the hell was going on anymore, and I kind of gave up then and thought "Oh whatever, let's just get this over with."

I don't really have much else to say about this book. In short, the concept was interesting, the time-weaving thing was pretty creative, but the characters were unlikable and besides the concept, this pretty much reads like your average YA dystomance.

So . . . yeah, that's pretty much it. I'd still recommend you this book, though, because maybe it's just a matter of taste. My interest in dystopians have been pretty low lately.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan for sending me this galley.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,173 followers
September 3, 2012
Rating: 2.5 Stars

I think we’re all familiar with the saying, “It’s not you, it’s me!” and while I would love to claim that my disappointed feelings concerning this book stem from me, and not the book itself, I honestly don’t think I can. Yes, my unusually prolific knowledge on dystopian and science-fiction novels definitely played a role in my lack of amazement at the so-called creativity of this novel and that same understanding enabled me to predict the ending of this novel far before the half-way mark of this book was even reached, but overall, I really do think it’s the book as well, not just me. Yet, then again, with my reputation of being a black sheep, you could just say this book wasn’t for me, but who knows? Ultimately, the point is that Crewel was a disappointing read with a lot of potential which failed to live up to the immense amount of hype surrounding it.

Adelice lives in Arras, a world where unmarried women with weaving talents, known as Spinsters, can control time and matter. Ever since she was young, Adelice has discovered that she has this power as well, but she has struggled to keep it suppressed due to her parent's fear of Adelice becoming separated from her family and taken away to the lone towers where the Spinsters live their lives. On the day of testing, however, Adelice fails to fail and when The Guild, the totalitarian government which controls every aspect of their lives, comes to take her away, her parents force her to run away. Nevertheless, Adelice is soon caught and taken to become a Spinster where she causes as much trouble as she possibly can. Yet, as she will soon find out, there is more to The Guild than what meets the eye and her parents just may have been on to something when they begged her to run away…

Wow, a dystopian novel where women control time? Awesome! Original! Creative! Riiight? Wrong. I’ve heard all those three words used to described this novel, but in reality, Crewel is no different from any other dystopian book. We have our classic government which controls everything, from who you marry to what you study to what you eat and how many children you have. We all know that dystopian novels are about fixing the wrongs on Earth and restoring control, so really, this is nothing new. Furthermore, the whole idea of being able to kill people at mere whim isn’t anything new either! Lois Lowry did it in The Giver, Kurt Vonnegut did it in his short story “2 B R 0 2 B” and I’m sure countless other authors have done it in the past as well. While I’m not denying that Crewel does have an immense amount of originality in its conception – which we see only after the 50% mark of this novel has been passed – for the most part, this story just focuses on a dystopian government like any other. If anything, I found it to be formulaic and extremely typical, which was all rather disappointing.

Speaking of disappointments, I think the characters were what ruined this story for me. On the surface, Adelice is an amazing heroine – she’s a strong protagonist, she’s clever, she’s intelligent, and she sticks up for what she believes in. Yet, like any building, her foundation was off, which only made her overall character topple down as the story progressed. In Crewel, Adelice is credited for running away from The Guild on her own and for being a rebel – a role she quickly assumes without much reason. I think we were supposed to realize that the reason Adelice caused so much trouble was because her parents were killed, but this was hardly mentioned. It felt, to me at any rate, that she lacked true motivation for her actions and was falsely perceived as a rebel throughout the novel when she made it quite clear that she wouldn't have run away if it wasn't for her parents. Thus, the question for much of the novel which begs to be answered is why does Adelice do what she does and cause trouble for herself and for others as a Spinster when she doesn't even know why her parents hated The Guild? We never find out and while Adelice receives plenty of answers later, for the most part, her actions lack logical reasoning.

In addition to Adelice though, the villains in this story were mediocre at best. If anything, they were predictable, unoriginal, and almost cartoon-like in their anger, misbehavior, and evil deeds. In general, they failed to impress me and didn’t add anything to this novel. Furthermore, they were vastly underdeveloped – much like the love interests in this story as well. Yes, that’s right, love interests, plural. We have, ladies and gentlemen, another love triangle on our hands! While this wasn’t as bad as some I’ve read previously, it was still extremely irritating. Still, I have to admit though that Jost was an extremely developed character and I loved him throughout the story, although I did think the “problem” between him and Adelice was way too easy to see coming. Erik, on the other hand, was as flat as paper and seemed to pine after Adelice for no reason, so that aspect of their romance irritated me. Overall though, the love triangle really could have been worse.

Crewel is one of those novels that had so much potential, but just fell flat. I really loved the manner in which Albin revealed to us that this novel was a dystopian and some of the cruelty she exposed and horrors of the The Guild and the life in Arras were beautifully written, as was the character of Adelice’s mentor. Yet, despite all those good qualities, it still remains that this novel was predictable, contained mostly underdeveloped characters, lacked originality, and had an extremely slow pacing to start with. I feel as if so much of the beginning could have just been cut out and if the second half of this was better edited, it would have been a much better story. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I’m going to continue with this series. I really do think I can predict most of what will occur in Book Two already, so that definitely does not bode well. If you haven’t read a lot of dystopian or science fiction novels in the past, I think this will blow you away, but if you have, this might just wind up being another typical dystopian story for you. Ultimately though, Crewel joins my pile of extremely disappointing reads – after all the hype, I think I was just expecting more.

Thank you to NetGalley and MacMillan for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for a honest review!

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for Monica.
Author 4 books272 followers
June 19, 2018
De los libros que leí en este mes debo darle una mención especial a esta trilogía, estos libros la verdad es que me engancharon como hace tiempo no lo conseguía cualquier historia y vaya que fue una sorpresa por varias razones:
La más importante, la distopía no es para nada algo que me atraiga ya no digamos que querer leerlo, no es mi estilo y la verdad al ver que las historias van para esos rumbos prefiero elegir otra cosa, claro que con este libro fue un increíble acierto: hay distopías muy interesantes y bien elaboradas y por supuesto que esta es una de esas.
Los personajes, desde la sinopsis no me atrajo la chica protagonista y la encasillé enseguida en la categoría de típica niña de estas historias, pero al avanzar en las hojas fue muy grato descubrir que los personajes estaban muy bien escritos con muchos matices y características que los volvían algo más creíble a otros de estos tipos que yo haya leído.
El entorno, esas cosas de sociedad oprimida y el gobierno todopoderoso no me gusta para nada, y este me dio una explicación más que razonable en la que moría de ganas por conocer su estructura, fue algo difícil de leer al principio por este motivo, el universo creado por la autora es muy complejo y necesitabas una buena explicación para entender todo lo que pasaba.
La trama, fue lo que más me sorprendió la realidad es que este libro superó por completo mis expectativas y si deseas leer un libro bien hecho de este tipo me parece que este es la mejor opción, tuve que comenzar con la segunda parte de inmediato.
Lo único medio pero es el romance, me parece que no es necesario, aunque agradezco que fue en pequeñas dosis y eso lo hizo bastante soportable.

Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,982 followers
October 19, 2012
"I'm here because it's the last place they'll look."
"Look for what?" I ask, unsure if I want to know the answer.


I'll award Crewel a happily confuzzled 3.5 stars.Of course, it wouldn't be nice if I let you know just who said the above quote. I'll leave you with the element of mystery, as if this book wouldn't do that to you on its own.

Am I the only person who had a few moments of brain trauma while trying to figure out this world within a world uh... outside of a world ... parallel to a world uh... yeah.

All I know is this : WE'RE ALL PUPPETS OF THE WEAVE. I thought that I was slightly confused while reading Hourglass Door. This is a similar, but extremely amped up, version of how people can manipulate space and time through their own machinations. Upon first impression, I thought this book was going to be another version of The Selection where shoddy world building was going to be excused because of the distraction of two cute boys vying for the lead female's attention. But then we went from no world building to "throw everything in the stew pot at once and things will sort themselves out!" I'm still reeling from the wtf-ery that just took place.

