Review of “Crewel” by Gennifer Albin

All the hobby and craft stores should be featuring this book on the basis of its’ plot threads alone (so to speak). Every possible reference to weaving plays a role in this story of Arras, a world in which time and matter can actually be reshaped by a bevy of girls who work as “spinsters” on the fabric of reality.

Crewel

Being “chosen” to be a spinster is not so fun, because it involves lots of tedious, well – weaving, so there are “perks” for the girls in this post-apocalyptic dystopia. These so-called benefits include the opportunity [sic] to wear makeup and clingy dresses with maximal exposure! And of course you know all the young girls grow up wishing they get selected, even without the influence of princess propaganda from Disney, who is not a part of this otherwise unfortunate universe. Outside of the “coventries” in which the spinsters live and work, non-chosen girls have to look and behave “chastely” until their required marriage at age 18. Also at that age they are assigned a role suitable for a female, like being a secretary to men, or a teacher to children.

Adelice Lewys, 16, has some natural-born talent as a manipulator of threads, but her parents encourage her to hide it so she doesn’t get shut away in a coventry. Alas, she can’t resist the temptation to be deft with weft, and before you know it, she is taken away by a publicity official, “Hunger Games” style, to get coiffed and clad and made up and fed and so on, so she can ply her skills for the Good of Mankind. Or, that is: the Good of Man. However, before all this feting takes place, Adelice has to have that rebelliousness tortured out of her, of course.

So who is pulling all the strings in Arras? Is it the Chief Crueler Creweler? Is it the Evil Psycho Woman in charge of training new girls? Is it – wait, this is a tough one – is it men? And might they (gasp) be taking advantage of the chastity policy to prey on virgins? No! It couldn’t possibly be that!

Anyway, not to worry. There are not one, but two (of course two!) teen boys who happen to work at the Coventry who quickly become rivals for the attention of Adelice, and want to protect her. But to no avail! In the end, Adelice’s insouciance causes disaster to loom. Is it curtains for Adelice and the boys? Or is there a basis for this yarn to continue?

Sorry folks: it’s a trilogy! Yes, it’s a crewel, crewel world, indeed.

Evaluation: Same old pattern.

Rating: 2.5/5 (higher than it might of been in a bow to the amazing plethora of puns and double entendres from the world of textiles, and I don’t mean Arras!)

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012

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14 Responses

  1. Very clever play on words in the title. I don’t normally read dystopia but glad you liked this one.

  2. You are full of puns today! lol I’m rather relieved to see a 2.5 rating – now I don’t even have to consider a book outside of my comfort zone.

  3. Love the puns! I actually liked this one but I did read it after a long string of books that I didn’t like so I was willing to forgive some things. And I loved the ending!

  4. It’s funny, whilst reading your review I found myself far more interested in reading this book than I had been previously. That said it does seem very same-old same-old so I probably wouldn’t end up reading it :/ Brilliant review!

  5. Hehe, it is a “crewel, crewel” world indeed.
    I can’t remember — did you like Divergent? I feel like I need a new dystopic, and I figure you’re the person I know who reads the most! :)

  6. This book sounds like it has a great premise. I haven’t heard about it before but it may be one I like even if it is the same as all out there. I do love the cover – it was what first caught my eye.

  7. You are just full of it today! I’m laughing out loud over this review. And rolling my eyes, because you know how I feel about books like this. But I must say that the cover is beautiful :)

  8. I’m going out on a limb here, but I don’t think this book is for me. It sounds like the same old story, and the angle of the weaving is just not enough of a hook to make me want to pick this one up. Very clever review today. You were honest without being crewel. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :)

  9. I loved your review and the puns…

  10. what a fun review and so full of humorous puns! i’ve seen a few reviews of this one and i hate to say but it just doesn’t appeal to me…your review however, had me laughing out loud!

  11. It is obvious you had a blast writing this review!

  12. A trilogy? I hadn’t realized. Fun, fun review/ Should have come with a “put your hot coffee down before reading” warning.

  13. I can always count on you to read the trilogies – so I don’t have to!

  14. Might be new to me since I don’t read these. LOL!

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