Dystopian Sci-Fi: “Crewel” By Gennifer Albin

Based in a world were control is everywhere and everything, Crewel by Gennifer Albin is about a sixteen-year-old girl, Adelice, who is elected to become a “spinster,” part of an elect group able to weave the very fabric of the universe into being. Despite breaking many of the strict laws that keep women under the tight control of the government, she is left alive thanks to her singular abilities to weave space and time without the use of a loom.

As she comes to terms with her abilities and the complicated workings of the government she is now a part of, Adelice struggles to free herself from the (largely male) tyranny of those who claim to be “protecting” her.

As far as dystopian novels go, Crewel impressed me with its imaginative world and the complicated workings of said world. The idea of weaving the fabric of the world felt new and it was exciting to explore the possibilities and limitations of such an ability with Adelice.

This novel was also filled with lots and lots of themes about control, women, and the value of freedom and respect for individual agency to choose. I was surprised that I didn’t mind the overwhelming amount of thematic material incorporated into this book. Albin did an excellent job using the themes rather than allowing the themes to use her.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would rate it a 4/5 stars, points taken off only because I’m not a fan of the dystopian genre in the first place. But if you like dystopian YA novels, and like themes about women’s independence, you will love this book.

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Avatar the Last Airbender meets Fairytale

In a world where people can speak to the elements and magic flows from nature, there lives a princess.  She’s timid and unassuming, an insecure princess who wants to be only what others expect of her.  At least, until someone steals her throne.  On a quest to get her throne back, Ani discovers who she is, who she is meant to be, and what she can do.

Goose Girl is a story of discovery, empowerment, and kindness.  The main character, Ani, is an empowered damsel in distress who learns how to stand up for herself and fight back without becoming hardened or losing her newly found self..

I enjoyed the freshness of this story and the characters.  Shannon Hale created beautiful characters who are relatable, complex and realistic.  The main character, Ani, while initially weak and pitiable, develops quickly and fully into a strong, yet soft young woman.  That kind of character seems hard to find – many female protagonists in YA lit tend to be masculinized (such as Katniss from The Hunger Games) or overly weepy and dramatic.

This book is slower paced, and a bit heavy on descriptions for a YA book, but it is beautifully written and contains a wonderful story about the importance of love, laughter, standing up for yourself, and friendship.