So, you ask...did I like the book? I did! At least, I loved the characters and the concept. I'm not sure if I've quite made sense of how this world is even possible. Yes, I get that it's some sort of fantasy/sci-fi hybrid thing going on here and that I should just go with it. What you all don't know is that I can't get through many movies without asking "why?" at least a few times. My poor little brain wants to understand every little random detail sometimes, when everyone else is just accepting of the entertainment value. Basically, in a nutshell, Adelice is a "Spinster" (yeah, historical romance would coin this term as an insult)...a type of girl who can weave the threads of time and matter to influence the world around her. The weaves in the loom contain life as we know it - people, places, things...even the atmosphere, such as the weather. If you thought mafias could get rid of people easily, they ain't got nothin' on the spinsters. Don't piss off this government, or your thread is gonna get taken out of the loom.
"What happens to people when they're ripped?" I whisper.
"Honestly, I don't know," she says. "I'm sorry."

Whatever was going on, I eventually started to warm up to the possibilities of where this series is going to take us. The ending took the idea of connected worlds and dropped us into a huge dilemma. I can only imagine how much trouble is going to be brought down on our trio of misfit toys as they navigate their new reality.

The Players :

Adelice - Her name. I keep wanting to call her Adelaide. In the lottery of crappy names, she hit it big. So far, I don't have any sort of strong opinion about her. I think she's a run-of-the-mill protag who's on a quest for truth, which tends to throw us off from learning many real details about her character itself.
"I can't be the first eligible who ever ran."
"No, but you're special."
"Yeah, what makes me different?"
"They didn't kill you."

Jost - Well, hellloooooo Jost. I'm not the type of person to make "team edward/jacob" shirts, but if I had to pick a guy in this bizarre love triangle, I'd be firmly on team Jost. However, I'm slightly annoyed by the fact that Jost might have unclaimed baggage to get in the way. But he's tough, protective, and yet somehow mysterious. The bonus is he'll feed you if you're unable to do it yourself!
"Here," Jost offers, picking up the plate and gathering a forkful of the potatoes.

Erik - The playboy. While this type of character can be appealing in his own way, I prefer Jost's untamed character to Erik's refined one. But I can't say that he wouldn't be able to charm his way in if he gave it some effort...
"So exactly what's on the agenda tonight?" I ask Erik.
"Well, you looking beautiful for one thing," he says, and I have to hold myself back from laughing.
"Does that stuff work with other girls?" I ask, barely containing my amusement.
"Yeah," he says, grinning widely. "How are you so immune to my charms?"
"Years of segregation."
"That usually works in my favor," he admits in a whisper.

I'm still a little unclear about where we're being taken, but I'll count Crewel as a good first book to an unusual series. Book 2 will definitely be put into my reading rotation when it comes out.

This book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
March 25, 2013
2.5 stars

In a word, I found Crewel inconsistent.

The good? The concept. I thought the central idea behind Crewel, returning to the roots of the word “spinster” and the mythology of weaving, was interesting and strong. Albin’s spinsters have the ability to manipulate and repair the weave of their world (the “weave” being the individual strands making up the physical world and the people in it, entwined with the constant flow of time). Weaving is a highly specialised skill requiring particular finesse, and Spinsters are accorded a level of privilege and prestige in the world of Arras, despite the fact that they live effectively cloistered in Coventries and are controlled by the governing Guild.

That said, the execution is hit and miss. Albin’s particular take on time and matter and how they can be manipulated is intriguing, but not explored very deeply . This is light science-fiction and as such the worldbuilding assumes a degree of reader buy-in that not all will be able to extend. (When you start messing with time, I start asking questions, and Crewel doesn’t give a lot of answers). However, if you’re willing to suspend some belief and take Albin’s world as she presents it, Crewel’s premise is both inventive and engaging.

Adelice has been trained from a young age to conceal her weaving ability by her parents, who have reservations about the governance of the world they live in. Ostensibly crime, poverty and disease-free, Arras is nevertheless a tightly controlled society in which women have little agency and few rights. Segregation of the sexes is widely practiced (at least, partially – Adelice lives in a sector where all children are female, though there are plenty of adult males living there). Travel is severely restricted – reserved for mostly male officials. Food is rationed. Reproduction is regulated. Women who do not exhibit weaving ability are expected to marry, and their employment options are limited.

However, due to an unconscious slip during routine testing, Adelice reveals her skill and is forcibly removed from her home to become a Spinster. For me, this where the inconsistency begins. Adelice informs the reader that they come for them at night, vaguely sinister figures who remove girls from their homes under cover of darkness. However, she later explains that girls dream of becoming Spinsters – coveting a life of luxury and status. This doesn’t compute for me. Why remove girls at night in such an intimidating manner if most of them view it as a privilege, something to strive for?

After a futile attempt at escape, Adelice is transported to the Western Coventry, unsure of the fate of her mother and sister. Following a short incarceration, during which she grieves over the traumatic circumstances of her removal, Adelice bounces back rapidly. Before long she’s whisked away to the Coventry’s high tower, plied with luxuries, training with the other Eligibles and singled out by a vindictive Spinster, Maela, and the creepy Ambassador Cormac Patton.

Because of course, Adelice isn’t just any old prospective Spinster, she’s Super Special .

And of course, there are Hot Guys .

Strangely, Crewel reminded me in places of The Selection. This is another novel where “purity”, beauty, clothing and make up are given a peculiar amount of attention and almost disproportionate page time. The Spinsters are required to wear dresses and stockings, to be pandered to by personal stylists and domestic staff, to be occasionally squired about by Guild dignitaries as arm decorations at official functions. They are also required to maintain “purity standards”, since Spinster’s abilities are allegedly tied to their virginity. All the while, they’re also apparently ensuring weather, food distribution and the day to day operations of life in Arras run smoothly – though Albin provides minimal detail on how the Spinster’s orchestrate this round the clock. Further, Adelice undergoes something of a transformation - in the hands of her aestheticians she’s a vision of beauty. While I can appreciate that this is part of the world Albin is building, one built on illusion and facades, I’m also perplexed by the amount of time spent on the minutiae of the Spinister’s accoutrements. Comparatively little time is spent on the daily work of the Spinsters, how they operate the looms and manage their considerable responsibilities.

Oh, wait, I’m not really. Not when Adelice has the burgeoning attentions to two young men to consider.

To be fair, Crewel gains momentum in the second half and the complexity of Arras becomes more interesting. The stakes are raised as Adelice discovers just what nefarious deeds the Guild are capable of, and the potential of her own abilities. Complex ethical questions are hinted at – though mostly brushed over – and Albin uses her secondary characters to challenge and criticise the restrictive world of Arras, including their enforced notions of gender equality, sexuality and free will.

But ultimately, I’m left feeling underwhelmed by Crewel. It’s not a bad book, but I feel much of its potential was left untapped. The big reveal at the climax of the novel is clever, and the ending makes the promised sequel enticing, but Crewel also falls into some familiar tropes. While I appreciate Albin’s efforts to imbue Adelice with distinct personality – she’s tenacious and sarcastic – she’s still something of a super special snowflake, a concept I’m thoroughly tired of. A little more clarity around the finer points of weaving and the structure of Arras wouldn’t have gone astray either.

It’s an interesting novel, but ultimately, an uneven one.
Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
778 reviews518 followers
March 18, 2013
'The tech is safer now ... It can change how a person acts and thinks.' I tell him about what Cormac said about isolating problem areas in the strand and splicing new material into an individual's thread.
I vividly remember the awe I felt when I was watching 'The Matrix' for the first time. Although it puzzled my mind with questions like 'How can virtual procreatic activity result in a real baby? Do the machines manufacture an embryo when a couple living in the Matrix stops using condoms?' or 'How do the human bodies produce more energy than the upkeep of the huge living apparatus swallows?' I was easily lulled into believing it might be possible and I was only missing a clue. It all sounded so convincing that I had the uncomfortable urge to double-check my own reality against the frightening idea of it being nothing more than a clever illusion.

Reading 'Crewel' was nothing like that. I was feeling something close to awe - but only for myself, because I managed to stay on board past the 70% mark of my Kindle.

Also is 'believable' a term that I would never, ever associate with this woven-world setting. In fact until approximately 36% I had convinced that I was dealing with a fantasy novel set in a fantastic totalitarian world unlike our own. The notion that 'Crewel' could take place on post-apocalyptic Earth never crossed my mind and comes to the formerly ignorant heroine as a surprise revelation, too.

But not only the heroine, the whole population of 'Arras' is unrealistically docile, content and easy to control - without being held in check by threats (the rulers have ridiculously easy means to change people's minds same as they have means to adapt their appearance or their environment: Removing, replacing or repairing threads on a loom is just a matter of seconds for a capable and virtuous weaveress after all). The information that someone living in the neighborhood has to report in for being rewoven is processed among the citizens with slight unease, but does not cause boosts of fear or resentment; same as being claimed by the government to become a glamorous but secluded and never-to-be-seen-again spinster, who weaves reality and features in the yellow press, equals being selected to participate in a beauty or talent TV show today: The 'lucky' person does not really know what participation entails, but it will make her famous - so what?

