Blurb (from Goodreads):
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.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Faber and Faber publishers and Netgalley.)
16-year-old Adelice has a gift. She is able to weave the very fabric of her world, a rare and extremely sort after talent. Her parents have taught her to hide her ability for many years, and if she manages to fail her testing (to see if she has weaving ability), she'll be able to live a normal life.
Unfortunately she slips up - massively, and now the guild are coming for her. To take her away from her family and make her a spinster (weaver) - forever at the beck and call of the guild and what they want her to do.
Adelice isn't going quietly though. The guild have taken too much from her, and when she realises exactly what being a spinster, and then a crewel (a top ranked spinster) entails, she knows that she must escape, and she must find a way to save both herself and those she cares about before they remap her (a sort of brain-washing), and force her to do their bidding forever.
When I first saw the cover of this book I wanted to read it, then I read the blurb and wanted to read it even more! Maybe this was why I wasn't 100% bowled over by this book, maybe my expectations were just too high based on that amazing cover.
Firstly, the characters: I liked Adelice, although at times she just needed to take action instead of hiding, which seemed to be how she dealt with things. She knows that the guild will be coming for her - she lies and tells her parents that she failed the test, and she then repeats this mistake again and again. I totally understand why she made the decisions she did, but at times I felt that just a little more forward thinking and action could have made things very different for Adelice, which was a shame.
Maela (one of the older spinsters) was just a total and utter cow, and I really couldn’t stand her. Pryana (one of the newly recruited like Adelice) total cow too, blaming Adelice for things that weren’t her fault.
I liked the two (yes two) love interests in the book (Eric and Jost), although I really had my doubts as to whom Adelice should really be trusting, which didn't occur to her until someone literally spelled it out for her. She was also pretty trusting of several other characters, who I also had questions about, although she seemed to just be a pretty trusting person overall.
The storyline: I liked the storyline, but at times found the whole idea of the 'weaving' very confusing. As much as I could get my head around weaving parts of one thing or place into another to create warps or move things, when there were discussions of the 'raw materials' that made up the world that they lived in, I just got totally lost. Really could not fathom this out at all, and the issue of time travel and freezing moments in time? Total brain-freeze for me I'm afraid!
I did find it very difficult to keep focus on this book and I can't find an obvious reason why. It took me about 3 days to get through it (I was expecting to finish in a day), which surprised me, and I was really easily distracted whilst reading it, which is unlike me when I'm engrossed in a book, and the only reason I can think of for this is that I simply wasn't gripped by the storyline the way I wanted to be.
I think part of the problem was just that I had too many questions - what exactly did the guild want from Adelice? What did they intend her to do if they made her into a puppet? How exactly are raw materials 'harvested'? How the hell do you harvest 'time' or 'water' etc.?? Very confused. I also thought the whole 'Purity standards' thing wasn't clearly explained - I think that the idea was that if a girl lost her virginity, she would lose her ability to weave, and that this was a lie so that a women wasn't distracted from her work by wifely duties. This really wasn’t explained properly though so who knows. How many more women would need to be born than men though if everyone else has to marry by the time they're 18, and they take a huge number of girls each year who have some ability to weave?
As I said, maybe I built this book up too much before I read it, but although it was good, and I love a good dystopian, it just didn't capture my attention and keep me reading the way I wanted it to. I also found the ending a little strange, and even at the grand finale, I didn’t really get excited which was a shame.
Overall; an interesting idea, but just too many unanswered questions, and not enough excitement.
7 out of 10.