Book Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Title: Crewel (Crewel World #1)
Author: Gennifer Albin
Genre: Dystopia; Fantasy; Sci-fi
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Faber
Publication Date: October 2012 
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Download the first five chapters for free: here

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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 as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. 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 wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

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 stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

My Review:

Crewel is probably the book that I’ve been most looking forward to reading this year – and it did not disappoint.

In the land of Arras, the position of Spinster is one of the most coveted roles by young girls everywhere. But not for Adelice Lewys. Since she was five years old her parents have been training her to be incapable, awkward and artless.

But even with their careful instruction, the Guild discover Adelice’s potential and come for her to take her away. In amongst the fancy outfits and balls, the life of a Spinster isn’t all it appears. They have the power to control the weather and create landscape but “ripping” or removing people and places is also a task that falls to them.

This book is… so much more than I expected. The world created is incredible. The fabric of the entire land is controlled and maintained on looms. Golden threads control time and with just a snip entire towns could be ripped from existence. I found it fascinating and to be entirely honest I’m still trying to wrap my head about how incredible the world crafting is.

The segregation of the population was an interesting idea – at sixteen, people are required to get courtship appointments. Purity standards are enforced for all citizens prior to marriage which must occur before the age of eighteen. Parents are assigned how many children they are able to have, when they can have them and what gender their children will be. Citizens with female children live in separate parts of town than those with male children… and because of this Adelice is naive to the world as a whole. It was great that the reader can learn about the world as Adelice herself learns how everything works.

Adelice is my kind of character. She’s feisty and caring, intelligent but at the same time she isn’t smart enough to keep her head down. She reminded me a lot of characters like Tris from Divergent and to a lesser extent, Katniss from the Hunger Games. I really liked how she developed throughout the novel.

The other characters were just as interesting as Adelice. Sleazy old politicians with a thirst for power and young women, confused aestheticians, rival Spinsters and love interests – there is a wide range of supporting characters and they all have interesting back stories. The way they interact Adelice was great to read but this being a first person narrator we didn’t get to see much of how they interact with each other. For those whose back-stories we got to see I couldn’t believe how cruel some of their pasts were… it was brilliant.

The only downside to this novel was there is so much world building and build-up that I was a little let down by the amount of action. But I can’t wait to read the next book in the series now that everything has been set up and see just how everything unfolds.

Thanks to The Reading Room and Macmillan for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


  1. Yay, I’m so glad you loved it! I was actually just a tiny, tiny bit disappointed I think because I had sooo many expectations for it. But after the ending, I definitely cannot wait for the next book!

    • I was trying to not get my expectations out of control as I often get disappointed when I’m so exciting for a book.

      And I think that I was just so blown away by the world that I wasn’t disappointed… It was crazy.

      I can’t wait till the next book either! I think my expectations may get out of control in between now and when I read it 😛

  2. I’m really glad to hear you loved this, I’ve really been looking forward to it too but some negative reviews made me worried! Good to know I should just dive on in and enjoy it 😀

  3. Pingback: 2012 End of Year Book Survey « whY.A.not?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.