And thus I have mentioned my two most annoying aspects of the story (I will not talk about the unlikable characters, the overflow of mean girls or the love-quadruple in this review. Things like that are definitely of matter of taste. I am concentrating on the lack of logic and believability here.): The spinsters' and the creweler's way of weaving the world on a couple of looms and the spinsters' paradoxic position between having to remain pure, untainted women, who are idolized for their gift of creating the whole world with their hands like a virgin Mary would be for creating a foetus without male input, on the one hand, and serving as seductive geishas to the needs of leery senators at administrative functions on the other:

Weaving the world on a loom: A loom, as I am able to imagine it, is - however large an industrial one gets to be - a device that produces something two-dimensional. Usually threads go in two directions and can consist of multiple fine fibres. Really intricately woven or not - in contrast to cloth reality as we know it is a three-dimensional thing. In 'Crewel' there are rooms and rooms full of looms, large and small, wooden and metallic, and each of it supposedly holds something big and complex like a whole city. A handful of connected strands can represent (or rather be) a school-building and ripping a single thread with a sharp object before it grows thin and unravels naturally can mean ending someone's life. How all the cloths of those unconnected looms form one seamless country, how people are able to walk around although their position is fixed firmly between two other threads, how specially gifted heroine Adelice is able to see and manipulate the threads of time and matter without a loom when she is part of the world - and suddenly the walls of a room consist of more 'wool' than a whole district -, how the Coventry itself has to be a cloth on a loom that contains other looms, how people are able to grow grain on field that has been created by the Creweler, who plans how many ponds to put where in order to feed the population with fish, and how zooming in at a loom is possible, when nothing sounding remotely digital is mentioned, does not get addressed at all during the first three quarters of the story I more or less patiently endured. At one point the Creweler reveals some crucial information concerning the planet's past, its physical matter and some clever inventor who found a way to shape it, but she did not solve the urgent, logical dilemma described above.

Women, spinsters, sexuality and creativity: Almost right from go there is a kind of inconsistency in the position and the behavior expected from women that made it obvious to me that the author wanted the reader to notice something is off in the gender department, something that might have been different or even better at some point in the times proceeding the plot. Still, to me things were that unbelievably strange, that I had to shake my head in disbelieve instead of employing it in contemplation: Young males and females live completely separate lives. There are even districts for couples with female offspring and districts for families who have born boys. Each girl has to stay pure until she becomes a spinster or is matched to her future husband. In spite of that the art of brightly colored, seductive facial make-up and attire is deemed to be extremely important to acquire. Adelice's mother, for instance, who has a husband and absolutely no say in who she wants to be with, spends some time in front of her mirror reach morning because an atttractively painted face pleases her boss. Gifted girls are a commodity. They are unceremoneously fetched from their homes and put through a process that assesses the strength of their abilities. Although refusing would not be an option anyhow they are pampered by personal assistants and make-up artists, showered with beautiful clothes, good food and media attention. And even though the common opinion is that only virgin women can do the weaving or the creweling necessary for survival, Arrras' senators traditionally order very young spinsters to accompany them to official banquets and state functions as arm candy and as bed warmers, too. Apart from my irritation concerning how women have managed to stay the bottom feeders in a society that completely depends on their special work , I wondered why the rulers did not think of setting aside especially attractive girls to form a caste of pleasure givers and assign a supposed importance to those working in the sexual sector, instead of 'wasting' their country's future creators, guarantors of nourishment and housing, on their personal gratification and risking the population's wrath. In addition our little creweling star, who describes herself as shy, goes from being ignorant, timid and naive to behaving brazen, saucy and confident in rocket time. Such a character twist is not a beautiful thing to behold.

At the point at which I stopped reading signs of rebellious activity have started to manifest; and I suppose not far ahead there will be a big gender-related bang and a revelation of someone evil purposefully drawing the 'strings' tight to keep everybody in line. But that will definitely be too late for me. The train that would have had the power of turning me into a believer has left the station long ago.

So. Please weave a better setting next time, Ms. Albin. And do make the basic concept water-tight. If not, I am not willing to try on one of your hip, dystopian garments again.
Profile Image for MeMe Belikova First lady Ivashkov.
82 reviews90 followers
August 21, 2012
This book was EPIC! I LOVED everything about it! The story itself was unique and intriguing that I just could not put it down! Crewel being her debut novel, I have to say Gennifer Albin is an author to be reckoned with. Leave it to Gennifer to create an AMAZING and believable world where you can manipulate and weave time with matter.This whole concept is INCREDIBLE and I can't get enough of it, If this is what the future is like then count me in! This world she has built it so complex but in a GIVE ME MORE kind of way, it is so beautiful and will leave you dreaming about this book for days.

Adelice has trained all her life to fail a test that determines if you are a Spinster, someone who can weave time with matter. In Romen, being a Spinster is the best thing that could happen to any girl --It mean beauty, dresses and being treated like a queen basically. But being a Spinster is not what it seems and Adelice's parents know the truth, that is why they have trained her to fail every time. But the day has come when Adelice finally makes a mistake and weaves time in testing, the Guild has noticed and they are coming for her. As the story goes on you will follow Adelice's journey through LOVE(TRIANGLE),SECRETS,POWER and STRENGTH.

Here is a little intro/my thoughts on the characters!

Adelice: LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!! Usually when there is love triangles that are involved I get annoyed with the girl that is in between because they start whining over each boy like "omg I like him, but I love him." Oh no, what am I going to do type thing but Adelice was the total opposite she held her own! She never made it seem like she was too much worried about anyone but her family and herself and that is what I like most about her character she was smart and strong when it came to what she believed in! And thank god she is turned off when it comes to a man that is ten times older than her....unlike most books.....*cough*

Pyranna: Oh gosh.......I liked her at first and then.....she turned on me. I don't like this girl, maybe she will come around in the next book? *fingers crossed* Hopefully! If she didn't you know what she would of really been one of my favorite characters but she just had to be a bitch for no reason UGH!!!! Come back nice Pyranna I loved you!!!!!!!

Maela: This may be wierd but I LOVE this girl!!! Yes, she is one of the EVIL characters but you just can't help but LOVE to HATE(LOVE) her!! There is more to Maela that we don't know about so we don't know why she is the way she is so until that union is peeled to it's core I can't judge Maela. I can't wait to see more of her in the next book if it is meant to be ;)

Cormac: What a PERV he is and an EVIL douche bag lol! But I LOVE HIM TOO!!!! I think I may be coming down with the evil syndrome because Cormac is HOTT in an old kind of evil way. I guess it is just Gennifers writing that makes you have a connection with every character in her book, good or evil! Cormac is just great at being bad :)

Jos:t One of the lover boys.... I like Jost, he is so sweet and kind. You can feel the spark that him and Adelice have between each other, it is just magical! I can't wait to see where their relationship goes and if they are meant to be.

Erik: Why are you so SEXY? Erik just has this think about him where he doesn't have to do anything for you to like him, you just kind of do. He has that effect on me too as you can see because I am in LOVE <3 Even though him and Adelice mesh well together I also don't think it would work out between them, Erik is a lost soul and he has some soul searching that he needs to do for himself.

This book was truly an AMAZING read! I recommend this book to everyone that loves a good Dystopia! This book is beautifully written and that twist and turns in this book will leave you in a dream like state after reading this!

Rating: AMAZINGLY CREWEL (that I have to wait for book 2:)

Profile Image for K..
182 reviews724 followers
September 7, 2012

Nothing is clear about this book.

- The characters are off, their intentions and motivations and reactions are off.

- I don't understand the weaving of time and matter...how can you see a bird's-eye view of a street from threads?

- Why do Spinsters have to be dressed up and made to look beautiful? Why are cosmetics and fashion such a big deal!! I do not get!!

- If Spinsters had control of such power, why didn't they just change the government?

I quit after a hundred pages so yeah, I have no right to complain...but I think, by then, readers should have been given some vague idea of how the focal concept of the story works. And it was such a weird world, too. It was futuristic but then there are the Spinsters who weave life, which kind of suggests an old world of myth, back to the time of Oracles or something.

