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Review as of second reading I ve said it before and I ll say it again This book is like chocolate.But this time, I ll elaborate.You know that first piece of chocolate, the small piece you take because it s a treat and maybe you haven t had it in a while and you want to savor it And you roll it around in your mouth a little, let it get all melty, experience the taste as fully as possible You try to eat the rest of it the bar, the bag of chocolate chips, those little Dove eggs slowly, and for a while it works If you re weird like me you drink tea with your chocolate so that your mouth is always warm enough to soften it before you chew and it spreads over your tongue and makes a layer of deliciousness that you wash down with yet tea But eventually the lure of the sugar and cocoa is too strong You eat and you eat it faster, faster, faster tea forgotten, savoring forgotten, seeking only to consume as much of it as possible as fast as possible because somehow you got the idea while you were eating it that the chocolate will go away if you don t eat it now and so it is absolutely imperative that you do so Even when you realize you re almost out, that the bag is almost empty or the bar mostly devoured, you can only slow down a little bit And finally, when it s all gone, you sit and blink a bit and try to figure out where it all went Realization hits, followed shortly by contentment, followed even closely by a wish that there was and a knowledge that there is not and so you must enjoy what you had.That is pretty much exactly what Brightly Woven is like for me has been twice now Chocolate I try to savor it, really, I do I can t After a certain scene I just have to keep reading, homework or sleep be damned, until the end I love the characters I love the plot I love the world and its peculiar politics None of that has dimmed after a year and a re read I am still wholly, totally, completely smitten with this book.My only complaint is that there is not This isn t just a fangirl thing, by the way many other reviewers who don t love it the way I do have commented about a lack of explanation to the worldbuilding, and this time I could see the places where explanations belonged The foundation and framework were there If there is ever, ever a sequel pretty please Can there be I d like to see it explore a little of the peculiar magic and religion of Palmarta and its neighbors.Full disclosure The narrator is a 16 year old redhead with dreams of grandeur I first read this as a 16 year old redhead with dreams of grandeur and a peculiar love of TDH wizards The love interest is a tall, dark, handsome wizard It s no wonder I get absorbed in this story so quickly, even a second time.Aside to a particular audience Rachel, Fate, are we making those trading cards this summer Because I still have dibs on North Finders keepers.Original review and edits view spoiler Edit edit There are great reviewers out there who don t like this book at all While usually I find myself agreeing with them, on this I disagree I am smitten, even a second time through That isn t going to change.Edit It s now been months since I read this book, and in the interval I have suggested and given it to several other people, all of whom at least liked it if not loved it I m pretty sure we d all camp out overnight for a movie of this book, and if Wayland North were real well, let s not get into that However, looking back over this review and reading a few of the critical responses, I feel the need to mention a few things First and foremost, I stand by my original response After all, it was my first reaction and so the most undiluted, utterly unaffected by the opinions of others But this book isn t perfect There are flaws, which others have pointed out, and it s important to acknowledge that This doesn t mean it s not a fun read It is it s a marvelous read You have to be in the right frame of mind for this book For me That happens to be my general state of being Sleep deprived school centric teenage girl who intermittently ignores the guys around her and dismisses them as idiots at heart a romantic but not able to express it in real life Introverted, and ready and willing to live vicariously through any decent female character, from Alanna to Signy Mallory to Riza Hawkeye This book fits me well enough that I can honestly say that I do not care about its flaws No offense to Ms Bracken, for whom I have a great respect, but this isn t a philosophical book which is another reason I can ignore its flaws If I want to ask deep questions I ll go find Arakawa, Cherryh, Sagan, LeGuin If I want to read a book that leaves me giddy and grinning, I pick up this or Howl s Moving Castle.Original I finished this book last night at 11 pm, and immediately sat down to write my reactions down so I wouldn t forget them in my ARC review So, here they are, verbatim Tops HMC same kind of story, but better SEQUEL NAO If this doesn t make the Top Ten, I will be shocked angry astounded Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful romance Would like map, though Can has North for own SQUEEEEE PERFECT I think I shall buy a zillion copies of this book when it comes out hardcover and give them for every occaision to everyone I know.Note HMC is Howl s Moving Castle, which I adored and read in one sitting The Top Ten is the Teen s Top Ten I got this book through a library teen group which