Monday, November 30, 2009

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken.
Publisher: EgmontUSA.
Pages: 368.
Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

Every once and awhile, I read a book that completely takes over my mind. I think about it at night while I’m trying to sleep and I contemplate what’s going to happen next constantly as I go about my day. It basically manages to squeeze into every thought I have until I’m able to pick it back up again. Brightly Woven is a perfect example of said mind-control.

The story has a wonderful balance of adventure, magic and self-discovery. I would’ve never imagined a young adult novel possible of holding all three with such addiction, but Alexandra has certainly done it.

The journey between the two main characters, Sydelle and North, was kept the main priority throughout the entire story. There was no floating away from the plot to sneak in bits of romance- the author managed to do that without straying. I also enjoyed the small yet cleverly created magical elements- such as the rover beetle, an insect that keeps track of somebody- that made the story so much more unique.

I was impressed with the characters as well. Instead of acting as a damsel in distress, Sydelle was a kick-ass heroin who was always thinking of ways to get back up after she was knocked down. North, though he doesn’t bathe enough, got some laughs and swoons out of me. I particularly enjoyed reading his intoxicated scenes. It was nice to have the occasionally humor with all the gasping and squealing I was doing.

Filled with beautifully written magic, battles, a stinky-yet-charming wizard and a well-plotted journey, Brightly Woven has officially managed to snag a spot on my all-time favorite list.

P.S- I want to say thank you to Alexandra for sending me the ARC! And be sure to check back on Friday for more Brightly Woven goodness!


  1. Oooh I can't wait until March! I've wanted to read this ever since I heard about it on the Tenners live journal page!

  2. Oh yay! I'm so glad to hear that it's amazing. That it will take over my mind, as you put it!! :-)

  3. I've been wanting to read this since I heard about it, so I'm glad to hear it's so good!

  4. this is on my I WANT IT NOW!!! list! lol
    Great review!

  5. Awesome review! I agree with Faye, I want this so bad!

  6. Wow. im soo glad to hear how great the book is. Im going to pre order it now!!!

  7. See, I just knew this one would be amazing. I just have a good feeling about it. Cannot wait to read it. Thanks for the excellent review!

  8. I have this in my reading pile I will have to be sure and read it soon! great review!

  9. Wow, what a glowing review!

    I want to read this even more now :)

  10. This was a wonderful fantasy book by a very promising debut author. I am really excited to read more of her work in the future.