Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Brightly Woven, a stand alone novel by Alexandra Bracken, follows Sydelle Mirabil as she embarks on a quest to stop a war from igniting across the country. Sydelle is from a small, poor village struck by a severe drought for years on end. When Wayland North shows up to town and brings the rains with him, her family promises him anything he could ask for. What Wayland needs is an assistant, someone to help him get to the capital and warn the Queen and the Sorceress Imperial that they are being duped into going to war with the wrong country.

Sydelle is less than pleased at being suddenly uprooted from her home, and North's less than forthcoming nature regarding why he chose her and exactly what all he knows about her only makes her reticence worse. Still, Wayland's magic intrigues Sydelle and she finds herself drawn into the intrigue and danger that surrounds him.

They meet up with his friend Owain, an ordinary man who longs to defend his country but has been denied countless times because he is not a wizard. Once it becomes clear that Dorwan, the man responsible for framing Auster for the King's murder, is not going to let them get to the capitol in time, North sends Owain to the Sorceress Imperial with his message. He and Sydelle travel north to the town where North apprenticed, in order to save the children there from his one-time friend.

However, Dorwan isn't their only problem. North has been keeping secrets about exactly what drew Sydelle to him, and secrets about a curse that was laid on his family and how he could use Sydelle to free him of the curse. Not to mention, the same thing that drew him to Syd is also drawing in other wizards who want to claim her for their own.

Brightly Woven is a debut novel, and as such, it is not especially well-written. The characters are kind of sloppy and the writing is awkward in places. Characters are introduced that hold no place in the story, and some situations are never resolved. Most of the situations the characters find themselves in are very cheesy and poorly timed. All of that being said, this book is still extremely enjoyable. North is a smelly, lovable character and Sydelle has moments of being an extremely strong female character. Pieces of brilliance shine through in this story, and it's wholly worth slogging through the less than stellar parts for.

Her sophomore work, The Darkest Minds trilogy, is set to wrap up in October of this year. A second, untitled series about time travel beginning with Passenger is set to release some time in 2015.

3 Stars. 
Similar Works: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, Star Crossed by Elizabeth Bunce, The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry.

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