Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken (March 23rd 2010—Egmont)
Grade: 4.8 stars out of 5
Summary: “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.”
Review: If you know me then you would know that anything pass 3.5 stars is good. Anything pass 4 stars is wow. Brightly Woven was just shy off of 5 stars but too good to just be 4.5. This was a fantasy, action, adventure, romance novel that blew me away leaving me demanding/yelling for more towards an inanimate object.
Several weeks ago I read Once a Witch Carolynn MacCollugh and months ago I read Fire by Kristin Cashore. Brightly Woven reminded me of these two books.
North Wayland reminded me so much of Howl from Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl's Moving Castle. He has this pretend narcissus, pompous upturned-nose attitude but always a complete tease. You just can’t help love North and forgive him. He was an utter joy to read at times and other times I just wanted to hit him where it hurt—that’s how much I got into these characters. And then there’s the chemistry between North and Sydelle, can you not see me swooning!?
*deep breath* I am prepared to go all fangirlish on you but I’m refraining (even though it’s quite hard). Action—check; romance—check; pacing—check, characters—check; plotline—check; ending—ehhh; Overall—is ubercheck an option because it should be!
I think one of the things that I love the most about this book was how it actually went “there”. Bracken’s characters were not these indestructible beings that no man can harm! Ha! It was refreshing and only added to the character depth.
My only regret is that I wanted another epilogue or a sequel prehaps. There were elements in the book that I felt needed more clarification on, more explanation, or just a better resolution. I also had some trouble following the narration early in the beginning but managed to find a good pace later on.
I kind of miss the ARC version of the cover. It just started to grow on me--the vibrancy--where the final cover seems dull in comparison (sorry for the blinding flash.)