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Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
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Brightly Woven

by Alexandra Bracken

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3465931,609 (3.95)12
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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Sydelle is just the daughter of the village chief. But when Wayland North appears in their village of yellow sand and drought with the news of an upcoming war, everything changes. She's forced into a journey with wizards and strange magic. And somewhere along the lines, she will be forced to confront secrets about herself.

This is a solid book with a great writing. While there are a couple of issues with the initial premise, I highly enjoyed the cast and the progression of the story.

My only real problem with the book is the initial premise is weak. Why would a wizard let his source of magic be potentially damaged by Sydelle? A little unrealistic and strange. It would have made more sense if she performed the cloak fix surreptitiously. Similarly, it was a little strange that her parents gave her away so easily. And then the abrupt choice to stay or leave with North did not seem likely at all either. And then even though she chose to go with North, she thinks she has the right to be angry at him for taking her away? What?
I mean, I get it. These things only happened to force the initial plot, it's the initial premise and I understand the need for each of those plot points. But ugh, they are so not realistically written.

But then we get out of that initial premise quagmire and the book starts hitting its stride. Sydelle isn't a typical idiot YA fantasy girl. She's fairly resourceful and makes the right decisions most of the time.

The characters in the book are fairly easy to love. But upon deeper consideration, Sydelle doesn't really have any flaws. And North is not shown in enough detail for us to understand how he truly changes "because" of Sydelle. Problems like being an alcoholic and emotional issues are not really resolved. And then all of the villain characters are not fleshed out at all. AT ALL. Dorwan has a paltry backstory about the hedge witches, but it hardly gives him depth. Same with Oliver and Hecate.

These side characters seem to be more like props to build up North's character and ethos rather than true people in their own right. For example, North arguing for the little people versus Hecate stating that people are just meat shields.... eh, what stupid authority would say that aloud? She might think it, but saying it out loud to her son is just dumb. It's more like a heavy-handed way for North to showoff his soft and marshmallow inner self despite his gruff personality~ ha. But I guess it's okay. I didn't mind it too much. I just had to note it, y'know?

I do have major appreciation for Bracken that she didn't make a stupid love-triangle, but gracefully let "second boy" Henry down with referring to the past. It's good to see a girl that isn't completely idiotic with her emotions.

I wish I could have learned more about the magic. The tiny glimpses of the wizard rankings was intriguing, and the jinx aspect was thrown in haphazardly at the last minute and I hardly got a glance. The hints about the threads binding Sydelle was interesting and the way they use the magic was fascinating, but we never got more than a few lines about it.

All in all, I think this book could have used a couple hundred more pages to develop some skimpy points like the villains and side characters, the description of magic, and the war. Although it was 350 pages, it was mostly fluff. Simple dialogue with very little description. So it needed either more pages or denser writing to give it more depth. But whatever, it's a light YA book and I had fun reading it. So there.

Solid 3.5 stars. But rounded down because there are a couple of flaws and nothing really mindblowing to raise it to 4 stars.
Definitely recommended for those who like YA fantasy with a heroine lead.

-note-
Glad to finally get this off my to-read list. It's been sitting at the number one spot for too long because I couldn't find this darn book anywhere. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Sydelle is just the daughter of the village chief. But when Wayland North appears in their village of yellow sand and drought with the news of an upcoming war, everything changes. She's forced into a journey with wizards and strange magic. And somewhere along the lines, she will be forced to confront secrets about herself.

This is a solid book with a great writing. While there are a couple of issues with the initial premise, I highly enjoyed the cast and the progression of the story.

My only real problem with the book is the initial premise is weak. Why would a wizard let his source of magic be potentially damaged by Sydelle? A little unrealistic and strange. It would have made more sense if she performed the cloak fix surreptitiously. Similarly, it was a little strange that her parents gave her away so easily. And then the abrupt choice to stay or leave with North did not seem likely at all either. And then even though she chose to go with North, she thinks she has the right to be angry at him for taking her away? What?
I mean, I get it. These things only happened to force the initial plot, it's the initial premise and I understand the need for each of those plot points. But ugh, they are so not realistically written.

But then we get out of that initial premise quagmire and the book starts hitting its stride. Sydelle isn't a typical idiot YA fantasy girl. She's fairly resourceful and makes the right decisions most of the time.

The characters in the book are fairly easy to love. But upon deeper consideration, Sydelle doesn't really have any flaws. And North is not shown in enough detail for us to understand how he truly changes "because" of Sydelle. Problems like being an alcoholic and emotional issues are not really resolved. And then all of the villain characters are not fleshed out at all. AT ALL. Dorwan has a paltry backstory about the hedge witches, but it hardly gives him depth. Same with Oliver and Hecate.

These side characters seem to be more like props to build up North's character and ethos rather than true people in their own right. For example, North arguing for the little people versus Hecate stating that people are just meat shields.... eh, what stupid authority would say that aloud? She might think it, but saying it out loud to her son is just dumb. It's more like a heavy-handed way for North to showoff his soft and marshmallow inner self despite his gruff personality~ ha. But I guess it's okay. I didn't mind it too much. I just had to note it, y'know?

I do have major appreciation for Bracken that she didn't make a stupid love-triangle, but gracefully let "second boy" Henry down with referring to the past. It's good to see a girl that isn't completely idiotic with her emotions.

I wish I could have learned more about the magic. The tiny glimpses of the wizard rankings was intriguing, and the jinx aspect was thrown in haphazardly at the last minute and I hardly got a glance. The hints about the threads binding Sydelle was interesting and the way they use the magic was fascinating, but we never got more than a few lines about it.

All in all, I think this book could have used a couple hundred more pages to develop some skimpy points like the villains and side characters, the description of magic, and the war. Although it was 350 pages, it was mostly fluff. Simple dialogue with very little description. So it needed either more pages or denser writing to give it more depth. But whatever, it's a light YA book and I had fun reading it. So there.

Solid 3.5 stars. But rounded down because there are a couple of flaws and nothing really mindblowing to raise it to 4 stars.
Definitely recommended for those who like YA fantasy with a heroine lead.

-note-
Glad to finally get this off my to-read list. It's been sitting at the number one spot for too long because I couldn't find this darn book anywhere. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Solid, inventive fantasy. Reminded me of Tamora Pierce. ( )
  ewillse | Mar 23, 2014 |
Solid, inventive fantasy. Reminded me of Tamora Pierce. ( )
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
Solid, inventive fantasy. Reminded me of Tamora Pierce. ( )
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
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FOR MY PARENTS,
DAN AND CYNDI,
WHO HAVE THEIR OWN
GREAT LOVE STORY
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The day the rains finally came was like any other, with blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.

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Sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, an unusually talented weaver, must master her mysterious power and join a young wizard in stopping an imminent war in land.

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