Brightly Woven is written by Alexandra Bracken. It was published in 2010 by Egmont. It is Bracken’s first novel. Bracken’s website can be found here.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
“The day the rains came was like any other, blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness….
Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village. North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country—and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home. But North has secrets—about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey. What does he want from her? And why does North’s worn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself?”
The man in the pale overcoat gave me a smile as he pulled away and lifted his hand to his lips. With a single breath, he blew a cloud of blue powder from his palm, which expanded and grew around me like a thundercloud. Is aw the man’s face flash before me, and for the first time I saw the horrible scars that he had kept hidden beneath his hat. The right side of his face looked as though some wild animal had mauled it—his eyelid had melted down his cheek, and the deep, red lines continued across his face to where his ear should have been.
His free hand took mine again, and I couldn’t pull away.
“By the heavenly bosom of Vesta! It’s a raging downpour out there!”
I leaned around the edge of the bookshelf, unsure of whether I wanted to be seen.
“It certainly is!” Mr. Colar said cheerfully. “Please come in. I already have one refugee!”
“Oh?” Owain said. “Any pretty girls with hair as red as roses?”
“About this tall?” Mr. Colar asked.
“Wearing a blue dress?” Owain replied. “Blue eyes?”
“Lots of freckles?”
“Just a bit on the nose and cheeks—smallish nose, a little upturned?”
“For goodness’ sake!” I stepped out from behind the bookshelf. “I’m right here! You could have just called for me.”
Recommended Age Range: 14+
What I Liked:
This book is really, really sweet and cute. It has some pretty decent worldbuilding and the plot is pretty good, too, although it’s more romantically based than anything, hence the sweetness and cuteness of it. So, don’t read this book if you want some great fantasy worlds/magic/etc. Read this book if you like really sweet, cute romances. You’ll squeal all the time, I promise.
So, it’s obviously Bracken’s first novel; it’s a little underdeveloped and rough around the edges. But it’s a lot of fun to read, and I rank it among my favorite fantasies. But the thing I really liked about this novel is when I compare it to The Darkest Minds, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. You can really see the development of Bracken as a writer between this book and The Darkest Minds. In this book, she’s a bit more indulgent, a bit more focused on romance rather than plot, but now, she’s really matured and developed and it’s obvious when you read The Darkest Minds. If you want plot, character development, and all that, read The Darkest Minds. But if you want fun, some indulgence, and a really cute romance, read Brightly Woven.
Also, there’s a lot of potential here for a sequel, because North still has a certain issue that’s never dealt with…
What I Didn’t Like:
Like I said above, it’s more romance-focused, so the plot suffers a little, and there’s not much character development.
Brightly Woven is more for the cute romance-lover than the fantasy-lover, but fantasy lovers would probably appreciate the world and the magic that Bracken created while still enjoying the romance. It’s a little underdeveloped and indulgent, but it’s a fun read that I would chose to reread over some of the other, better developed fantasies out there.
Coming Up Next: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima