While dystopia saturates the YA market at the moment and quite a few reviewers are having dystopia overload I have to say that the teens in the library have only just 'got' dystopia thanks to the Hunger Games movie. So while reviewers are buried under dystopia teens are eagerly awaiting the next book that captures their imagination. I feel as if I am being overly critical when it come s to reviewing dystopia at the moment because there are just so many available, however, I have to say that Crewel is a really good story apart from the dystopian element or should I say in spite of it.
Different to how I imagined but none the less. A very compelling storyline. Some very weighty topics dealt with within the plot including faith & religion. Mind control, politics & corruption, as well as same sex relationships.
Written in first person narrative from the perspective of Adelice, she is one very special 16 year old. Trained from an early age to hide her 'gifts' by her parents. Although the reason behind this training and her parents involvement within the plot as a whole is never fully divulged. I did feel as if there was an entire back-story that needed to be told, I am hoping this thread will be picked up later in the trilogy. Before I continue onto the main part of my review I would just like to make you aware that I absolutely hated the name Adelice, sorry but its too closely linked to the word head-lice and every time I read her name I want to scratch my head.
Back to the point, I really liked Adelice's development throughout the book, her inner strength and loyalty really shoe through the narrative enhanced by the trials she has to face. Although I did find aspects of the plot obvious this may be due to reading so many dystopia recently and this shouldn't be taken as a reflection on the story itself.
The world building is excellent. The imagery instantly brings to mind the Fates from Greek Mythology or the Witches from Macbeth; the ability to see ans weave the threads of life around them. the lovely use of metaphor made the descriptions easy to visualize and sensory encompassing.
The society itself, built around and run by mean controlled by a clandestine governing body, there is always the drive for control and power behind the scenes. Although women play an important part within the society (the spinsters anyway) the other women are kept firmly in their places. Forced into stereo-typically female jobs, conforming to male standards of dress, the ideas subtle yet degrading. The pressure to maintain their appearance to the point of having to wear make-up perfectly all the time in public. Creating further pressure on women in the society as well as setting unrealistic goals alongside undermining their self esteem. The divide between the sexes in all areas is powerfully portrayed within the narrative. Segregation is extreme, the city is even separated into families with daughters and those with sons. Purity laws are enforced, marriages arranged even births are allocated and gender selected. All symptoms of an unjust patriarchal civilization.
All of the characters are very well developed, their background stories enhance the main plot, however, I will say that the characters all revolve around Adelice rather than being separate plot threads. Plot hints are placed at random within the narrative. As I stated earlier, I was able to work out the plot twists at an early stage so the plot hints were superfluous in my case but again this is because of the extensive number of dystopia I have read and not a reflection of the book; and it certainly didn't affect my enjoyment of this story in the slightest.
Crewel stands out in a sea of dystopia due to it's beautiful writing, vivid imagery, sensory encompassing descriptions and thought provoking plot.