Author: Gennifer Albin
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Macmillan imprint)
Sixteen year-old Adelice 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 a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and not having to be a secretary. It also includes controlling what the population eats, where they live, how many children they have, and Adelice isn't interested. But because she slipped up at the worst time and wove a moment at testing, they'll be coming for her. Tonight. Once you become a Spinster, there's no turning back.
Crewel is an engrossing experiment in world-building. A dystopian society mixed with science fiction elements and the act of weaving leaves behind a book that feels so complex, so elaborate, but once you learn the truth everything falls into place.
The book is filled with secrets, things tucked away and hidden for those who are brave enough to discover the truth. Secrets, truth, lies. Control. Who controls whom? Spinsters can manipulate the fabric of Arras, can add to the world and can take away just as easily. But someone tells them what to do, when it add, when to stretch resources, when to rip. There are those who control, those who allow themselves to be controlled, and those who are brave enough to break free.
As much as this is a book about uncovering the truth, it's about control, having it and not having it. Adelice has an amazing ability, even amongst the Spinsters. She is unique, and she struggles desperately to hide it, because her and her parents know that once the Guild knows about her, her ability is no longer hers. She will have no control over her gift. She will belong to the Guild, become their tool, theirs to control, theirs to make into a symbol for Arras to keep things as they are. As they have been. Perfect.
It's a losing battle for the Guild right from the beginning, because Adelice is not one to be easily swayed, yet they try so desperately to bring her over to their side. They might steal her away in the middle of the night, they might lock her up in a tower, they might provide everything they have to offer in terms of privilege and eternal beauty, but given the chance, I believe Adelice would rather spit in their faces.
Adelice is always strong, even when they drag her from her home by force. She's willing to fight back against the Guild, against other Spinsters, but fighting back has consequences that could impact those she cares about. She has the strength and the desire to break free from the chains they've wrapped her in, but can she find the will to tear through them?
I was very intrigued by the weaving aspect of the book. Creating something from something else, creating crops and weather, it makes you wonder what the world is really made of. You can go on changing it as you see fit, removing the mistakes, but what happens when you're drunk on power and go too far? What if you realize it's all a lie? What could be on the other side of the weave? I wish there was a bit more of the weaving, at times I thought it was a bit overshadowed by the false glamourous world Adelice is pulled into, but if they're trying to make her into the new Guild poster girl, it's only right that it would be overshadowed. Less time for weaving, more time as a show horse.
After a very surprising ending, I'm very curious as to where the next book will take Adelice, as to what she will discover. The world is covered in a veil. Who will be strong enough to rip through it and uncover what's underneath?
(I received an advance copy from another review blogger.)