May 3, 2010

Review: Brightly Woven

By Alexandra Bracken
Available now from Egmont USA; Review copy

Book Cover

One of the hardest things to resist when writing fantasy is the tendency to exoticize fantasy. Because, of course, no matter how strange the society you've created is, it's still full of people acting like people. Alexandra Bracken never forgets this.

Sydelle Mirabel lives in a small village famous for its pottery. Unfortunately, there's been a long drought, so there's no mud, so no one can make the pottery and the village is in bad shape. She dreams of leaving to apprentice herself to a master weaver. Then, one day in the mountains, she comes across Wayland North, a wizard wearing a number of colored cloaks.

Soon he's brought rain to the village and he and Sydelle are moving quickly, though he won't tell her what's really going on and why he needs to drink so much. Then they run into his rival, Reuel Dorwan, and Sydelle realizes that she needs to find out what Wayland's goals are because she's part of them.

Despite being narrated by a girl, I think boys can enjoy BRIGHTLY WOVEN. It moves quickly, with more emphasis on the action than Wayland and Sydelle's budding romance. (Their romance is more the bantering-type than the lovey dovey-type anyway.)

I especially enjoyed how Bracken wove the history of Saldorra and Auster, the two countries almost at war, throughout the text. It makes sense that both countries present similar but opposing narratives. The cultural stuff remains low-key and easy to follow, but contains just enough complexity to remain realistic.

BRIGHTLY WOVEN is a nice, brisk fantasy. Bracken's debut is charming enough to overcome the rough points that are found in the work of all first time authors. I liked Sydelle's voice and enjoyed her surprising adventure.


  1. "Brisk fantasy" is a nice way of putting it. I'm glad you liked this one, Liviana. I thought it worked very well and very much enjoyed it.

  2. I have seen this cover everywhere lately. Looks good!

  3. Thanks Angiegirl! I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

    @Insert Book Title: I kind of like the ARC version of the cover better - the background is more purplely. I think this is more sedate and gender neutral, but the purple always catches my eye. (But there is a lot of purple on shelves right now.)

    Either way, the overall design is pretty and dreamy.

  4. I've heard great things about this book. I'll need to pick it up. Funny thing for me tho - I really don't like the cover! Everyone seems to love it, but I just don't. Oh well, I won't buy it for the cover!


Thanks for commenting! To reduce spam I moderate all posts older than 14 days.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...