Monday, August 27, 2012

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.


Released: March 23, 2010          Pages: 354
Publisher: Egmont                     Source: Library
First Look: ***** I can't say for sure what prompted me to pick this up.  Maybe it was the gorgeous cover art.  I love that girl's hair. 

Setting: ***** In the end, the setting wasn't memorable.  I got no sense of what made this setting unique from any other.  I didn't really get a good feel for who the people were, or why I should care about the place.  I wasn't given much detail to go by, either.  In the end, it was simply unmemorable.

Characters: ***** For the longest time, I had trouble caring about our main character, Sydelle.  I just couldn't connect to her.  I finally got to the point where I could care, but it was too close to the end of the book.  I should've been able to like her almost immediately.

But then there was North.  Wayland North.  Not only did he have a cool name, but he was a fascinating character.  He had so much backstory, so much depth.  He was beautifully characterized.  The whole book might have been cooler if it had been written about him instead, especially since he was basically the one who did everything. 

Plot: ***** It was okay.  For most of the book, there wasn't much at all, in the way of a plot.  There was excitement at the beginning, but then the conflict dropped off.  It didn't pick back up again until far too late in the book.

I'm having this same problem with many books this summer, it seems.  The plots finally pick up, but it takes them waaaaay too long to get there.  Whatever happened to dropping your reader directly into conflict and keeping them there?

And then, when the plot finally started to move again, it seemed rushed.  It happened too fast, and there were a few "Wait...wait?" moments, which are never a good thing.

Uniqueness: *****
It was fairly unique, although if I had liked it better as a whole it might have seemed even more different.

Writing: ***** Most of the time I had no problem with the writing. When it came to action sequences, though, I felt like I was missing something. I never quite felt like I had the full picture of what was going on. I think more detail would have solved this problem.

Likes:North.

Not-so-great:
I would have liked to learn more about the magic system.  Also, it was a bit too romance-focused for my tastes.

Overall: If you ignore North, this was an okay book.  It took me too long to connect to Sydelle, and the plot took too long to get interesting.  The writing was alright, and the setting didn't stand out.  This would have been an okay, unmemorable book if it didn't have North in it.  He was funny and interesting and I could connect to him, unlike Sydelle.  He bumps this book up into the 3.5 star range, which means I round up.  Four stars it is. 

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