17 April 2011

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken


The day the rains came was like any other, blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness…

Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village.  North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country—and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home.  But North has secrets—about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey.  What does he want from her?  And why does North’s sworn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself?

Through a journey that spans a country, magic and hard-won romance are woven together with precision and brilliant design by a first-time novelist.
Ever had that feeling that a book gives you—where you know for sure that you’re totally in love with it, yet your head is so jumbled with its brilliance that even the day after you’ve finished reading it, you still can’t pinpoint the exact thing that made you love it? I feel like I can’t do it justice, even if I tried.

First, the main character. Completely awesome gal. Seriously. Worthy of a country girl. She must be from Kentucky. (Except this is a fantasy book, so she’ll have to settle from being from somewhere like Kentucky.) She’s a fighter and a kick-ass mother figure. She’s not only fiery and fierce, but kind and gentle. The way she worries over North is endearing and I can totally relate to her. She does have a few girly-girl moments, but please, don’t we all? This is a character I can get behind, a girl I can cheer for 100%. Always helps that she’s freaking hilarious.
"Syd, Syd, Syd," he said, shaking his head.

"What?" I asked flatly. "Can we go up to our rooms yet?"

"Rooms!" He laughed. "What makes you think I got more than one? I’m not a money bag, you know."

I sucked in a sharp breath. "That is completely inappropriate! It’s—It’s not proper, but apparently you wouldn’t know that. You wouldn’t know a moral if it slapped you in the face."
You see the perfect blend of smart ass and chaste mother figure? And she carries this same attitude all throughout the book. I love her consistency, her believability, and cleverness. Sydelle has joined the ranks of my favorite heroines.  As for Mr. North. He could really be a scuzball sometimes but he’s really very sweet and the jerk-factor only makes for a more believable character. And the wizard thing is sexy. ;)

Overall, I loved the romance (even though the love triangle was a little too weakly represented for the impact it had on Sydelle). It wasn’t done too quickly, which is always an important aspect to me. (I really hate it when romances advance too quickly. It makes it harder to believe.) Alexandra Bracken handled it perfectly, not stretching it out too far (almost—the suspense was killing me) and not launching into it too quickly.

The writing was fantastic. Can’t put it any other way. Well, I could go on and on about how awesome it was, how it was so simple and elegant that it painted perfect little scenes in my head. It wasn’t hard to understand and it wasn’t so over saturated with fluffiness that it was distracting.

In combination with the characters, the romance and the writing, it made for an excellent plot. It was engaging and exciting. I was watching for the cliché parts that are pitfalls for authors but I didn’t find any. It wasn’t overly cliché (always a plus) and Alexandra Bracken didn’t spare her characters any of life’s heartaches.

In conclusion, Alexandra Bracken has not only become one my favorite authors, but her characters have become a favorite as well. If you like authors like Cinda Williams Chima, Maria V. Snyder, or Kristin Cashore, you’ll love to add Alexandra Bracken to your list.
Book Info:
  • pages – hardcover, 354
  • published – March 2010
  • publisher – EgmontUSA
  • genre – fantasy
  • received via – the library :)
  • rating – 5/5
  • Alexandra Bracken’s blog