Monday, April 11, 2011

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken Review

By Alexandra Bracken
March 23, 2010
EgmontUSA, 360 pages

When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.

The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.

— description

I think if I had to pick my favorite type of book, this would be it.

But I don't even know what genre to classify it as. Fantasy?

Whatever you want to call it, it's got everything I love: adventure, good vs. evil, a slowly building romance, a fairy-tale setting, magic. Oh, and did I mention there's a map inside the front cover? You know how I feel about that.

The fairy-tale setting of this book—seriously, it could have been set in Robin Hood or Tangled—was to die for. Poison, wagon rides, weaving, curses! So quaint; so JUST what I want to read about.

Books that create this sort of setting bring out the little girl in me, who at a young age fell in love with what were, well, actual "storybook romances." I just get swept away.

While I was all sorts of bent out of shape that the story started with Syd's parents selling her off like cattle (the feminist in me was all, "Oh HELL no..."), I love how her relationship with North grew and changed. And, when it did take a turn for the worse (no, not a spoiler, all romances and friendships in books have bad times, otherwise books would be a total snoozefest), they eventually aired every grievance I had and helped me come to terms with it. Very refreshing.

Alexandra Bracken did a great job with her first book. Plus, she's gorgeous and, like, 24. I'm a fan.

You might also like: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Anna Reads young adult book blog


  1. Great review.

    Every time I read a wondeful review of this book I wonder why I still haven't got myself a copy of it.

  2. This sounds like a great book, I'll have to add it to my TBR. PS, I love you blog design!

  3. Amazing review! I need to get this book ASAP! It sounds fantastic :)

  4. I've agreed with you on everything I've read so far, but have to disagree on this one. I thought it was awkwardly written and the characters were not really fleshed out.

    There were parts of it that I liked, but overall, not one of my favorites.

  5. This review is perfect! I totally agree about it feeling like Tangled or Robin Hood. And I don't know what it is about Bracken's writing, but I loved it.

    Also, can we please discuss how utterly gorgeous this cover is? I am ridiculously in love with it. Ridiculously.

  6. Everyone I've heard talk about this books has absolutely loved it! I need to read it!

  7. This book sounds awesome! Thanks for the great review. I had it on my "to read" list, but I had forgotten all about it. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it at the bookstore.

    Jennifer of Little Shelf

  8. I'm not a really big fantasy fiction reader but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I enjoyed it far more than I was thinking I would. it would be fun to see a follow up on where North and Syd are.


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