Title: Brightly Woven
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: March 23 2010
My Source: Library
My Rating: 4.5/5
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.
I want to start by saying how much I'm in love with pure fantasy. Books that take place completely in their own world and have no connections to ours whatsoever. In YA fiction books like this are rare, and maybe that's why I enjoy them so much when I come across them. Brightly Woven was one example of such a YA book, so maybe I'm a bit biased when it comes to my rating.
Brightly Woven follows Sydelle, a young girl who is your typical protagonist, but she was strong and I liked her. Wayland North, the young wizard who is her constant companion was easily my favorite character. I enjoyed reading every detail about him and I missed him on every page he wasn't there! I enjoyed watching their relationship grow. The cover flap used a phrase- "hard won romance" that I think really reflected their relationship. I love reading romances that grow over time because of their shared adventures together.
Sydelle's world is typical of fantasy, with some new and different twists on wizards, curses, and such. It was facinating, and there was never a dull moment in Brightly Woven. The pace was quick and the world was so intriging. The twists were really good too- I knew nothing about North and slowly we found out his secrets throughout the book, and we found out things about Sydelle too. I found it impossible to put this book down, I read the majority of this book in one sitting.
The only thing about this book that bothered me a bit was the writing. Bracken is a debut author with a lot of promise, but there were times this book sounded a little amateur-ish. Descriptions weren't very rich and I felt like sometimes the plot and Sydelle's character were a little unrealistic the way it unfolded. It wasn't enough to bother me that much, but I'll admit I noticed it.
Overall, I really liked Brightly Woven! I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy, with a really nice light romance. I got this from the library, but I'm thinking I want to buy it, because I would definitely read it again. There aren't any sequels planned, but this book stands really well on it's own. So glad I read it!
Note: I recently read another Tiger of All-Consuming Books review of this novel! I really like it and agree with everything she said so I thought I'd share the link: http://tigersallconsumingbooks.blogspot.com/2010/08/review-brightly-woven-by-alexandra.html
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