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The Department of Alterations

(Crewel World #0.5)

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  497 ratings  ·  78 reviews
In a world woven of secrets, a woman seeks a back-alley tailor for a sinister procedure, but she can't escape from her own tangled web of lies.

The women of Arras are expected to fall into assigned roles, serve as loving wives, and provide healthy children into the world's tapestry. But perfection comes at a price and not even the looms of Arras can manipulate away every pr
ebook, 32 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.33  · 
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 ·  497 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
+ 1 star: Clear writing.
+ 1 star: Engaging.
+ 1 star: Dystopia.
+ 1 star: Emotional character.
+ 1 star: This is a very special feministic star. 'cause obviously this novelette is about women being downtrodden, blah-blah.
+ 1 star: There is supposedly novel world somewhere out there in this series. I didn't notice it beyond separate distorted glimpses but I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, this time around.
- 1 star: What's going on? Who are these people? What's with the total lack of
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈

With my lovelies, Karly & Kristin

a is for Albin

So this tor short falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. The artwork is exquisite!

But the story is just kinda meh.

The problem with this short is that it is a prequel to Albin's Crewel series which I have never read, and this short draws its world and characters from that novel. As I haven't read it, I was a little clueless about the kind of world that exists here as I wouldn't classify this short as a standalone. So with that being said, I proba
Prabhjot Kaur
The world of Arras has a both past and future feel. It feels dystopian yet it feels like it could be the 1950s. I have read couple other stories set in this world and it's a bit of a gamble with these stories. Whilst one story I really loved, the other I wasn't too impressed with and this was also not impressive at all.

Cormac Patton makes a comeback in this and he was as cruel as I remembered him from the last story. I didn't mind the writing but the story itself wasn't very captivating. I love
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-story, free, 2018
Wow. An incredible story that makes me want to read more, to know more. I'm very curious about the rest of the series. I'll definitely have to give it a read when I can! ...more
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Department of Alterations is a short story that occurs prior to the events in Crewel. Karoline Swander is the wife of an influential man and they've been unable to have a child. (Of course, it's all her fault, right...Excuse me while I get sick). Sorry, back to the story. She has used up all of her legal options so she goes to a 'tailor' who may be able to help her get pregnant. It doesn't end well.

I enjoyed re-visiting the strange and awful world of Arras. The more I read about it, though,
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Creeptastic. 2.5 stars.

Feels part of a larger story.
S. Davis
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I liked this look into an average female living in the male-dominating world of Arras.

I've read Crewel and I'm savoring Altered (reading with lots I breaks in between because I don't want it to end!). It makes perfect sense to me and you'll see Deniel again in "Altered".
Poor Karoline... And What a bastard of a husband she got stuck with!

This side story also helps me to visualize the citizens of Arras as "human beings" and not mindless drones.

Although Albin (eventually) provides us with a detail
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
While I felt this story added a little more depth to Crewel, I'm not sure it was depth that was truly needed. It was definitely nice to get a little more information about the incident Atalice and her family reference, this *very* short story (I read it in a digital format, but I doubt it was more than 10 pages)adds very little to the story. As many others have noted, this story does not stand alone- if you have not read Crewel you will understand this story but will walk away unimpressed.

As a s
I picked this one for the nice red cover (I'm shallow, I know).

A short story set in a sexist dystopian society. I didn't read the main novel, but I guess women are second class citizens here. I felt sorry for Karoline (wife of a man with a high position in the society), trying to get illegal treatment for her fertility problem, behind her husband's back (as it was her fault). The bastard doesn't want to adopt 'cause God forbid someone of his influential friends discovers his wife is barren (* SP
Beth Roberts
Meh. I read this strictly for the cover art. Shallow, I know, but my hair is similar to the picture, although I have no idea why there's a bird in her mouth.

This is supposedly a prequel to a dystopian novel.

In this world:
1. Women have no status, no power.
2. The weavers of the threads of life can alter the overall tapestry of time.
3. Everything is based on a sinister political machine.
4. The main character can't have a baby, thus disappointing her husband and worse, brings shame to him.
5. The hus
old account (rl)
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Department of Alterations was nothing like what I expected. I think this story was meant to clarify what the 'accident' with Amie's instructor, mentioned in Crewel. It could have been great, but I had little clue what was happening. It did manage to get me on the verge of tears and writhing with anger at one point, so I was impressed that it evoked such strong feelings in me, but I was mostly just confused.

For an extra look into the world of Arras, I think it was worth a read. If you have re
Mairéad (is roaming the Undying Lands)
1 to 1.5 Stars at best.

Welp, this was rather, um, disappointing I should say in the least.

Of course this might be attributed to the fact that I haven't read the novel that follows this prequel, Crewel . So please bare with me here, I only read this because its short and fast and I can usually tell if I want to read the series or novel, makes it easier for me than picking up the novel and having to input what I liked and didn't like.

It might be the site where this was hosted, but the formatti
Brittany S.
Read for free on!
Interesting! I liked how it tied in to Crewel and the very beginning of the story. (Totally forgot Mrs. Swander's name, but I remember her disappearance now!) It's a creepy thought that Arras really does run like that, but such is a dystopian novel!! That's what makes it interesting. I always enjoy seeing very minor characters and their stories come to life because it really adds that extra layer to a book or series. Very interesting and heartbreaking to see the frighte
Ashley Ferguson
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Ok first of all, this cover really freaks me out. I still haven't really been able to figure out what in the world it has to do with anything, and I'm a little weirded out that it looks like she's surrounded by intestines and there's a bird coming out of her mouth. I like that it's dark and creepy, because the story is kind of dark, but I just don't really get it other than that.

