Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Release Date: 3/23/2010
Publisher: Egmont USA
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About the Book: When wizard Wayland North shows up in Sydelle Mirabil's town and brings with him the long missing rain, he's offered a reward-and chooses Sydelle to accompany him on his journey. A cursed wizard, a looming war, and powerful storms brewing wherever they go, Sydelle is whisked off on an adventure she had only dreamed about before meeting North.
GreenBeanTeenQueen: I've never been a big fan of high fantasy, so I wasn't sure if I would really enjoy Brightly Woven. Turns out, Alexandra Bracken has what it takes to make me enjoy fantasy!
The book starts off quickly, which I loved (I've mentioned before how I hate when the summary mentions part of plot that doesn't occur until halfway through the book). That's not the case here-the adventure is off and running from the start. One of the reason's I'm not typically a fan of fantasy is that I find the worlds and magic and rules somewhat difficult to follow. But the world set up in Brightly Woven wasn't overly complicated. It still took some time for me to understand everything-things are revealed throughout the novel, so you discover the world and how magic works in pieces.
There were a few plots that I felt could have been developed more. I felt the relationship between Sydelle and her childhood friend could have used some more background. But there are some brilliant moments of storytelling and plot twists that made up for that and the last few chapters of the book were fast paced and full of adventure-I couldn't put the book down once I reached a certain "gasp" moment in the book (if you've read it, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about it!) It really took me by surprise and I had to hand it to Ms. Bracken for such a clever surprise. Well played indeed. (I also loved that fact that when North started calling Sydelle "Syd" early on, she was annoyed at him and told him not to call her by a nickname-he hardly knew her! I loved this since early nicknames are one of my pet peeves in books.)
This is Ms. Bracken's debut novel and I thought it read like a first novel-the story could have been a little tighter in places and some of the characters developed more. But I do think Ms. Bracken is a writer to watch and I think she has a great future as a fantasy writer ahead of her. I also like the fact that the book ended in a place that I'm happy to have it end-no major cliffhanger, still room for a sequel, but I'd be ok as a reader if there's not. I would be interested to see another story set in this world, since I really enjoyed Ms. Bracken's take on how magic worked.
I do have to mention that one of my teens at the library borrowed my copy and when she finished it told me that it was amazing and she loved it and she couldn't wait for a sequel. So this one should have high teen appeal and I'm sure your fantasy readers will love it.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher at ALA