is one of the YALSA nominating groups for this year, and you bet your boots I nominated this one.I was bouncing up and down with sheer glee when I finished this BOUNCING PHYSICALLY BOUNCING This has never happened before that I can remember Spastic flailings during the Crowning Moments of Awesome of my favorite books sure But bouncing is unheard of.Alexandra Bracken has written the best book I ve read all year And I ve read a lot of books, so that s no small compliment The only problem There s no sequel yet.I declare this to be a tragedy, and one which Ms Bracken should swiftly rectify Please Insert pleading puppy dog eyes here The back cover says this was written as a birthday gift for a friend Well, that is one INCREDIBLY LUCKY FRIEND, in my opinion.I may not actually give this back to the library group If no one noticesI could hang on to it until March But then again, that would be depriving others of the PURE JOY that is reading this book So I guess I ll give it up anyways hide spoiler I don t do well without you, North said Who I was before I never want to be that person again But I told you when I took you away from here that when everything was over, it would be your choice You would get to choose where you wanted to go and who you wanted to be There was a pleading look in his eyes In that moment, he looked as if I had stripped him of his cloak and magic I could knock him back into that darkness with a single blow.Alexandra Bracken s Brightly Woven was the perfect book for me It takes a special kind of novel that pulls me away from the here and now and catapults my imagination into a suspended reality and undefined time and place I found myself resisting to leave when I came across the final paragraphs Bracken s pages are filled with awesome her characters are fierce, passionate and loyal and the plot captures magic, romance and mystery in just the right blend to create a fantastical journey from beginning to end Beautiful Absolutely beautiful After a 10 year drought, the rains came to Sydelle Miribel s desert village along with a young stranger dressed in wizard robes Sydelle suddenly finds herself pulled from her family and friends and taken on a quest to stop a war that seems inevitable Her part in this journey is not quite clear, as Wayland North is forced to keep secrets from her in order to protect who and what she is When the story comes to an end game, Sydelle discovers what she is capable of and must make a choice between two divergent paths leaving North hoping for a future that isn t his to decide.Many times I rant about authors being unable to tell a complete story in one book and shoving sequels into shallow story lines With Brightly Woven I m at a quandary I feel Bracken did a masterful job of plotting and concluding this story, but simply put I want I d love to see a sequel to this story view spoiler because I want to know if Syd will be able to help North with the curse hide spoiler This book came so highly recommended and its accolades were sung so virulently that I ignored my usual rule either I buy it at Kindle or I get it from the library I don t buy books per se any and ordered the hardcover from , sure that I would love it.I actually found it kind of meh Everything about this story is cute and nice, which is good praise for the author, but there s nothing spectacular about it.Many parts of the book were lovely, different, imaginative and sweet The story was rather simplistic but nice It paced well, has a good climax, many of its characters were enjoyable to read The writing, particularly at the beginning of the novel, was very disjointed It s almost as if Bracken had trouble completing thoughts or visualizing scenes in her head Actions were often either not followed through or not brought to the readers attention until they d already been half done.There was almost no detailed description, or at least, very minimal Unlike Karen Miller s world in Empress, which was a smorgasbord of culture, identity, sight and sound, I could honestly tell you very little of the people who inhabit Brightly Woven s world.The world is disappointingly barren to us and it s visual surroundings, smells, feels and tastes are mostly ignored The characters often do and say things that didn t make sense, as if half the scene the important half with most of the information were missing.So, over all, it was a nice book Probably not one I would read again although I ll be interested in picking up its sequel to see where Syd and North end up next. Brightly Woven is a fantasy tale of a young woman swept into great events it has magic and it has romance, Young Adult style.for the first half of this novel, i spent a lot of time muttering darkly about Kirkus Reviews and Publisher s Weekly their glowing reviews are what led me to Brightly Woven in the first place after having a great time in the Dystopic SciFi YA world thank you, Hunger Games and having a less than great time in the Paranormal Horror YA world thanks for not so much, Beautiful Darkness , i decided that it was time for some Fantasy YA and later i began to curse myself for not choosing Melina Marchetta the problems are manifold dialogue that is downright terrible trite easy blundering all the negative words at times i felt like i was reading a 14 year old s rough draft of some wet dream fantasia ugh a narrative that is herky jerky in its blindly pell mell rush to illustrate a world wow, herky jerky