After hearing so much good stuff about this book, I couldn’t wait to read it... finally. I love my library!
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
My Expectations: really high! I’ve wanted to read this for a long time since so many people loved it :)
Delivery: YAYY!!! It was awesome!
Put-down-ability: low! 3/10
Brightly Woven is a YA fantasy that incorporates a vivid setting with shiny characters and romance. The world created by Bracken is lovely; reading about the sweeping lands was simply delightful. It’s not overly descriptive but it gives the reader a strong sense of, well, fantasy. The slightly unique elements in the world differentiates it from others in the genre, whether it is the touches of magic, the political game, or the various nations.
The plot was strong, but not to a point where I was falling over myself trying to get to the end. It's kind of unmemorable to be honest, but I thought that the book focused on character and relationship development a fair bit as opposed to the traditional ‘kill the bad guy’ complex, which is both refreshing and puzzling. I found myself wishing there was more desperation behind the ‘kill the bad guy, save the world’ story because honestly, I was more entranced with the characters.
Which brings me to these little buggers… Wayland North, you’re mine* ;) The directionally challenged wizard with colourful capes, too many secrets, and a ton of heart—he totally grew on me. Initially, I was turned off by his ‘I’m a mysterious, secretive jerk’ thing, but as his relationship with Sydelle developed and she found her opinions evolving, so did I. By the end of the book, I was in love!
I was hot-and-cold about Sydelle, though definitely more hot than cold! She’s a likeable protagonist who was clever and resourceful, but sometimes I wish she *gasp* cared less about North. Okay, hear me out! I loved the beginning with all the hateful tension between them, but it just felt as if her feelings changed too quickly. I wouldn't have minded more URST** but ah well, while I didn't really love their relationship, it was adorable. A pathetic love triangle could have been avoided too, but thank goodness it only look up like… 2 pages. As a character, I thought it was really interesting to read about Syd coming in to her powers and her general growth into a kick-ass heroine. Plus she's witty! The pages really sparkled with the supporting characters-- something that I always appreciate in books. I thought the antagonists were good in the sense that I could understand their motivations (ie: not bad for the sake of being bad) but not stand-outs.
Brightly Woven is an enjoyable, imaginative and alluring fantasy novel that will greatly appeal to readers of all genres.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: All YA readers of all ages, don’t fear the fantasy—it’s done very well.
8.6/10 – because I really liked this! The characters were mostly delightful and the setting was lovely. I thought the world created, the politics, and the plot were all well thought-out and developed, and I loved the inclusion of magic. I wished the pacing could have been a bit more... urgent, and I could've connecte more with the characters but both leading characters were multi-dimensional and definitely fun to read about, and at the end of the day, I would whole-heartedly recommend this to any YA reader.
**URST = unresolved sexual tension ;)
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