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Gennifer Albin
ISBN 9780374316419
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: coming-age crewel dystopia family gennifer-albin society talents weavers

by Gennifer Albin

What would it be like to be born with a talent that could help shape the world, and with it, the power to give life or take it? That is Adelice Lewys's predicament in Gennifer Albin's gripping debut novel, the first in a planned trilogy, about growing up and taking responsibility for the gift she is given.

The people of Arras revere the Spinsters, the skilled weavers who create and maintain their world. At 16, Adelice goes to be tested, and reveals herself to be one of the most talented weavers the Guild of Twelve has ever seen. When Cormac Patton, the Guild of Twelve's Coventry Ambassador, and his team come to collect Adelice, her family attempts to flee. But Adelice is captured, her father killed, and the fates of her mother and sister are unknown. The author asks probing questions about whether Adelice's rare talent is a blessing or a curse. Each thread represents a life, and it gets Adelice thinking about whether a ripped thread can be saved. It's a moment that resonates with poignancy later in the novel, when Loricel, the most powerful Spinster in Arras, asks Adelice to remove a thread of an older woman. Only Loricel understands the burden that her gift places upon Adelice.

In this first installment, Adelice must decide whether to assume this god-like responsibility, or find a way to escape. Readers will be eager to return to the coming episodes to see how her choice affects the world around her.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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