Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

This review was originally posted at Alice's blog The Reader Room as part of her feature Read, Review, Recommend (click on the feature title to learn more about the feature and how you can participate).

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: March 23, 2010
Publisher: EgmontUSA

Pages: 368
Received:  Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads Page


From Goodreads: 

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 don’t know about you, but whenever I pick up a book a little part of me is always hoping it will be *THE* book. The book that I fall madly in love with. Where the characters grab hold of my heart. The book that doesn’t just become another reading experience, it becomes a part of me. Do you know what I mean? Anyone?

When I first read the description for Alexandra Bracken’s 2010 debut Brightly Woven that little part of me stirred and thought, “Hey, this book could be *THE* book!”

Dare I dream? I tried to convince myself not to get my hopes up. How many times have I read a description, gotten my hopes up, and then been utterly disappointed? Really, finding *THE* book is a very rare occurrence, and I am already lucky enough to have found a few. I should just count my blessings and forget about ever finding another.

But I never listen to myself. Especially when it comes to books. So when that fateful day finally came and Brightly Woven made its way to my library system I ran right out and grabbed it before anyone else could. I snatched it off the shelf and scurried up to the checkout counter with it pressed against my chest, daring anyone to try and take it from me. This book was mine and I was determined to love it.

And, oh my gosh, love cannot describe what I feel for this book. Adore? Cherish? Glorify? Treasure? No, none of these words are good enough. All of my expectations for this book not only came true, but they were blown out of the water! I actually found *THE* book!!

I am a character girl through and through. If the characters in a book are good, I almost don’t care about the plot. That happened here. Sydelle Mirabil and Wayland North are totally awesome. Totally.  How much do I sound like a 12-year-old fangirl? Well, that’s what the sheer awesomeness of these characters reduces me to. A flailing, beaming, OMGAWESOME!!!-ing fangirl.

Sorry, I know that’s a terrible way to write a review. I should tell you about Sydelle’s courage, determination, and spirit. She’s a smart cookie and she isn’t about to just fall swooning (like I totally did) over North just because he’s a handsome wizard with a charming and protective personality. He drinks, he’s dirty, and he’s keeping secrets Sydelle is determined to learn the answers to. As much as I’m reduced to a pile of blubbering *squeee* over North, I have to admire Sydelle’s intelligence and caution. She’s a heck of a lot more like Hermione than Bella.

Ah, but North. He’s as charming as he is irreverent. He’s like a naughty puppy who just peed on your carpet. Do you say “Bad Dog!” and punish him by, (well, I don’t actually know a puppy punishment because I’ve never managed to give one)? No, you do not. He looks at you with those adorable puppy dog eyes and you melt into a gooey puddle and give him a cookie. That pretty much sums up what I’ve got going with Wayland North.

Sydelle and North could spend the entirety of Brightly Woven sitting around reading the phone book and picking their noses and I’d love it. But of course they don’t do that. They’re right smack in the middle of an adventure that is an edge-of-your-seat romp complete with deadly wizard duels, court drama, dangerous traveling, a war brewing between kingdoms, and inexplicably bad weather. How exciting does that sound? And it is, trust me. I was flying through these pages. There really was never a dull moment.

There isn’t a sequel to this book. It doesn’t need one. The story is a standalone. But I want a sequel. I want it! I want it! I want it! Yes, now I sound like a 2-year-old throwing a tantrum. But I want more Sydelle and North and I don’t care how I sound. I’ve even written the publisher to ask for (beg for) more. I obsessively follow Alexandra Bracken’s blog looking for news (but I’m not scary about it or anything, really). To console myself, I’ll be reading this book again, and again, and again. It’s a good thing my copy is a sturdy hardcover.

So, how about it? You want in on this? I promise to play nice and share. Oh, go on, go get yourself a copy and join me in cheering Sydelle and swooning over North. Because, seriously, this really is *THE* book. 

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Looking for something similar? You might like:


  1. I enjoyed Brightly Woven so I am curious as what you thought. Will go check it out :)

  2. link to the post here :) And thank you for participating and saying such lovely things about me. Right back atcha :)

  3. I loved that book i absolutly feel in love with the characters

  4. Haven't read Brightly Woven yet! I have heard great things about it though. :)

  5. Oh MY GOODNESS! I honestly have never really given this book a second glance but after reading this fangirl review am DYING to try this one out. I seriously giggled in excitement! That is not a good sign...this usually leads to me waiting very impatiently for the library copy to show up and when it is taking too long (for no good reason) I usually end up buying an electronic copy....*sigh* what those of us obsessed will do for a good read. (seriously though, thanks for the awesome recommendation!)

  6. Haha, aw, I really adored this book, but I'd feel so awful if you bought it and then didn't like it. Be patient for inter-library loan! :) I know, that's like the hardest thing to do ever. :P

  7. This looks so interesting! Like you, I always look for the book, so this really intrigues me. I'd never heard of this before, so thank you for reviewing it :)

  8. I disagree! Don't wait for inter-library loan. I think this one is with buying. I loved the book--but I do think it needs a Sequel--and the cover makes it over the top wonderful.
    Plus, it's just inspired my next Saturday Six.
    *waves to Small*

    1. Totally worth buying. This is one of those books where, if I saw a used copy somewhere, I'd buy it. Even though I already own it. It absolutely MUST have a sequel! I need more Wayland North in my life. :)

      Can't wait to see your Saturday Six!

  9. Hey Small is this one a "Special Shelf" book? If so, why doesn't it have the nice pink icon at the bottom of the post? I think this one sounds really good. I may have to see if my library has it or not.

    1. This one is most definitely a Special Shelf book! I adore it! It didn't have the SS icon because I posted the review before I made the icon, but all is fixed now :) You are always such an asset to my blog. What would I do without you? *hugs*


It's all about friendly conversation here at Small Review :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check back again because I do make every effort to reply to your comments here.

Because I am absolutely terrible about following through with blog awards, I can't in good conscience accept any more. Thank you very much for thinking of me though!

Spam WILL be deleted. Attacks on myself or other comments WILL be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...