Book Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Posted January 26, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments



by Gennifer Albin

Series: Crewel World #1
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux on October 16, 2012
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Check out this book on Goodreads

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.


DNF’d @ 78%

I usually wouldn’t do a proper review for a DNF – largely because I usually DNF at the beginning – but I was far enough in this one that I feel it deserves some words.  I have LOTS of word for Crewel, and they are mostly unfriendly.

*deep breath*

Crewel is about a girl in a dystopian world that is strictly ruled like the 1950s and women are basically treated like brainless dolls, unless you’re a Spinster, which is basically a goddess because you have the ability to manipulate the world.  Naturally, Adelice is a Spinster.  Or, more specifically, she is a Creweler, which is the most powerful upcoming Spinster.  As expected in Cookie Cutter YA Dystopia Fantasy, Adelice is not into doing that.  She spends a lot of time flirting with two boys (*gasp!* love triangle) and being an emotionless robot.


So this ended up on my TBR because of the concept of a woven world.  I’ve come across this concept in Egyptian mythology, where Neith weaves the world in her loom.  There are lot of world myths involving weaving and fate and creation, featuring great figures like Anansi, and Moirai of Greek myth.  Cool stuff, guys.  Great basis for a story.

Only, this wasn’t about that at all, not really.  The glimpses we get of that are awesome, and the philosophy behind that aspect of world-building is wicked cool BUT unfortunately, we are saddled with Adelice and she ruins everything.

Some small things that made me hate Adelice:

  • When she learns that one of her crushes watched his wife and baby die, she responds with jealousy that he had a wife.
  • She quickly forgets her own personal tragedy, then remembers when it’s convenient to the story, then forgets again.
  • She’s a selfish brat who marches in like she’s important and behaves horribly and is hit with no real consequences.
  • She cuts her hands to shreds for 12 hours and almost doesn’t let medical help in (which she calls only after crying) because it’s her crush.

These are a few examples, but honestly – it’s Adelice as a whole.  She’s flat, shallow, selfish, and self-important.  I can’t be bothered to feel bad for her because she has the attention span of a butterfly and the emotional range of a teaspoon.

These things weren’t what made me DNF it, though.  There were other decent characters, and the writing wasn’t the worst I’ve ever read.

What made me DNF it was the way Gennifer Albin chose to handle homosexuality in her world.

When a lesbian couple arises, the two characters who discover it are abashed that something like this could actually happen.  One of the couple gets “remapped” so she will not be that way.  In all the instances that this is explained, it really comes down to “I can’t explain why this is wrong, only that this is wrong, and sometimes they’ll turn a blind eye but really a relationship should be a man and a woman.”

Paraphrased, but strongly implied.

I tried to listen past it.  I waited for some sort of explanation how things were going to be okay.  But it came down to “they are broken and we fixed them” which infuriated me.

Nope.  DNF.  We’re done.

Nobody in that situation needed to be “fixed”.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★
Characters: 1/2
Writing: 1/2
Pacing: ★ 1/2
Narrator: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment:

1 and a half stars


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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2 responses to “Crewel by Gennifer Albin

  1. Amber

    Maybe if you’d bothered to finish it the series, you would have discovered how nuanced Albin’s portrayal of homosexuality in an unfriendly world is. Instead you chose the coward’s way out. A book’s job is not to get on a soapbox, but to examine social issues with an unflinching, brutal eye. But definitely judge a three book series on the merit of listening to half a book.

    • Amber

      I’m sorry to hear that you were offended by my personal feelings of Crewel. I definitely feel as through we are entitled to our own opinions of art, whether that is visual, performance, or written. I personally felt uncomfortable continuing with this book and series based on the content I read, but certainly not all people will feel this way. It’s certainly possible that the author redeemed herself as the series went on, but I was not inclined to continue. Throughout the book blogging world, you’ll find many people choose not to continue reading when they are uncomfortable with material, or disagree with a representation. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the series and I wish you well in it and her other works.