That being said, I really enjoyed this story! I think reading Crewel first really helped with that, because otherwise
Dec 31, 2013 rated it liked it
This short little story was a bit confusing to me possibly because I haven't read Crewel yet. The dates published are indicative that this should be read first. Still I enjoyed the story, strange though it may be. The strangeness begins with the most unusual cover. Guess that, too, is indicative of such a strange world Albin creates.

The story starts off with what I think is a sensual scene, come to find out Karoline is in the "tailor's" office to get help becoming pregnant. Her husband is a real
Gretchen Fatouros
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Probably best to read after book 1, though you are tempted to jump right into book 2
May 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Weird short story but at least we find out about Amie's teacher and her "accident" backstory from Book 1 Crewel. ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Nope! Didn't like it at all. 1 from me for the rating... ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. I would have liked to see more of how exactly ecerything played out, but leaving it up to ones imagination works. Very short story. Interesting concept.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
I'd read this short novella as a part of the Fierce Reads Anthologies although I think it's actually available for free from Tor.Com. This story was confusing for me, having not read the Crewel series by Gennifer Albin, but I would imagine it would really appeal to readers of the series but for me it served as a really wonderful taster of the world Albin has created in her series, which I immediately want to read!

Reaching a very tiny, even for a novella, 32 pages this extract features Karoline S
May 16, 2015 added it
I'm not sure how to rate "The Department of Alterations" because I spent a lot of time trying to orient myself in the universe, to the point that I didn't connect much with Karoline Swander or the tailor. I found the Crewel World quite interesting, however, and I loved the language of weaving that underpins it (no pun intended).

I empathized with Karoline and I thought her dialogue with the tailor gives a strong sense of the world, but for me, it wasn't enough. I suspect "The Department of Altera
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story revolves around Karoline Swander, the wife of an influential man of Arras. I really felt for her. Her husband and her kept trying to have a baby but it wasn't working out -- and, of course it's her fault. Oh, the unfairness of Arras, it's just a sad thing. Even though this story is in third person POV (whereas CREWEL is in first person POV present tense), I still was able to connect with Karoline and her plight.

I liked how this story ended up tying in with CREWEL, too, I really didn't
Meaghan R. (YA-aholic)
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
i don't think there are really any spoilers in this for Crewel...which is a relief, because i've come across a LOT of prequels that give something away in the first book, which is why i ALWAYS read them AFTER the first book, now...

everything that happens in this story, is mentioned briefly, in the first 2 chapters.

i liked that this was the back-story, the what-really-happened to something only touched upon in a few lines in the opening of the book...

there were a few, new writing errors that were
Space Case ✨
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one quite a lot more, possibly because it was in a much more familiar setting and I already knew the characters that I was being presented with. Of course, I didn’t know that right off the bat, but once it was revealed who we were reading about, I found myself pretty excited that we were getting a look into what had happened in the past. It also definitely gave another side to the character we read as, the tailor and the official both, as we’re not given much on either of them the ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how much sense this short story will make if you haven't read Crewel already, but I really liked it. It tells the story of an incident that happens before the beginning of Crewel; it's about what really happens to Mrs. Swanders. It's creepy and disturbing and really shows the awfulness of Arras in a way that we see, but not quite this up close and personal, in Crewel itself. A nice addition to the Crewel world. ...more
I just liked one thing in this story, and that was the cover art. That's about it. I know that the reason I am less than impressed is because I've yet to read Crewel, - and that's about the only reason why I am giving it two stars, other than because it is not completely horrible -, but I fail to see the appeal here or why I should hurry up to read the novel. The writing was okay, but the sudden change in POV seriously hurt the flow of the short story. All in all, a 'whatever'-sort of read. Mayb ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Original Read:

I LOVED Crewel, so of course as soon as I finished it I looked up the author and bought this short. And it wasn't disappointing, but it was very short, which was a bit of a bummer; I was hoping it would do more to tide me over until I can get my hands on Altered. Still, it was excellent writing, and it gave some much appreciated insight into Arras and more of its ways and citizens and showed what some of its people a
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This left me feeling sad.

The story is set in a world where women are second class to men, especially men in influential roles. Where women's roles resort to being domesticated and mothers.
The MC seeks out assistance as she has been unable to fall pregnant, she has been to numerous doctors and when she suggests to her husband that perhaps it is not her but him and he should be tested he basically 'gawffs' at the idea that he is the problem.
Therefore she seeks out the backyard procedure as a last
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted here:

Actual rating: 4.5/5 Stars

I really liked this story and the information it provided us.

My only problem was that it wasn't long enough. (Seriously. It should have been way longer.)

Even if you have not read any of the books from the series and even if you have, I definitely recommend checking this story out.
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tor-com
I liked this story right until it switched from the protagonists viewpoint to someone else. I think that the writer should maybe get some more practice in crafting in writing stand alone short stories or else warn people that you need a knowledge of her novel Crewel to properly enjoy this one. All in all if I had read the novel first I may not have been so lost in the end.
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****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

Other books in the series

Crewel World (3 books)
  • Crewel (Crewel World, #1)
  • Altered (Crewel World, #2)
  • Unraveled (Crewel World, #3)

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