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Monday, December 7, 2009

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

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.

I’d been warned prior to reading Brightly Woven that it was a sublimely wonderful read that would have me up frantically flipping pages late into the night. And let me tell you, it lived up to all of the hype.

The story moves quickly through the land of Palmarta, sweeping the reader up into a whirlwind of adventures as magical as the North himself. Even with everything going on, however, the progression of the plot still feels natural. Bracken has expertly paced the novel – moving the story along swiftly without so much as a snag and making the progression appear effortless. It is this combination that keeps the pages turning at breakneck speed.

Furthermore, Sydelle is beautifully portrayed – the perfect mix of stubbornness and pure, iron-clad will. Her inner monologues and fiery personality are enough to keep the story interesting even at the most lagging moment – which are few and far between. What is truly wonderful about this book, however, is the relationship that develops between her and North. Its development is quick, yet subtle. Hints of it are always pulling just at the edge of the story, but without ever fully consuming it. This constant tension of opposites only serves to make the relationship all the more enrapturing. You can practically feel the connection bubbling just under the surface of the main plot.

Reminiscent of Shannon Hale and Kristin Cashore, fans of adventures in far away kingdoms will devour this stunning debut.

5 Stars!

Release: March 23, 2010

Received from: 1 ARC Tours


  1. Ooooh. Amazing review! I'm so happy I'll be getting to read this then! x)

  2. It is SOOOO good! I told you it's a late into the nighter! I can't wait 'til March to buy a shiny hardcover cover =)

  3. Kristin Cashore and Shannon Hale? Really? lol that's a combination I'd love to see. >D


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