and pell mell in one sentence awesome i m so proud of myself key scenes that are seemingly left out arbitrarily to say that the narrative is erratic and confusing would be a hilarious understatement a character that is so entirely of the Gale Template from Hunger Games that he is positively painful to read i tried to skip his appearances, with little success some of the most unimaginative yet still off fantasy names ever Arcadia , a place where a bunch of children live seriously Provincia is a country s capital really come on a potentially ingenious scene concerning a young queen s evilly brilliant plan to stop a war is totally ruined by sadly awkward dialogue and some eye rollingly clumsy twists turns such a disappointment our heroine leaves her small town at the beginning of the narrative and spends much time bemoaning that fact unfortunately, this reader could care less because her home is barely even described i got no sense of place it is almost as if Bracken couldn t even be bothered.but about halfway through, i started getting some warm feelings here s why the magic system is blunt and basic but effective even exciting in its primal, elemental way our Mysterious Romantic Hero is very individualistic he is an 18 year old wizard who downs 4 pints of beer at the first tavern he meets he smells badly of sweat beer unwashed socks i suppose unwashed body he is low on charm, snarky, and yet strangely sympathetic and, most happily of all, he doesn t bully our heroine and he is not remotely rapey he is idiosyncratic without actually being annoying the heroine s Special Powers at first appear to be the intriguingly prosaic ability to do some slightly magical weaving in the second half, we learn much , we see there are much greater stakes to her rather mindboggling powers and it has actually been carefully set up since the very beginning it is surprisingly tragic and pretty smart writing there is a very emotional chapter where our heroine first takes gentle but firm care of the young wizard including removing his hair raisingly smelly socks and then is struck down herself, needing care in turn from that wizard this was a wonderful sequence and then there are these straightforward lines, which reminded me of all things of a great bit of dialogue from Tennessee Williams Night of the IguanaNo part of you is dark or ugly, I said sharply, squeezing his hand Not to me, not ever Do you understandso maybe not all the dialogue is terrible some of it has a rather lovely purity to it.so, in sum, i d love to give this one 3 stars i.e I LIKED IT but the dialogue was, for the most part, just too atrocious but i do think that Bracken is capable of much , if she puts her mind to it apparently she wrote this during her final semester in college who knows what she could accomplish now, with the ivory tower behind her. I don t think I ve ever given up on a book so quickly PAGE 2, I swear, I give every book a fair chance, but I disliked the writing from the first page it was so strangely immature, so empty, so cliche, as if written by a 14 year old, with no finesse or artistry, no spark Some of my friends really liked it, but it didn t work for me at all I am not willing to push myself further to see if it gets better I can hardly contain my excitement over this book It was amazing Purely brilliant Alexandra created a fantastical magical world full of mystery and intrigue that tugged at me, pulling me into the story and refusing to let go Alexandra wrote beautifully The words were how else can I describe it woven intricately together to conjure up such vivid scenes and pictures The characters were written to perfection Sydelle was amazing I loved her fiery disposition, yet her quiet, gentle care and love she gave to others and I love her name, and that North made his own nickname for her I loved North, might even have a little crush on him sheepish grin second time reading, make that a MAJOR big crush on him I loved his sarcastic humor, and just his whole personality, roguishly he may be sometimes.Their love was perfect It didn t need kissing to spur it on, although that s not always a bad way to go Even after everything they went through, their love still persisted, which is a sure sign of true love.The writing was impeccable, and the dialogue was perfect The story was so colorful, weaving around me I was captivated from the brilliance of the words and story The story was so creative, and thought out perfectly It was astounding.Brightly Woven is one of my new favorite books of all time It was one of the most amazing books I ve ever read And one thing that I really liked, was that there was no profanity or sexual stuff or vulgarity in it a real rare find in a book nowadays Having a book without that kind of stuff shows that a story can be truly great, and that it can captivate readers without the need to use sex or anything like that A great talent if you ask me, but not a hard one to do I don t know Alexandra, or if this was her intention, but thank you for a clean, beautiful love story We need of those in the world I m so excited to read what she has next.And can I just say how beautiful the cover is And the title, I love it Yeesh, the spine alone is enough to reel me in Looks pretty good on my bookshelf little uncontrollable giggle And I need to say that this book NEEDS a sequel There s so much to the story, and I don t want to leave this world and the characters Alexandra