Monday, April 19, 2010

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Brightly WovenStars: 4 1/2  

Published: March 23, 2010 (Hardcover)

Pages: 368

Part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge

Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

Summary from

Brightly Woven was one of those books that it was very hard for me to put down.  (But I have a daughter who’s nearly two, so reading it straight thru was not an option.) 

I loved the characters: Sydelle was strong and fiery, yet still female.  North was cocky, yet witty and sensitive.  I was afraid when I opened the book and saw the map in the front.  It’s not that I’m against geography, but usually where there is a map, there is a lot of traveling in the book.  Brightly Woven was a book where most of the story took place along the road, yet I felt like there was enough action and development that I did not sigh in frustration.

The magic in the story was well explored, and I enjoyed the new world that Alexandra Bracken brought us into.  The ending of the story was ambiguous enough that a sequel may be in the works, yet one is not completely necessary.  I can’t wait to see what Alexandra writes next.

For another, more in depth review, Sarah at GreenBeanTeenQueen just reviewed this as well.


  1. I love your review, Jessie! Very in-depth :D
    I can't wait to read this one, now, but I've heard all sorts of things about the ending--like it wasn't enough closure or whatever.
    Great review, thanks!