Review | Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel (Crewel World, #1)When Adelice’s parents discover she has the magical weaving gift that enables women to weave the fabric of reality, they do all in their power to train her to hide it. At age sixteen, all young women in Arras are tested for their weaving abilities. If the girls pass their tests, they are swept away to the opulent Coventries to become Spinsters. In Arras, Spinsters are treated like royalty, but Adelice’s parents know there is a much darker side to a Spinster’s life than pretty clothes and medical technology that keeps Spinsters alive and looking young and beautiful for years and years.

Despite her parent’s training and warnings, Adelice is so drawn to the weaving during her test, that she accidentally reveals her powers to the Guild. Suddenly, she is thrust into the complicated, delicate, and deadly politics of Arras and the Western Coventry. With weaving abilities so powerful that they rival the Creweler (the most powerful Spinster of all), Adelice is unsure of who she can trust and how she can free herself from a life of being controlled by the Guild.

I loved the original concept of this book. Albin’s world looks something like this:

Think, mash-up of a ladies sewing night, meets Fringe’s Observers, with a pinch of a scandalous Mad Men episode.

I really liked Adelice’s character. She’s a strong, no-nonsense, sarcastic woman who is afraid of the world around her, but so impulsive and fiery that she can’t help but speak up when she sees an injustice happening. The political aspect of the book was interesting and is often a theme that I feel is somewhat lacking in young-adult dystopian fiction, but I thought Albin did a good job with it.

The science behind Crewel’s weaving world is intense and was even a little overwhelming to wrap my head around. But I loved how different the idea was from anything else I’ve read.

Crewel was very intriguing and interesting, but I also felt that the book was happening with the fast-forward button on. The book covers something like a five week period of time, but it felt like everything that happened could have occurred over a number months or even years. I thought all the relationships between the characters in Crewel were completely plausible. But, the story pushed ahead so quickly, that as a result, the relationships suffered from the loss character and story development that could easily have happened. I also felt there was a lack of smooth transitions that took readers abruptly from one scene to the next.

Crewel ends quite abruptly, but in a perfect, jaw-dropping, “WHAT!?” way. I am impressed enough with the unique sci-fi story of Crewel that I will read the next installment, Altered, but I’ll also be crossing my fingers that Albin is able to flesh out and explain her story a little more than she did in Crewel and that Adelice’s love triangle doesn’t become too twisted.


Overall Rating:   3 of 5 stars false1/2

Parent’s guide:

  • Sex: numerous kissing scenes (some intense) between men and women, references to homosexual relationships, two women embracing sexually, older men that prey on teenage girls
  • Violence: a teenage girl is forced from her home and family, a man is killed and there are descriptions of his blood, a teenage girl is isolated in a jail cell and fed very little, a girl is forced to weave on a loom that severely cuts her, multiple citizens of Arras are ‘ripped’ (removed/killed), people are re-programmed to be more compliant and easier to control
  • Language: mild
  • Mature Themes: government control over society, young people being forced to grow up quickly, suppression of women