Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review of Brightly Woven

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Pages: 368
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: March 23, 2010
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.  In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.  Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry."

In the far corners of a kingdom there is a village that is suffering from a serious drought. The drought has plagued the villagers for years until a wizard came along and somehow lifted the "curse" and brought rain.  Sydelle Mirabil, the protagonist, is the daughter of the town elder and a talented weaver.  When her father meets with the wizard, Wayland North, he promises him pretty much anything as a reward for the rain.  North wants his daughter, Sydelle, which comes as a huge surprise to her.  In turn, she is plucked from her village, her family, her friends, and everything she knows.  She is traveling with North across the kingdom to deliver a very important message that may prevent an unnecessary war.  Sydelle wonders why North picked her and on top of it, he is extremely secretive when pressed on this very issue.  During their travels, they encounter other wizards who are just as interested in her, but she is not sure why.  And along the way they encounter strange weather, duels, romance, and of course, more excitement.  Alexandra Bracken's debut novel, Brightly Woven, is a high fantasy adventure that I loved to live in.

The relationship between Sydelle and North was extremely entertaining.  Sydelle is a strong character that I immediately connected with and North was swoon worthy and then made me laugh out loud. For me, this is a recipe for the perfect literary relationship.  Also, as I was reading this book it occurred to me that I love wizards.  I wish I read more books with wizards, but whenever I think of them, something nerdy comes to mind like Dungeons and Dragons.  However, Bracken made wizards cool and not to say that Harry Potter isn't cool, but in my opinion, North is more mature.  Don't get me wrong, Harry Potter is one of my favorite characters, but is he swoon worthy? Not so much.

Also, as the mystery of why Sydelle was chosen for this quest unfolded, I became more and more captivated. I really had no idea where Bracken was taking the plot and I was pleasantly surprised.  My only issue was the pace of the novel.  There were a few moments when the plot seemed to slow down a bit, but overall, I was extremely entertained.  Lastly, I find it shocking that this is Bracken's debut.  Brightly Woven didn't feel like a debut novel at all; I was extremely impressed.  Based on the information on Bracken's website, there are no plans for a sequel at this time, which definitely saddens me.  I hope that the publishers will plan on a sequel, because Bracken has so much potential.  Bracken is only 23 and to write this novel in your early twenties is incredible.  I can't wait to see what Alexandra Bracken comes up with in the future.  


  1. I really liked Brightly Woven as well. I would love for it to have a sequel, because there's definitely a lot more that could be added to the story. Great review!

  2. Wow - The book sounds great. Only in her early twenties!!! That's brilliant.

    She is a great role model for people my age to write books and get them published so young. Good on her!

    Z x

  3. A swoony Harry? Sign me up! Great review!

  4. This sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing this review iwth us, I'll certainly be looking out for it :)

  5. I certainly think this sounds interesting and something that I would enjoy. I'm a little concerned about the pacing issue but I think it might be worth a try. Great honest review.


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