Author: Gennifer Albin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Length: 367 pages
Source: NetGalley Review Copy
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.
Protagonist: Adelice has spent nearly her entire life trying to pretend that she doesn't see the weave holding Arras together. Her parents made her practice to be bumbling and awkward so that no one would get suspicious and then when it was finally time to be tested she slips, and now she'll be taken away to train as a Spinster one of the women that hold Arras together and make it run smoothly. Overall I really enjoyed Adelice, she takes responsibility for what she does and her growth over the book is remarkably well done. This is a very tough independent main character who will make mistakes but will always have the best interests of everyone at heart.
Romance: If I had to say there was one downfall to this book it would be the romance. Seriously it was all over the place and there were too many stacking tropes, like the forbidden romance trope, since as a Spinster Adelice cannot have romantic relationships, the love triangle (maybe square) trope, the "one guy that likes me is probably evil trope," and there's a couple more that I won't get into because of spoilers, but it wasn't that there wasn't great romance writing in here it's just that with so many things all over the place, it was too complicated to really invest in.
World Building: I do have to say that this has one of the most interesting dystopian world buildings I've ever read. In this world, everything is held together by a tapestry or weave that is spun by women with a talent for seeing and working the weave. When I first got into this book it reminded me so wonderfully of the Fates in Greek mythology who spin, weave and cut your thread of life, only on a grander scale. In addition to this possible inspiration, there's a wonderfully corrupt government hell bent on controlling and manipulating everything in Arras. As Adelice delves deeper into the lives of Spinsters and the government of Arras the more we learn about what's really going on, and it's good too!
Predictability: I have been trying to write this section for a while now, and cannot think of how to properly articulate my feelings for this specific aspect of this book. While this story does have parts that aren't the most shocking this story does have some of the best twists I've read, or at least in terms of their shock value. While some twists were as enjoyable as they were shocking there were some twists that while they did surprise me I kind of wish the big revelation wasn't true, more for what it would mean to the story than whether or not it helped our main heroine.
Ending: Talk about your big endings. I thought for sure, especially with the title of the next book, that I thought I knew how this book was going to end. I mean everything leading up to it practically screamed where it was going, but then, at the height of the final climax something changed, the entire story changed and instead of going to the predictable place I thought, it goes somewhere even bolder and more unpredictable. I have to say, while I may not get to book two soon, it's not because this book didn't leave me wanting so much more!
So I really enjoyed this story, it was exciting, compelling, and other than a romance that I couldn't really find a way to throw myself into, I kept wanting to come back for more. P.S. Please forgive the subpar review, it's my first one in two weeks and I may even be a bit sleep deprived right now.