created, I love it too much. .DOWNLOAD ♊ Brightly Woven ♃ The Day The Rains Came Was Like Any Other, Blistering Air Coating The Canyon In A Heavy StillnessJust As The Rains Come After Ten Long, Dry Years, A Young Wizard, Wayland North, Appears, To Whisk Sydelle Mirabil Away From Her Desert Village North Needs An Assistant, And Sydelle Is Eager To See The Country And To Join Him On His Quest To Stop The War That Surely Will Destroy Her Home But North Has Secrets About Himself, About Why He Chose Sydelle, About His Real Reasons For The Journey What Does He Want From Her And Why Does North S Sworn Enemy Seem Fascinated By Sydelle Himself Through A Journey That Spans A Country, Magic And Hard Won Romance Are Woven Together With Precision And Brilliant Design By A First Time Novelist I feel the urge to be gentle with this book Like a beautiful, stacked blonde with baby blues who doesn t understand if you speak in words of than two syllables The package is pretty, but it s all unfurnished upstairs It s like Alexandra took a very pretty idea, and painted a flat, two dimensional picture of it with no nuances, no depth I was about twelve when I found out that my birthstone was aquamarine I d read about it in books, and it sounded gorgeous a sparkling blue green stone the color of the Caribbean I annoyed my mom for ages until she finally gave in and took me to the jewelers to buy me an aquamarine pendant Imagine my disappointment when the jeweler showed me a pale, colorless stone that showed the barest hint of blue, and that only in the sun That was pretty much how I felt when I read Brightly Woven The story in my head of how this book should be was so much better than the actual thing The story is about Sydelle, a sixteen year old weaver who lives in a desert area that has been stricken with drought for several years When a mysterious young wizard finally brings them rain, the villagers promise him any reward he wants He picks Sydelle, for reasons unknown to her, and as her village is attacked, they flee to the capital to warn the Queen and the Wizard Guards the country s warrior mages of the situation ALong the way, Sydelle discovers that she has powers she had never dreamt she would possess, and that people would fear and covet I haven t read much YA fantasy I don t even know if there is much YA fantasy out there Not the urban fantasy thing, but pure fantasy But I have read than my fair share of adult fantasy, and if there s one thing I know, you can t build a solid fantasy story without some very, very strong worldbuilding This is where fantasy becomes that much harder to write than urban fantasy At least in urban fantasy, you can use the same societal structure, the same basic world model as the world we live in In fantasy, you have to start from scratch You have to envision not just the characters, but the world they live in, the food they eat, their geography, their food, their clothing, their government, their religion Every single detail counts, because you re taking your reader into a galaxy far, far away Alexandra Bracken s worldbuilding just didn t do it for me It s beyond basic, it s so simplistic as to be almost non existent I never got a clear picture of the geography of the continent Sydelle and North s journey from her village to the capital had so many jumps, I never got a clear picture of where they were heading, what the journey was like, and since the journey consumes at least half of the book, that is a Very Bad Thing The sister goddesses of this world seem to have played a major part in influencing the characters in the book But we never get a clear idea of the religious creed they spawned There s only two lines about them, how one sister gave her followers magic, and the other gave her followers the sword, so the people of Palmarta had warrior mages, and the people of the other five countries three of which we don t even know existed until the last third of the book had massive armies If this is a religion based war, you can t get away with writing two lines about the goddesses who are the major motivating factor behind the whole thing And the choppy writing style was enough to make me want to abandon the book a few pages in I spent most of the book flipping back to the pages I d already read to see if I had missed something, because the narrative was so disjointed and made so little sense Have you ever seen those flashback scenes in movies There are a bunch of images from the earlier part of the movie cobbled together, as the hero heroine has their big epiphany If you ve watched the whole movie, the entire flashback scene makes sense, but if you ve just come in at the part where the flashback scene starts, it s a slideshow of images that make little to no sense Reading Brightly Woven is like coming in only at the flashback scene Sydelle in her village flash Soldiers attacking the village flash Sydelle on the other side of the mountains flash North getting drunk in a tavern flash Sydelle attacked by rogue magician flash earthquake out of nowhere and maybe some sort of fire flash Sydelle and North in Bigger town flash and so on Doesn t make any sense Yeah, it didn t to me either I never really got to know Sydelle or North I have some vague idea of a girl who weaves magical cloaks and has some unknown power, but there is no build up to the revelation of this power Poof, one day she s an ordinary girl trying to deliver a message to the Wizard Guards, and