Book Review: Brightly Woven
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Genre: YA Fantasy
I have been dying to read a book similar to Kristin Cashore's Graceling. So I trusted Google and found a blog that recommended this book to me if I enjoyed Graceling (have I told you how much I LOVE Graceling?). Goodreads did not give this book a lot of love, people either loved it or hated it. But after finishing it I think I'm an odd man out and somewhere in-between love and hate. The Setting paragraph is from Goodreads which probably means it's courtesy of the publisher.
The day the rains came was like any other, blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness....
Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village. North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country - and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home. But North has secrets - about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey. What does he want from her? And why does North's sworn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself?
What I LIKED about this book
The story itself and the magical world Bracken created were very entertaining. I grew to love both of the main characters (Syd and North) in their own ways and both were strong heroes by themselves. I feel that this story is worthy enough to stand by Graceling, but the editing and polishing of the novel itself could be greatly improved upon.
What I DISLIKED about this book
This was Bracken's debut novel and in a lot of ways it showed. While I loved the world Syd and North grew up in I desperately needed more world building to show more of the politics between countries, wizards, and towns. And while we're at it, more character building for Syd and North as well. At times Syd came across as timid and others where she was assertive and bossy and this inconsistency confused me regarding her character. In contrast, it was clear something dark was affecting North, and he alludes to his actions as dark as well but we never really saw the "dark" side of North.
Last but not least, Bracken's writing was choppy and incomplete. At times she jumped from thought to thought and expected the readers to pick up the pace. Many of Syd's thoughts were unfinished and I found myself re-reading a passage many times wondering if I missed something when the explanation was never there to begin with.
Overall, I thought Brightly Woven was an entertaining but lacking read, 4 out of 5 stars. It's getting such high remarks because the story was creative and kept me turning the pages, even though this book needed some major editing, character building and finesse. Some of you may have read (maybe based on my recommendation) Bracken's next work The Darkest Minds. I thought this book was better thought out and reflects how much Bracken has developed as a writer. I would recommend Brightly Woven to fans of Graceling, The Darkest Minds, and anyone who loves fantasy and romance novels. I really wish Bracken could have given us a sequel. She definitely could of drawn this story out and tied up some loose ends but no such luck for me!