Title: Brightly Woven
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
ISBN-10: 160684038X (Egmont USA)
ISBN-13: 978-1606840382 (Egmont USA)
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.
Quick & Dirty: A beautifully woven story with dangerous magic and deadly wizard duels.
Opening Sentence: The day the rains finally came was like any other, with blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness.
Excerpt: Chapter 1
Brightly Woven is an entertaining and enchanting read. There’s no denying that Ms. Bracken is a talented writer. Her prose is simply beautiful. Ms. Bracken was successful in crafting a cast of deeply layered characters. These believable and dynamic characters breathe life into this wonderfully magical story. Ms. Bracken cleverly infuses a bit of humor, action, suspense, intrigue, and betrayal that will have readers racing to the finish.
Sydelle Mirabel is a gifted weaver living a simple life in her small village, Cliffton. Ravaged by a long drought, Cliffton struggles to survive. But there is far more at stake than Sydelle’s village. Political intrigue in the capital threatens to plunge the Kingdom of Palmarta into war with its neighbors. Events unfold that forces Sydelle to leave Cliffton accompanied by the rogue wizard, Wayland North. She’s furious with him for taking her away from her home and soon comes to realize that he isn’t what he seems.
I really enjoyed the understated love story that unfolds between Sydelle and North. Their relationship is given time to develop and as a result is very realistic. Sydelle grows throughout the book and will surprise readers with her bravery and willingness to sacrifice herself. She has a fiery spirit and speaks her mind. The somewhat irresponsible and arrogant North, is far more complex than he first appears. Despite her inexperience, Sydelle knows how to handle him. I loved North. I thought that his personal struggles were well developed and his history very complicated. He certainly lived up to my expectations with one exception – BATHING. I mean it’s imperative that a character actually takes a bath. That being said, with all of his quirkiness, secrecy, and the mystery of his past, he’s an honorable man. On a side note, I have a few minor issues with the villain in this story. He never really felt particularly evil. Selfish, unstable and annoying – absolutely. While the villain had a few tricks up his sleeve, I always had the feeling that he was more about playing games of cat and mouse than actually unleashing a torrent of hell. Sydelle’s and North’s antagonist is a little unworthy of such great heroes.
Overall, Brightly Woven is a great read, especially as it comes to us from a debut author. Ms. Bracken captures your attention from the start with this dangerous and adventurous story. The reader is introduced into a world that holds deadly magic, treachery, and wizard duels. Well developed characters, fantastic world building, action-packed fight scenes and political intrigue make for an exciting debut. You won’t want to miss this wonderfully written book.
There was something graceful about the way North pulled his cloaks up in wide, sweeping circles. If the pace of the fight picked up, he would have only a moment to grasp the colored fabric in this hand, or to wrench it up to shield his face. At first glance, it all seemed effortless.
FTC Advisory: Egmont USA provided me with an ARC of Brightly Woven. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
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