Publisher: Faber and Faber/Macmillan
Publishing Date: October 16 2012
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
Page count: 368 (paperback)
When Adelice slips up at her compulsory testing and accidentally weaves time and space in front of the selectors, she is pulled from her home in the middle of the night to become a Spinster – a woman kept in a Coventry to weave the very fabric of space and time itself – trained to manipulate the weather, crops, buildings and people themselves. However, Adelice doesn’t come easily, and for that she is continually punished despite her inherently valuable ability to weave without a loom.
I didn’t enjoy Crewel very much. I desperately wanted to because the idea of Spinsters being the most valuable people in this misogynistic, male-centric world seemed very interesting. Crewel’s strength lies in its absolute originality – however, I had guessed the plot twist pretty early on. I found the writing very jagged and jerky, and could not follow character motivations or logic in either their conversations or their actions. I was consistently confused about the whole concept of weaving both on the loom and off it. The love triangle was also a giant waste of space. I would have preferred it if Adelice had feelings for only one of the boys, not both of them, and I didn’t like the plot twist involving them, either.
Adelice for the most part was a likeable enough heroine. She suffered from ‘speshul snowflake’ syndrome, because of course she is the most beautiful and desirable and valued person ever to enter Spinsterhood. I didn’t like how she kept pushing her luck and being punished and quite thoroughly helpless – I knew from the start – as did every character in the book bar herself – that she was going to end up the most powerful character, and she carried a lot of that with her, but her helplessness really annoyed me. She could have easily changed a lot of things, but let herself get pushed around too much for my liking. I understand that the world of Crewel treats women subserviently (luckily without ever preaching it) but I still found it frustrating and annoying. Give a character all the power in the world and she still metaphorically faints at the slightest pressure? It wasn’t what I enjoy reading. I wanted to read about Adelice’s strengths, not her constant need to be looked after.
In summary, I didn’t exactly hate Crewel, but I was thoroughly disappointed. I wanted more from Adelice, more from the plot. Although I guessed the plot twist and the ending, and it was a somewhat satisfying conclusion, I do not think I will be reading the other books in the series.
An advance reader copy was kindly provided by the publisher.