The whole thing was just off.

It made my brain sleepy -- more than it normally is.
Profile Image for Arooj .
529 reviews319 followers
December 13, 2012
Oh, I am not happy.

Not happy at all.

In fact, I'm downright disappointed.

I was so excited to read this. This book was was on my list of "must reads" of this year. The synopsis is so damn intriguing, right? So when I got this book, I was jumping up and down in excitement. The beginning started off really well - I was really into it. The synopsis I read said how Adelice has only a few hours to enjoy her freedom, because after that - well, I didn't know what to expect. I thought it'd be this really exciting book and I was looking forward to finding out.

And what did I find? Nothing unique. Turned out to be yet another typical dystopian book where the main protagonist has to go to some place in this dystopian world that's corrupted and she has a big secret she must hide from everyone. Now, how many times have I read a book like that?

What sucks the most is that the concept was superb - being able to manipulate time and matter? WHAT?! But the way it was described in this book was very confusing. The weaving is done on an actual loom with threads from which you can see what you're threading...somehow. I'm still not sure. I don't even know how I'm suppose to imagine it all. It was so damn confusing. Plus, I had all these questions, like, if they remove someones thread, which basically means that they die, do they just disappear? What about mountains and rivers? Same thing when they create something - does it just pop up out of nowhere? None of this was explained properly. And honestly, the plot was SO boring. Most of what Adelice did was learn more confusing stuff about Crewlers and then suddenly she's getting all primped up and go to parties and meet people...*sigh*. I wanted more cool weaving stuff to happen! I only got about a third of the way in of the book, then I skimmed ahead a bit to see maybe if he story gets more exciting, but it didn't look like it. I wanted to like this book - so badly. But I didn't

And the romance? *shakes head* I really don't understand why the population is segregated in some dystopian books. Why would the world go back to this old fashioned practice? In some books it works because it's explained well but in others it feels like it was made that way just so that when the main protagonist meets their love interest, they get all flustered and go "Oh, what is this feeling I'm getting? Is it because I haven't been allowed to interact with the opposite sex? Or is it loooooove?" I don't like these types of romances. It isn't convincing me to. I can't tell if their feelings are genuine. And even though I didn't read that far into the book and wasn't able to see how the romance went, what I read so far didn't impress me.

I am just so damn tired of getting excited about all these new dystopian books, only to have them fall flat. I give up. I'm going to try and not look forward to any new dystopian books - only the ones in series that I still like.
April 9, 2018
Full review and more

My my what a struggle!

It took me ten days yes ten fucking days! I had to force myself to finish but I'll start by describing the (few) things I liked.

The concept and storyline was very different indeed. In Adelice's world, Arras, the Guild controls and monitors everything via the Weave (a tapestry of threads made of time and matter). Everything has a thread and the Guild can alter or get rid of threads therefor altering and controlling the world around them. Adelice is a spinster, a girl who has a gift to weave the threads that make up time and matter. Spinsters are the only people that can alter the Weave, that's why the Guild treasures them. About three quarters of the way through there was a really good, shocking revelation about Arras and how it'd been woven...

I found those ideas very clever and interesting. It definitely made me think about the makeup of the world around us. It's a very clever idea to think of the world as one big tapestry. Plus a few years back I remember watching a documentary about time travel and parallel universes. Lots of theories were discussed, one of them was about the destruction of this universe (entropy) in the far future. It discussed how future civilizations could escape to other universes or perhaps even CREATE their own universe/reality. So that's what the description of this book reminded me of...

In fact I'm sure this story is inspired by the strings theory...


Seriously though, that's pretty much where the intrigue ends. The rest of this book was literally a lump of SHIT with hardly ANYTHING happening!

I mean honestly this was so boring I began to visualize the threads as cobwebs! In fact here's the full process that was me reading this book.

STAGE 1. I was excited after seeing this online. I couldn't wait for the release.

STAGE 2. Approx 50 pages in "Uh oh I have a feeling I'm gonna be in here a long time.."

STAGE 3. Approx halfway "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh...Zzzzzzz...(Only I wasn't smiling)"

STAGE 4. Almost at the end,"What? Did something good happen?" Adelice, Jost and Erik fall through the Weave and land on Earth..

FINNISH! Oh man, I'm so glad can you see my tears of joy?

FINAL REACTION/OPINION..The plot was soooo slow and sooooo full of shit!
I really don't enjoy reading shit and I fail to comprehend how so many people have given this high ratings.

The characters all felt really dull and unreal. Why did this story drag so much? It was so so boring, the only thing I was looking forward to this past week was finishing this crap! Now that I've FINALLY (at long fucking last) finished, I really feel like a weight has been lifted. I feel like I've accomplished something big! *clap* *clap* *CHEER!*

I'm really starting to agree with Melissa Marr "Life's too short to bother with books I'm not enjoying." But with me I just have to know what happens at the end, which was a cliffhanger of sorts. I highly doubt I'll be continuing this series but we'll see.. I just really hate books that build you up for something big, then let you down with a truly crap story.

So to close up this "review" I'll say there were some awesome, mind-blowing ideas that had huge potential but were pitifully wasted in this...SHIT!
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews247 followers
January 21, 2016
DNF at 21%

New year, new reading resolutions: I will no longer force myself to finish disasters... and from all the reviews I've read after I found myself frowning upon what I was reading , it appears that that was only the beginning for a trainweck.

The girl is just your usual Mary Sue. With her bland Mary Sue voice. Making stupid Mary Sue mistakes. <People! I am too old for this crap!
I know the cover is pretty, but that's about it.

In twenty percent there has been no world building. Just some random information about the world the story takes place:
_ Probably in the future... there's some strange words thrown in -_-
_ There's gender segregation;
_Apparently the only jobs available to women are ones of secretaries... ?? And that is if you fail the exams to become a Spinner...
_Some people decide where we will live, and with whom we get to live...
_Food sources became scarce? Since there's control over who gets to have kids...and over the food rations.
_Makeup is a bad thing!!
_Girl on girl hate... just because -_-
_Every girl wants to be a Spinner because GLAMOROUS LIFE Y'ALL!

Also, like I mentioned in a status update, after _ and even before! _ being imprisoned in a cell, the girl has been ogling guys left and right... and she has been trough a makeover!
Honestly, I don't even know why I am DNF this crap amazing piece of YA romance??
Off to find a good book!
Profile Image for Rose.
1,879 reviews1,064 followers
September 12, 2012
The first thing that I thought about Gennifer Albin's "Crewel" when doing my overall reflective thoughts about it was that I probably should've never read it in consideration as a dystopian work (in general) right after the rather developed and meticulously constructed thematic of "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline. Granted, they're both dystopian works, but for considerably different audiences, and I took that into consideration as I sat down to think about my reflections on "Crewel" and why it didn't appeal to me.

Maybe if I hadn't read the books so close together, the glaring faults of this novel probably would not have stood out as much to me, and maybe - just maybe - I could've found more to like in it. But then I thought about it. No, a dystopian work, even a YA dystopic romance - as common of an occurrence as it's come to be in the genre now - should be able to stand on its own two feet without so much comparison. It should be able to leave me with something to remember in its aftermath with whatever story it chooses to weave with its respective cast and conflicts.

I'm going to preface this review by saying that I think there are bound to be people who like this work, especially those who frequent dystopias and don't mind the similarities - that's fine. I'm probably among a vocal minority as far as it not being my cup of tea. Yet, I want to start off by pointing out the single biggest factor that put me off this collective novel, and it's a significant one since it's one of the biggest things that I look for in a story that appeals to me.

I didn't give a single wink about any of the characters in this work. None whatsoever. And I know some of you are thinking "WHAT? Considering everything you really didn't care about any of the characters here, Rose?!"

Well...yeah. Basically. Usually if I can't do that (with few exceptions - there has to be a LOT of thought and execution into the other elements of the work, though), the whole bottom caves in from the rest of the story no matter how intriguing it might be. Believe me, this story had many pieces of it that could make it actually a pretty cool offering in the YA genre - I definitely see where those factors come into play. Character usually begets story, mostly not the other way around, otherwise your characters may feel more like mechanized puppets. That was part of the problem with "Crewel" because for me, it was easy to tell that the characters were being led on strings to certain points. Then there were plot points that just didn't make a heck of a lot of sense. Like one big grating detail that occurs at the end of the novel that just…argh. Stupid forced love triangle *grumble, grumble*. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's summarize the plot, shall we? :)

The story begins with Adelice and her family dining in the aftermath of a series of trials that Adelice was said to have failed (but she didn't) and results in her capture and being taken in some ambiguous display of force, kept in a cell, then dressed up in pretty clothes, told what to eat, controlled to a tee in this rather ostracizing environment towards women and involves the separation of the sexes. In any case, Adelice has been told that the extent of her special abilities have to be hidden - she has the ability to weave time in threads, which is a really neat ability. She goes with the flow of her environment save for times when she stands against her superiors in what could be mentioned as obvious notes of oppression.

