Book Review: Crewel (Crewel World #1) by Gennifer Albin

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

Release Date: October 16, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Source: Review copy from publisher

After finishing Crewel, all I can say is WOW!  What a unique story and well-executed concept!  I don't think I've ever read anything like this book.  I don't know if Crewel is classified as a dystopia or science fiction, but it had my favorite elements of both genres.

I loved Crewel's premise.  In the world of Arras (the reader learns about its relationship to Earth at the end of the story) certain women are gifted with the ability to change the world.  They take the elements of the world, time and matter, and weave them together on a loom.  These girls are called Spinsters and they are the most prestigious members of society.  It took me a while to fully understand what the Spinsters actually do, and for a while I pictured their work sort of like how Tom Cruise worked the computer wall-screen in Minority Report.  Weird, I know, but it worked for me.  Spinsters control births, deaths, crops, everything about the world of Arras.

Anyway, most girls long to be a Spinster.  In the Crewel world, women are not valued, with the exception of Spinsters.  Most of them are secretaries, or at best, teachers.  Men rule this society.  However, Adelice does not want to be a Spinster.  Her parents taught her to hide her gift of weaving, and she knows that she must pretend to fail at her testing.  But, she slips and actually works the loom at her testing, and the Guild comes for her, to take her away to the Academy.  

Once there, she uncovers the truth about Spinsterhood.  She makes some unexpected allies and quickly makes a powerful enemy as well.  But Adelice is no ordinary Spinster.  Something is different about her: something that scares the people around her.  Suddenly, things get really interesting.   Adelice's ability pulls her into the limelight, and she has to fend off the attentions of a most unwanted suitor.  She also starts to have feelings for someone who is wholly inappropriate for her.

I loved Adelice's character.  She was tough, but still had a well-balanced emotional side to her as well.  The plot moved quickly, and once I understood what being a Spinster meant, I found Crewel impossible to put down.  I did predict the ending, but still enjoyed the book.  There were some surprises along with way, which made things very interesting.  My one complaint is the extreme cliffhanger ending.  And since Crewel was an ARC for me, now I have forever to wait until book two comes out!   


  1. Sounds very unique, which is definitely what I'm looking for nowadays. Really looking forward to picking this one up.

  2. I'm hearing good things about this one but for some reason I'm not compelled. Maybe it's the cover.

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