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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Brightly Woven
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pub. Date: 3/23/2010
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Fantasy, Wizard, Love, Opposites Attract, Good vs. Evil
Pages: 368
Plot (from GoodReads):
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.

Generally, I am not a fan of YA fantasy novels. I appreciate the attempt to write a great YA fantasy, but I personally feel that YA often does not allow enough pages to fully develop the characters and plot. When it comes to fantasy, I often want almost too much detail. My favorite fantasy novels are often at least 3 times the length of an average YA book and have 5 or more volumes. I know the worlds within those pages inside and out. It seems, however, that Alexandra Bracken has disproved my theory about fantasy and YA  and, for once, I was happy to be wrong.

I was relieved to see that Bracken delved into the magical elements of her story. Many times the details of that aspect are glazed over to focus on the bigger picture, but I really enjoy the background information - it makes the story more realistic to me. The wizardry in BRIGHTLY WOVEN has some unique twists that set it apart from other similar novels which is always commendable.

BRIGHTLY WOVEN has been marketed with a strong emphasis on the romantic plot line, but I didn't really love that part of the story. I'm definitely glad it was included, but it moved a little bit quick for my tastes. I think it could have been written a little more smoothly or portrayed a bit differently. I don't really know how to explain it... I was bothered by how angry Sydelle was at Wayland in the beginning of the novel. Some of the actions and motivations didn't add up as neatly as a I would have liked. I will admit that I their relationship had grown on my by the end of the novel.

Grade: B

Cover Comments:
I really like the colors used in the cover and the detailing along the bottom of the cover. The cover model looks gorgeous... except for the hair. That's the only part of the cover that I'm a little iffy on. I haven't seen it yet in person though, so it might look a little different.


  1. I'm so glad you liked it, especially since you normally don't do this kind of thing :) I cannot wait to read this book, I've heard so many great things about it.

  2. Awesome review Sara! I'm glad that it has unique twists, it gets a little frustrating when books all start to sound the same.

  3. Nice to know that YA fantasy can occasionally hold its own as a genuine fantasy novel.

    I myself have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the cover. Regardless, I'm very excited to read this book.


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