The only thing I really remotely liked about the viewpoint protagonist was her name - Adelice. Otherwise she's dull as stones. The lot of the characters in this narrative are, the love interests and villains included. That might be a very rude thing to say, but hear me out. I'm totally over the purportedly talented leading character with a special ability who's constantly praised as having a gift and being an aberration in her society but not actually really being shown as a character who steps up to the plate with said ability - the information is told more than shown. The places where she does step up feel manufactured and contrasting to the times where she recedes back into a love sick Mary Sue. I never felt fully connected to Adelice's experience. There's also the obvious love triangle between two boys who compete for her affections and a revelation toward the end about both of them that seems so insufferably silly that I wonder what the big deal about it was.

While "Crewel" has some interesting notations in terms of weaving time/matter among other measures - I wish that the worldbuilding was a little stronger/developed than it was. There were too many unanswered questions for my liking, including the power dynamic and divisions in the society, which I think could've given "Crewel" a bit more leverage in addition to the cool weaving elements. Even if those had been thoroughly addressed, I don't think it could've saved the novel from having an insufferable cast of characters with far too many elements of other dystopian works. It just wasn't enough to stand out to me.

Overall, the concept has a fair amount of intrigue with the premise, but I think those who are looking for a different dystopian in the YA genre would likely find more in a fuller work with better construction and characters. Great ideas, but not woven with enough care or consideration for me to continue the series, though I think others who are more forgiving of the novel's familiar elements in conjunction with its unique offerings could find enjoyment within it.

Overall score: 2/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Macmillan.
Profile Image for Kiersten.
143 reviews138 followers
December 17, 2013
See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe Books

How do I even begin to talk about the gloriousness that is Crewel? This book was absolutely incredible and not only exceeded my expectations but blew them up. Seriously.

The concept of Crewel is pretty difficult to explain. Arras is built and controlled by women known as spinsters who weave the reality of the world. Among these spinsters is Adelice Lewys. I could go into more detail about her talent and the world, but this is the kind of thing you’re going to want to read on your own. Gennifer Albin does a beautiful job explaining this world, weaving the details into the plot seamlessly. There is so much detail to this world and there was more to discover throughout the entire book. This world was built so well, drawing me in and keeping me interested. There was, of course, background about the world and how the weaving worked, but there were also details about how the world was run. Throughout the story we find out more and more about the political side of Arras, constantly trying to see where the true power lies. Adelice’s struggle to understand this power struggle made the world feel so real. Just like in our world, the power distribution in Arras is no simple thing. Crewel is probably one of the best dystopians I’ve read. The corruption of Arras is so complicated and rooted so deeply into the world.

Just like the world of Arras is well developed, so are the characters. The way the characters of Crewel interacted and behaved was very believable – each character being motivated by different things and acting on this motivation differently. The wide variety of characters did a lot in contributing to the way events played out and the way Adelice’s story followed through.

Adelice is truly a great character. She’s sarcastic and rebellious, but there’s also this tender side of her that she tries not to show. It’s clear that she is struggling to understand the people around her and she refuses to show it. Adelice has incredible strength through her hardships. She’s one of those heroines that you can look up to.

As great as she is, Adelice would be nothing without all the other characters she interacts with. From evildoers like Cormac Patton and Maela, to friends like Enora and Jost, Adelice’s choices and what she comes to know about her world comes from these people. All of these characters are so real in their own. While reading, I was anxious to see what motivated these people and what they were trying to achieve. There is so much to all the characters that I could probably go on and on about all of them, but instead I’m going to say READ THE BOOK. REALLY.

Besides all the gloriousness of world and character, the general writing on this book was wonderful. Gennifer Albin masterfully described everything that was going on in an understandable way. A world woven on looms is kind of abstract and hard to understand, but it’s not when Albin explains it. There was beautiful imagery and emotional inner thoughts. Also, the pacing was beyond perfect. In some of my more recent reviews I said how well the books were paced, but this book blows them out of the water. While I wanted to keep reading with other books, I needed to keep reading this one – the pacing was down right impeccable.

Overall I have to say that this book is EVERYTHING – and by that I mean that it’s wonderful and perfect and amazing and I can’t even. I highly recommend this book, especially if you like well-written dystopias filled with adventure and romance. These book was absolutely incredible and one of my all time favorites. I’m definitely looking forward to where this story is going!
Profile Image for Anna.
86 reviews
September 11, 2012
NOOOO. This is bad. I didn't just dislike this book. I hated it so much that it made me angry. I had a look of appalled disbelief on my face as I read more and more, quickly realising that the awesome book I had heard about full of time weaving and Spinsters was actually WORSE than 'The Selection' by Kiera Cass. I'm sorry but I cannot forgive. Hopefully I can forget.

The characters in this book do not act appropriately considering the world that they are in. This world, and its rulers, are supposed to be so terrifying that Adelice's parents attempt a suicidal escape mission right at the start of the novel. So, we are directed right from the beginning to believe that this world is dangerous, and the people who are in charge are evil. However, the flippant and disrespectful manner in which Adelice treats her captors is shockingly consequence free and nothing particularly bad happens at all. Sure, she gets locked in solitary confinement now and again but as the details of her time there are completely glossed over, we never get the feeling that she has truly suffered in the cells. She comes out pretty chipper and making eyes at the porter whilst she is being released rather than gasping for water or unable to walk. I never once felt that she was in any sort of danger, because it was obvious that the people in charge were incompetent and found her backchat charming, because she is oh-so feisty and scrappy. Ugh. Oh, and don't forget attractive because the guy in charge even gets a crush on her. In fact, every single man she meets seems to be falling at her feet. This world is a complete joke.

I hated Adelice. Her parents and sister are either dead or in mortal danger and the only people who can prevent their further harm are those you have been captured by. So what do you do? Complain because you don't like the clothes? Moan about the bath? Have stirrings of sexual desire every time you see a man? Make jealous comments about the beauty of the other girls? I think the author tried to make Adelice a ballsy, gutsy heroine but missed the mark entirely by making her seem just plain arrogant and idiotic. I mean, at a time when your parents have probably just been killed and these people could do the same to you at any time do you moan about getting dressed up? Also, the author imbues Adelice with this aversion to clothes and make-up and fancy pants things, yet there are an awful amount of makeovers and descriptions of gowns in this book. It really reminded me of 'The Selection' in that way; the heroine has this irritating mock-modesty and humility and hatred of femininity yet the book is teeming with dresses and balls. You don't have to make a heroine hate pretty things to make her likable y'know.

The supporting characters? What supporting characters. The other Spinsters are hardly touched upon, so we have an anonymous herd of girls whom are indistinguishable from each other and are all portrayed en mass as shallow and materialistic. Only one is picked out, so we know right from the beginning that she must be important. I hate it when there are no decent characters despite the ones the author requires to drive the story forward. Aside from the stock characters, we got nothing. Adelice has no sympathy when she hears that some of these girls who lack Spinster powers are destined to become servants and lackeys- they deserve it for being so excited about their new life and being hopeful about their future. But as Adelice has deemed them all ignorant and unimportant, it's fine that they are basically slaves til the end of their days. Even though she never once has a conversation with any of them. She says at one point:

'I want to tell him that unlike the other simpering idiots here I've actually read a book or two in my life.'

Yeah so, modesty is not a strong point of hers. Neither is mercy, or sympathy that these girls are sucking up to people whom will kill them if they don't. She would have them laughing in their faces and throwing tantrums everyday like she does. I suppose she knows there's no real danger considering the amount of times people tell her that she is going to be killed/going to die and all she can muster is an angsty sigh or a rude retort. I mean, if you don't want to cease to occupy the mortal realm all you have to do is stop being a rude brat to one woman (an albeit nasty woman but I think it's a small price to pay). Can she manage that? Oh no.

