Monday, March 1, 2010

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken (1 ARC Tours)

Published: March 23rd 2010 by EgmontUSA
Hardcover, 368 pages
ISBN13: 9781606840382

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.


Growing up in a town where there's been a drought for over ten years, you wouldn't blame Sydelle for wanting to explore and escape the entrapment of her village, Cliffton. Palmarta--their country--has been a somewhat peaceful place, if you could ignore the cruel trades with Salvala for water in turn for sand. Their country is overlooked by their surrounding countries, but they have the power that Astraea gave their wizards and they are prepared to fight. That is, according to the Sorceress Imperial. While many admire the Soress and are saddened by their kings passing, they see what the Soress plans to do, and that is to go to war with Salvala.
Being a weaver is not Sydelle's only power, however, she does not know that till Wayland North comes along and forms a type of kidnapping in the pretense that he knew Sydelle wanted to escape her village in the first place. Some believe that there are other motives for North's "kidnapping". When Sydelle becomes North's assistant when it comes to his wizardry, most people are certain of it. Why would North choose Sydelle to be his guide to travel across the land and see the Soress? Why her? These questions run through Syd's mind every time they are together, but once she finds out the truth she's almost better not comprehending the semantics of it. Oh yes, North had other motives, but will it lose him his first assistant? Will the betrayal be to disastrous to ignore?

I loved this novel, it had its quirks because of North's and Syd's dysfunctional, combative personalities but it was worth the end result. Throughout the plot of the novel, you get to experience all of North's difficulties through Sydelle's eyes. Look through and find the deep emotions she feels toward him and his mysterious motives. Sydelle power is to weave and create! She knows this, but through hidden conversations and eavesdropping is when she realizes the full extent of the power of creation that lies within her body. The conclusion of the novel was very heart-shattering with its betrayals and misconceptions, but at the very end is when Bracken reveals her ultimate genius in fiction creativity. Brightly Woven could be described as a joining of sorts between two differently miraculous personas depending on the threads of a friendship that soon turns into something so more stupendous.

Recommended to YAs, big and small, you just have to read it to get your own take on this novel.

Grade: B+