Saturday, March 6, 2010

Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Tags: middle grade, YA, fantasy, war, magic, wizards, sorcerers

Rating: 3 out of 5


16-year-old Sydelle Mirabel’s secluded desert village in the mountains has not seen a drop of rain for ten years, until the day a young wizard enters the village. As his reward for bringing back the rain, the wizard, Wayland North, chooses Sydelle to accompany him on an important mission back to their country’s capital, a mission that can determine whether or not their country will go to war.

At first, Sydelle has no idea why North chose her out of everything he could have, and his outlandish behavior constantly infuriates her. However, as they grow closer, Sydelle discovers more about North, magic, their country, and herself than she could ever imagine, and she must come to terms with the fact that she may hold the fate of their country in her own hands.


BRIGHTLY WOVEN is a rollicking good read that will appeal most to fans of Stephenie Meyer and Bree Despain’s straightforward writing styles. It provides hearty doses of adventure, magic, romance, and danger, and yet never fully comes together as it could’ve at a higher level.

Sydelle and North are an amusing pair to follow if you’re not too bothered by the generic flatness of their interactions. I like that Sydelle is not a weak girl: she’s more than willing to give the sometimes-irresponsible North what he deserves. Sydelle is hands down the strongest part of this novel, and I loved reading about her as she discovered what she is capable of.

However, I felt as if the other parts of the story did not connect as well as I would’ve liked it to. BRIGHTLY WOVEN is a mixture of so many fantastic things, but it was inadequately put together. I never felt any true fear of or anger towards the villainous wizard, Rueun Dorwan, nor was I able to fully invest myself in the outcome of the pre-war tensions. Sydelle and North were cute, but they didn’t make an indelible impression on me, and the supporting characters were sadly underdeveloped and one-dimensional.

As far as young adult fantasy goes, BRIGHTLY WOVEN shows itself to be the work of a young author. It’s no masterpiece, but all of its desirable elements will serve to recommend it to most readers, and most will be able to enjoy at least something about this book.

Similar Authors
Stephenie Meyer
Bree Despain
Gail Carson Levine

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - I like the whimsical, fantastical feel of the cover, but beyond that it has very little to do with the story for me.

EgmontUSA / March 23, 2010 / Hardcover / 368pp. / $16.99

ARC received through One ARC Tours.


  1. Sounds like this is one of those "just missed it" books. I never know exactly what to do with those types, read or not read.

  2. This is why I love coming here, because I always know your going to give a thoughtful, insightful review. I've heard a lot of things about this book from various reviewers, each one has raved that this book is most likely to be one of the best released of the year. So it's nice to see a differing opinion.

    I think it's becoming reccuring recently that a lot of books being released just aren't hitting the spot, or if they do, theres something lacking in another aspect. I wonder why this is. You have me intrigued now.

  3. Thanks for the honest review. I have mixed feelings now. I was actually just thinking earlier today that I really want to read this one, but now I'm not so sure. In some ways I prefer to read a book that annoys me than a book that doesn't really leave an impression.

  4. I love your honesty!

    I enjoyed BRIGHTLY WOVEN, especially after not reading fantasy for a while. I really liked the system of magic--but not so much the Wizard & Sydelle's interactions.

    Great review :)

  5. Oh, darn it. I thought the relationship between those two characters sounded promising.

    Now I don't know whether to read it or not. You say the writing is similar to that of Stephenie Meyer (which I hate) and Gail Carson Levine (which I like).


  6. Thanks for the honest review! Aww, it sounds like it was one of those thisclose type of books... Starting this soon actually, so I guess I'll see what I think soon enough too. Awesome review!


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