This world just isn't dangerous. Whispering works a treat in the compound; oh yeah there's surveillance but apparently it doesn't pick up whispering or lowered voices. Something you would've thought they'd fix. Oh, and blurting shit out such as secret powers and secret plans in the grounds in earshot of a guard is fine as long as you clap your hand over your mouth afterwards or drag someone into an empty room (which coincidentally is free from CCTV). However, not only is there no tension or danger in this world, it also just doesn't make any sense. We already learn at the beginning of the novel that the Spinsters are looked up to and admired by the general population. Yet, when Adelice is interviewed she has to rehearse answers set by the rulers which make her sound shallow and dumb such as the answer to 'What is your favourite part of being a Spinster?' to which she replies:

'The clothing. It's so nice to have pretty things to wear everyday'

WHY!? Why would they make their Spinsters like this? The public are supposed to trust and revere the Spinsters, but how could they do anything but despise them with such mind numbing answers? Surely, if anything, the Spinsters should appear ethereal and wise and mysterious, not straight out of a beauty pageant. And don't even get me started on how she treats the man who has potentially massacred her entire family, and then forced her to travel with him endlessly smiling and posing for pictures. She isn't sure she is justified in not liking him because he has always been nice and respectful to her. Despite the family killings, this is a man who slimes all over her every time he sees her. Oh, and at one point she is being sent to a hotel alone to meet him, and is warned by a guard that he may do things that would require her to defend herself by 'a knee to the crotch'... in other words he may try and rape her. Her reaction? She has to SUPPRESS LAUGHTER. What's a bit of casual molestation between friends, eh? Adelice generally has very strange reactions to the men around her, including a love interest who tells her of his horrendous past and what happened to his family, and her reaction is jealousy that he has already had sex with someone. I couldn't even.

The reason this book even got the one star I gave it, is the weave itself. Every person, object and place in Arras has its own thread, or, in the case of a place, a woven section. The Spinsters maintain Arras by redistributing, adding, and removing the strands and sections that are weak and compromise the whole tapestry. I like the tapestry and the way the strands reflected people and their personalities; I love the image of a shimmering, vibrant weave that shows time and space, and each strand is unique. I just wish someone else had thought of this idea and written a decent book about it.

Overall, this book was most definitely not for me. There is only so much nostril flaring and 'crumbling' into men's arms I can take, unfortunately. While this book may be about weaving, the story and characters are no rich tapestry.
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews577 followers
November 25, 2012
There has been a famine of originality in mainstream YA for a while now. Paranormal romance has long lost its sheen, the dystopian craze never entirely took off and, as I discussed in my previous Book Lantern post, the assembly line of contemporary romance is on the rise. The glimmers of hope must be accepted with open arms, and, despite not entirely succeeding in its aims, “Crewel” has ambition to spare.

The appeal in “Crewel” lies in its concept – a world where reality is woven by a group of elite women known as spinsters, who have control over everything but are controlled themselves by a patriarchal system. There’s absolutely no reasons why the genres should remain separate and “Crewel” has elements of science-fiction, fantasy, dystopia and a touch of Greek tragedy, with the obligatory YA romance (a love triangle – is there any other kind?). There are parts that really work, and the book is bursting with ideas and often intricate explanations of how this world functions, but it takes far too long to really get going. The book opens with an incredibly clunky info-dump where the catalyst of the story – Adelice revealing her weaving talents – is barely mentioned before the story moves onto her family. I understand the need to quickly establish the heroine’s love and closeness to her family, since they’re largely absent throughout the novel and act as her main motivation, but the pages of exposition dragged down any momentum. The same happens with the explanations of the weave. The prose is pretty inconsistent but when it’s on form, it’s very beautiful, particularly when describing the weave. In sheer visual terms, this would make a gorgeous film (my choice for director – Guillermo del Toro).

I was disappointed that the book contained several examples of casual women shaming, particularly in regards to the two female antagonists, because “Crewel” has some interesting gender themes throughout. Patriarchy is a common feature in dystopian fiction, notably in Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, because it’s a terrifying and not infeasible concept to imagine a world where women are controlled entirely by men. In Adelice’s world, only women can work the weave, and society is focused heavily on the family unit, complete with passive women. As the story is told from Adelice’s point-of-view, we witness her very judgemental moments, particularly towards the other spinsters. For some reason, make-up and fancy clothing are judged very harshly, as are the women who choose to wear a lot of it. The faux-opposition of traditional femininity from a heroine who herself fit that mould felt very hollow and misjudged, especially since the book dedicates a lot of time to beauty preparation, balls and the like. At one point, Adelice smugly declares that she wants to tell one of the male characters (who all became indistinguishable from one another about half-way through) that “unlike the other simpering idiots here I’ve actually read a book or two in my life”. She’s incredibly judgemental of the other young women who aspire to be spinsters, forgetting that they’ve been raised to aspire to this aim. At times, I was greatly confused by Adelice’s actions, and by others reactions to her. She seemed special for the sake of being special.

The supporting cast don’t fare much better, particularly the three main male characters, all of whom are romantically interested in Adelice in some form. I genuinely couldn’t tell who was who at several points throughout the novel. Their backstories, motivations and even their appearances (all charming and handsome, of course) were rather derivative, and I didn’t care about any of them, to be honest. Once again, we have a case of a love triangle where the outcome is painfully predictable. It’s not so much a love triangle as a romance with a third wheel for decorative purposes, and I couldn’t think of any reasons as to why all these men would be so enamoured with Adelice. The female characters fare a little better, if only because they’re given a little more to do. They also seem surprisingly lacking in motivation.

The final quarter of the book really saves it. The pace picks up dramatically, the action goes into full force, and the author puts her all into the unfolding of the world. Adelice comes into her own, which really improves the novel, but also highlights the weaknesses of the novel’s opening. I also seriously appreciated reading a dystopian-type novel that actually contained some LGBTQ representation, however fleeting it was. All too often, such novels just don’t even acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ people and their place in the society depicted, so props to Albin for practicing what all too many YA authors only preach.

There are a lot of questions that “Crewel” leaves unanswered, common for the first book in an intended series, but luckily the novel ends with a bang that left me hopeful for a strong sequel. The reader’s desire to read more will really depend on their reaction to the rest of the novel. For me, the huge scope of the novel does leave me intrigued, and the final 25% of the story worked enough for me to want more. However, the big issue with “Crewel” is that it doesn’t really know what it wants to be, and how to do so. There’s so much creativity and so many ideas screaming for attention in “Crewel”, and one can’t help but admire the ambition, but it’s weighed down by a lot of inconveniences, contradictions and derivative elements. However, in the grand scheme of modern YA dystopia, it’s up there as one of the more intriguing.

Profile Image for Emily Anne.
226 reviews254 followers
May 5, 2013
Wow, what an extraordinary read! This is totally one of those books you will never will be able to put down! Okay, I thought this would be an easy review to write since I loved it so much. Right now thats working against me because all I want to do is gush over Crewel. Crewel= Masterpiece

The characters are memorable and real. Jost, Adelice, Eric, and other characters, I swear, broke into my room last night. They talked to me and I saw them clear as day. (Maybe I am exaggerating a bit.) But, my point is, the characters were so vivid! Characters always make or break a book for me, and these wonderful characters got a big O on the "Make the reader care" O.W.Ls. My heart ached for each of them and everything they had to go through.

The world in Crewel was...well... utterly breathtaking. One of those settings that transport you to wherever the main character is. Albin is a author to envy for her amazing skills. Also, as you learn about the Spinsters and how they are controlled, you get mad. Scarily (and embarrassingly) mad for the world being total fiction.

The reader can tell the author put a lot of thought into this book. The ideas are complete and unique. Crewel was so not hastily thrown together. Everything needed is included, and in wonderful ways that suck you into the story.

This is now one of my favorite Dystopians. I am not always a big fan of the genre, but this one was 100% amazing. It is not a carbon copy of Hunger Games, or even Matched. Thank you Albin! Crewel stands out. Definitely.

Overall, I loveloveloved Crewel. I recommend this to readers looking for beautiful writing, vivid characters, and original ideas.

