I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Also by this author: Passenger, Wayfarer
Published by Egmont USA on 2010-06-01
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Nature & the Natural World, Weather, Young Adult
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When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past. The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.From the Hardcover edition.
To be honest, I wasn’t very engaged with Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken at first. The story begins when this town on the outskirts of the kingdom receives it’s first rainstorm after many years of drought. Turns out some bad stuff is about to happen. Our lovely heroine Sydelle finds herself caught in the middle of this maelstrom of events. I was eventually drawn completely into this novel, as I found Sydelle to be an enchanting character. The romance did not hurt either.
The descriptions within Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken were great and really appealed to my fantasy sensibilities. For example, I could picture these cloaks Bracken described which this other character, Wayland North, used to conduct his magic. Speaking of magic, I loved the wizard system within this book. I am a sucker for wizards. Basically each wizard has a number rank, the lower a wizard’s number, the more powerful the wizard. For magic they use talismans. There were duels peppered in here and there. There’s an outcast group of wizards called hedge witches. I ate it up. Brightly Woven varies from funny to serious seamlessly.
Wayland North, as I have mentioned above, is the male lead of Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. He’s sort of a DB* at first. However, I think we can all guess at why he is in there. For sexytime, of course. Anyways, there is a very slow chemistry between North and Sydelle, and I love that. I love that what is between them is gradual, it’s not some weird inexplicable overnight attraction. There is tension, and you’ll sit there and think “for the love of God just kiss already.”
I think there’s enough material with Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, and enough left open — although it has a clear resolution — there’s room for a sequel or companion novel. Bracken created interesting magic, and I wouldn’t mind knowing more about weaving magic!
I also want to mention on the copy that I read, the back cover mentioned Robin McKinley — I am firmly in the McKinley fan club. I want to say right now, I think this book will definitely appeal to Robin McKinley fans, especially because Sydelle kicks ass and is intelligent, much like McKinley’s heroines. Also, similarly, the focus of Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken wasn’t the romance, but the conflict.
I am more than excited to see what Bracken will come out with next.