5/5 bookcases

Side note- Weaving time? Pulled off wonderfully!
Profile Image for Bean.
718 reviews25 followers
April 19, 2012
It takes a lot for me to like a book that's inspired by THE GIVER, and it also takes a lot for me to like a book inspired by THE HANDMAID'S TALE. In a bizarre twist of fate, CREWEL draws inspiration from both (along with a healthy dose of THE HUNGER GAMES), and I still loved it. The difference between this and a lot of the other current YA dystopian books, in my opinion, is Albin's imagination. The "framework" (pun intended) of weaving is brilliant and innovative, so it didn't bother me that she took the oppressive male system of HANDMAID + old master teaching new student of GIVER + primping/pageantry of HUNGER GAMES to create this book. Great ending as well with a nice last-minute twist that doesn't feel forced. I'll definitely read book 2. Note to other YA authors - this is how you write dystopian.
Profile Image for Misty.
796 reviews1,230 followers
October 29, 2012
This review has been a hard one for me to sit down and write. Crewel was one of my most anticipated books of this year (I mean, hello, buzzwords!), and I was all ready to be impressed and count it among my favorites. But sadly, it ended up being one of my biggest letdowns.

Crewel lured me in almost immediately - the intro was strong and compelling, Adelice's  predicament in trying to hide her talent, and all of the chaos and confusion of the beginning chapters were really effective and interesting. The world that was set up had all of the building blocks for something cool and memorable (though I sometimes had to fight through Albin's occasionally muddled writing to see those building blocks), and Adelice's voice was engaging - basically, the elements were there, and I was ready to love the story.

But then it just kind of fell apart. Albin sets up a world that is very repressive, with very strict rules on pretty much everything, most especially gender roles and norms. There is strict gender segregation in nearly every aspect of life (especially for the young), a limited amount of jobs women can are allowed to perform, and ways in which they are expected to look while performing those jobs. Flirtation and gender-mingling is pretty much non-existent, and talk of sex and sex-related things is, understandably, taboo.  This is the world Adelice has known, so when she's thrust into the world of the Spinsters (which is still really regimented and gender-segregated), and suddenly finds herself moving about in the world of lecherous, creepy Powerful Men, she's pretty shaken. This could have been really, really cool (and sometimes was); it had a Mad Men-esque vibe that made my skin crawl, and I really liked seeing the juxtaposition of naive-in-the-ways-of-the-world Adelice (and all of the other young Spinsters and Spinster-wannabes) with the really, supreme ickiness that men brought into this world. It was reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale (which I love), and it was an element I wasn't expecting, so I was excited.
(Again, there's that but.)

But when these two worlds collided, the characters and the rules became really inconsistent. There was a lot of slang (like, our slang, not slang of the Crewel-world), and attitudes toward sex/boys/attraction that just didn't gel with the world that had been set up. It was really hard to believe that all of these girls who had been raised with strict gender segregation and hardcore rules about sex would suddenly speak very freely about sex and teh hawties, that they'd be borderline predatory - and catty, and jealous, and vapid, and a million other things that just didn't suit - and that nobody would bat an eye. I suddenly found I didn't buy the characters or how they fit into their world - who they are and how they interact, relative to the world, caused a huge disconnect, the world was weakened, and I felt cheated. Things just didn't work with the world as it was set up. They could have* - it would have only taken minor tweaks - but instead things were contradictory and discordant, and they kept shaking me out of my WSOD. I felt deprived of what could have been a really interesting world - but a world very different from our own with characters like us superimposed on it just doesn't work. It feels phony and almost lazy.

Also - this had a serious case of the Typical YA Romance blahs. A touch of romance potential (a lingering look, a fastly-beating heart, a burgeoning curiosity**) to be built up over the length of the series, pitted against the icky aspects of Mad Men-style sexualization would have been much more interesting and believable. Instead, it was all Insta-Love-Triangles™ all over the place, and again, I felt cheated of the build-up and the potential power. Add to this all the jealousies and plots and it all became a little too soap opera for me. It did have some interesting dynamics I'd like to see explored more, but I want to see them explored as I think characters from this world would explore them, and not characters from our world. If you're going to tackle sexualization, sexual intimidation, homosexuality, gender roles, etc., please, Ms. Albin, do it as these characters from this world with this set of experiences would do. That has the potential to be so much more fascinating and powerful and memorable than Crewel as it is now, which unfortunately faded pretty quickly from my mind.

Essentially, I was looking for impact, but I got write-by-numbers - stock characters, lack of believability, and everything built on a foundation of sand. But maybe it wouldn't be such a letdown if I didn't see potential. Then, I could just write it off and be done with it. But the fact that it sort of actively disappointed me means that I saw where it could have been incredible (especially after that strong beginning), and it was so close, that I was left feeling cheated - but also hopeful that the series can somehow get back on track and leave me feeling more fulfilled than this book did. I guess only time will tell.

If you're curious, you can read chapters 1-5 here for free.

*A case can be made that the girls - even in their gender-segregated lives - were raised to be this way. And I would buy that - if it had been shown. There are touches (like girls growing up knowing that they can be only a handful of things, or like the girlish fantasy of being a Glamorous Spinster) that would begin to make a case for...hmm, indoctrination, I guess? into this type of role/behavior. But more was needed if that's the way this story was going to go.

**But good god, nothing so purple-prosey as that. =P
Profile Image for Megan.
533 reviews345 followers
February 10, 2014
CREWEL... Where do I start with CREWEL? Well, I can start almost anywhere, but since it's late, I'm having trouble remembering a lot of what went down, and my bed is calling, I'll make this one quick.

My expectations were high when this came out, and after reviews began to come in, after I heard comparisons and remarks, they slowly fell, and fell some more, and again, until eventually I left this book on the backburner and only returned to it recently when I remembered I bought it on my Kindle months ago while desperately seeking something to read.


At times, CREWEL made me distinctly remember scenes from THE HUNGER GAMES. That is not a good sign. Beyond the intricacies of weaving and the looms, it just felt stale. We follow Adelice, a young woman who has the power to see and weave on the loom of life - she can create, she can change, she can move, she can kill, and therefore, she's special. When she screws up trying to hide her abilities, she's taken away to a life of being controlled while being pampered and sexually harassed in a tower of women and sexual harassment, where she shuns other girls who like makeup and is immediately attacked for reasons beyond her control.

For a book about a girl breaking out from the control of men, it's awfully...sexist?

I didn't like Adelice. She spends 90% of the book doing stupid things just because she's stubborn, knowing all along that they won't work. I didn't like her two love interests whose names escape me. I didn't like our villains, uber-sexist Cormac and stereotypical mean girls Maela and... the other one.

Wow, this book is pretty forgettable? Yet I do remember being impressed with the plot and imagination. Yes, there was that...


After years of dystopians being the go-to genre on the YA market, CREWEL just felt like another addition to the bunch with little to set it apart from the pack, and that was disappointing. Likewise, it also seemed very reminiscent of the 1998 science fiction film 'Dark City', where a man wakes up realizing that these mysterious men control his world, changing the lives of people, taking people away from families, killing them, building new buildings with just a thought, all during the space of a few minutes where the city sleeps and no one is the wiser, except for our hero who has their powers. It's awesome. Go watch it.

It has all the pre-requisites for dystopians. A love triangle? Check. Pretty dresses the heroine shuns? Check. Kissing when you should be running? Check. A shadowy government with no real motivations to be seen? Check.

VERDICT: Although inventive in its world building, CREWEL feels most of the time like just another entry into the dystopian market - the world just wants our poor heroine to suffer for no real reason other than she's special. Next!


484 reviews30 followers
June 10, 2012
Hum...where do I start with this one?

In Crewel, Adelice lives in a world completely controlled by a group known as The Guild. The Guild determines everything about their lives, from who they marry to how many children they have, to what people eat. In the midst of this controlling, semi-patriarchal society is a group known as the Spinsters, who possess the strange ability to weave time, and that will allow the Guild the ultimate form of control over its people. It's the dream of every young girl to become a Spinster since it is the only way to have any semblance of freedom and privilege. But Adelice isn't like every other girl, even though she has the gift -even stronger than most other girls.

Adelice is thrown into a conflicted world of control where she struggles to find freedom and happiness. And even though the Spinsters offer some freedom, it's not enough. Adelice finds herself fighting for what she wants in the midst of power and control. The overall concepts of Crewel seem interesting, but once I dug deeper into the world and the characters, that concept quickly started to rust.

Unfortunately, I always felt like the world was vaguely drawn. I never felt like I was completely engaged in it, and I kept asking questions that never seemed to be answered: Why was the Guild in control? Who allowed them to have that control? If Spinsters could essentially take over, then why don't they? Though Adelice does have legitimate reasons to not become a Spinster, why can't she try to use her new status to get what she wants? It just seemed like she wasn't that smart when it came to thinking through all of the new opportunities that could come with such a gift.

Speaking of Adelice, I found it really difficult to connect with her. She seemed like such a flat and uninteresting character who was willing to let the Guild and the Spinsters do whatever to her -she didn't really fight back, almost like she didn't know how. I was especially disappointed as the story went on and the semi-interesting themes of freedom and control mostly gave way to yet another dystopian-esque teen romance. That was when the world took a firm backseat role to the romance, which was boring and predictable.

This could have been a good book, but it needs more work and more development -it's just not quite there yet.
Profile Image for Marie.
504 reviews390 followers
October 23, 2012
Cannot recommend this book highly enough. Thoroughly entertaining and very original and unique in its concept.
Keeps you intrigued the whole way through.
With two love interests more conflicted than others and in a surprising situation.
Eric a hot seemingly orphaned bad boy, who is to me irresistible and Jost is a quiet but kind guy with a good sense of humour who has family issues..

The whole plot of this story is insane to say the least. You would never be able to compare it to other books because its story is one of a kind and the book is therefore in a league of its own.

Spinsters and crewel's what do they mean to you? Because to me it meant nothing.
To be able to weave time. How amazing would that be. I thought how the hell can a story revolve around that? But think again because its so intense, conflicting and confusing but it will weave all the confusion away by the end and will leave you shocked and in awe with the whole thing.
I love reading a book that is so fresh and new.
The ending was so good too I have no criticism against this book, instead I can't wait for the next instalment in this captivating new series.

Profile Image for The Book Queen.
230 reviews129 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned'
January 2, 2016
I think this may be the quickest I've ever abandoned a book. I was reading it on wattpad, so I couldn't tell what the page number was, but I ditched it after Chapter Two. Life's too short to read books like this. I'm not normally so picky about beginnings, but the two chapters I've read were disappointing and dull, and according to the majority of the reviews, the rest of the book is the same. Crewel gets the dubious honour of being my first DNF of 2016.
Profile Image for These Violent Delights (Robin).
366 reviews77 followers
April 28, 2017
Although I had a few problems with this book, mainly the lack of female friendships (categorizing women as backstabbers and b****es with each other, which I totally disagree with) and Adelice's emotions. She barely had any, it was like if she had a kitten and it died she'd be like "oh, that's so sad" and then barely even shed a tear. It just really bothered me.

Anyways, the story/plot was really interesting, it kept wanting more. The writing style was okay enough.
Profile Image for Emily.
187 reviews303 followers
November 24, 2012
4.5 stars

Crewel surprised me. It’s not often I read sci-fi – mostly because I don’t know what I’m looking for. I know the contemporary genre inside out, and I find my way around the fantasy section fairly well, but sci-fi is a whole new ball game for me. But every time Crewel popped up on my Goodreads feed, I felt a spark of curiosity. Maybe it was the unusual name, the vivid cover or the unique (okay, weird) premise. Probably all three. So when I was offered Crewel for review, I jumped at the chance.

That’s not to say it was all smooth sailing. For the first 70 pages, I read with a look of bafflement and struggled to wrap my head around the concept of a world built by spinsters who weave time. In fact, I can see how this would turn some readers off. Arras is an intricate and bizarre world that requires suspension of disbelief. But as the story unfolds, we discover more and more about how this complex world works and, thankfully, by page 70 I was completely comfortable in Arras. I absolutely needed to know what happened next.

Not only has Albin nailed the world-building aspect, she’s got the kickass heroine covered, too. Quite simply, Adelice is awesome. She’s smart, she’s sassy and she keeps it real. She suffers great loss early in the book – and later, too – but her reactions never felt over the top or melodramatic. She’s just a girl who’s doing the best she can in the situation she’s found herself in. If I ever found myself trapped in a society like Arras… well, let’s just say I’d like her around. For her brain AND her humour.

So far we have a great world, an intriguing premise and a loveable heroine – what else could I possibly gush about? LOTS. But especially the romance. Oh, the romance *fans self*. Although the much-dreaded love triangle is present, it’s not as annoying as I expected it to be. It’s love triangle lite. Never fear, it is somewhat resolved by the end of the book. Both boys are wonderfully compelling, but my favourite is Jost Bell. It’s not often I see a love interest who’s as multi-layered as the main character, but this is definitely the case with Jost. We learn things about his past, things that are vital to the main story, that make him much more than just a cute valet.

Enora, Adelice’s mentor, is another character I particularly loved. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here. But, you should know, I cried. Her story is tragic and it also opens up discussion for issues we face here in our own world. This thought-provoking layer of the story made me fall in love with Crewel even more.

No character is left underdeveloped. Albin’s villains are painted in shades of grey. You hate them, but you can kind of understand why they act so atrociously. Kind of. Cormac Patton, the Guild Ambassador, is particularly scary because he absolutely thinks he’s doing the right thing for Arras, even when it means killing innocent people. And I feel Maela’s jealousy may play an important role in the rest of the series.

The last chapter of Crewel is crazy. You’ve been warned. Even I, who happily went along with whatever wild thing that happened along the way, was shocked by the turn of events. But I was cheering, too. It opens up such an exciting direction for the next book and I can’t wait to meet up with Adelice again for another thrilling adventure.

Gennifer Albin has created a stunning Pinterest board for Crewel and its sequel. There you can find lovely visuals for many of the characters and concepts in the story – definitely worth checking out! http://pinterest.com/gennalbin/crewel/


Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy. This review and other fun things can be found at Daisy Chain Book Reviews.

Initial reaction:

Wow. WOW.

We've only been on one date, Gennifer Albin, but I think it's LOVE. *sexy wink*

Wait a minute, I have to wait HOW LONG for our next date? Well. Fine then. *grumbles*
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,474 reviews171 followers
July 22, 2012
A HUGE THANK YOU to Around The World ARC Tours for allowing me to read this ARC. I have to say I have never read anything like this before. The way Gennifer set this world up was nice and slow. Sometimes slow is painful but in this case it is GREAT! I was able to follow the new world and grow right along side Adelice.

Adelice lives with a secret that she wants to keep from everyone. She wants to be normal and she definitely does not want to be a Spinster. But one day while she is being tested she accidentally spins time and everyone is shocked that she is a spinster. Now she only has an hour left with her family before they come for her. She is terrified because she does not want to be separated from her family. She is also afraid that once she becomes a Spinster she will effect everything and everyone around her and she does not want to do that.

When they come to get her and bring her to Arras where the Spinsters live she finds things hard. She sees things she has never seen and she meets boys and girls that are like her. She will have to learn the ways of this new world. While there she find out what it means to feel love she will meet two boys but before you say it no it is really not a love triangle. She will experience friendships and other things. And as she goes through each trial she will have to learn to adapt to stay alive. She will realize that The Guild controls everything and she will have to learn to adapt.

Adelice will have to fight her way through and keep true to herself. What will she do to keep her family safe? This is such a GREAT read I stayed up till 3am in the morning till I was able to finish. It ended in a good place but it had me saying dam I need book two like right now! This should be added to your MUST READ pile because you will LOVE it!
Profile Image for Booknut 101.
849 reviews923 followers
January 20, 2013
This book screamed, to me, one thing: Pun Fest.

The way Adelice's society is run is crewel.
It's crewel that her parents make her hide her ability but they do it to keep her safe.
Unfortunately their crewel-ty doesn't pay off and she gets taken anyway.
Adelice meets the crewel 'head lady' of the Spinsters.
Adelice doesn't like being treated in a crewel manner and is stubborn (basically holding up a sign that says "Oh, please kill me, I'm the one most likely to rebel!!").

This may sound crewel but Adelice would have a better chance of surviving her crewel new world, if she just shut up every now and then and listened to the people in charge and played dumb. But no. She wants to speak out against the unfair and crewel ways of the Spinsters and those in charge. And if there is one thing to learn from all of this it is: don't be crewel (jokes). What you actually learn is that if you put women in charge, crewel-ty = bitchiness and if the men are in charge, crewel-ty = violence and threats.

You get both crewel options in Crewel.

And I'm sorry for being so crewel and giving away so many spoilers - plus the never-ending puns - but it would be crewel not to appreciate how much fun is to be had with a book title like this one. :D
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