in the next minute, she s a jinx The point of a good book is that you sink into the story, feel for the characters, try to puzzle out what s going to happen next, and where the story is heading If all you ve got is a few random bits and pieces of information, then you re spending time trying to figure out what you re reading than you are enjoying the story Wayland North was even of a spectre in the story At least, since the story is told from Sydelle s point of view, you have some understanding of who she is, and what drives her Although the thing with Henry was weird, he only appears for about half a second in the beginning of the book, so how are you supposed to understand that she has feelings for him When she suddenly starts talking about it in the second half of the book, I was like, huh who s Henry North doesn t even get that character building Here s what I know about North He s eighteen years old although he reads much, much, much older , he s dirty and smelly and never takes a bath or washes his hair, his clothes are falling apart, and he has stinky feet Yeah, just the kind of guy I d want to fall in love with And their relationship consisted mostly of him getting drunk and Sydelle getting mad until suddenly, one day, for no ostensible reason, she falls in love with him This book is FAIL from all angles I read a couple of reviews where they said that Bracken had had to heavily edit the book to meet the publisher s word count It s a story I m not buying Meeting a word count doesn t mean you have to cut out essential parts of your story, and make it so choppy and uneven And if the word count is so unreasonable as to make your story impossible to write, then find another publisher, or split the book, or just hold on to your artistic integrity for god s sake Besides, it s not hard to do good worldbuilding within a limited number of pages Tamora Pierce s been doing it for ages, with her Tortall books Another excuse that s been put forward is that Alexandra Bracken is very young That is the lamest thing I ve ever heard Christopher Paolini was fifteen when he wrote the first Eragon book, and even though I m a rabid hater of the series, I still think he did a better job than Bracken Being young is no excuse for writing bad fiction It s like people who say, Oh, Alexandra Adornetto is only sixteen and she s written a whole, entire book, so let s go buy it and read it and not trash it because she s so very young A sixteen year old has no business trying to get her book published, and publishers have no business publishing that tripe What was there to recommend Halo, apart from the age of the author It s just a cheap publicity gimmick to sell books Every author has a duty to her readers, to make sure that the money they re spending on her books is worthwhile, and when I was sixteen and writing really trashy novels, I knew better than to think it was good enough for the general public to read Sorry to get on my soapbox, but the whole she s so young thing is just eyewash The only reason this book got two stars instead of one was because Bracken finally got her act together in the last part of the book, and kind of pulled me in But to expect me to slog through three quarters of the book to get to the good stuff is just not fair This book had so much potential, and I can t help but wish someone with talent had picked up the idea and written the fabulous book it ought to have been. Such a beautiful, beautiful darling oh, I mean, story One word lovely 2 words loved it 3 words Thank you Arlene Once in a while I find myself lost in a beautiful story, with great characters I get to know and love so much, that I find it difficult at the end to let it go and yes, this is the case I know, I m a complete romantic with no cure I take that as a compliment The main reason I loved this book so much was probably because of North Of course, in the beginning I didn t like him that much he was so mysterious about everything, keeping so many secrets and well, he really needed to stop drinking and start taking baths , but when I started to know him better everything changed As Sydelle started to care about him, I started doing just the same.There was something so sad heartbreaking about North and his story that made me want to hold him tight in my arms and take away all of his pain I wanted him to be happy, I wanted Syd to love him, I wanted them to be happy Also it was nice to see their relationship develop slowly from anger and hate, to friendship and compassion, and then finally turning into love.I felt all Syd s insecurities and all that need to find out what was North keeping away from her, and seeing how the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together I couldn t be surprised There were some things that i had anticipated, but there were some that i just didn t see coming And i loved it all.Even though the story is suppose to take place somewhere in the past there were also some modern elements in it that I liked for example Sydelle and North shared the same room without making a drama out of it, and there were some powerful women reigning in this story like the queen and the Sorceress I m so sick of the old patriarchal societies, it was a relief to read something a bit different after all, this is fantasy, right Another thing that was nice for a change is the fact that even after Sydelle and North started to have feelings for each other their main purpose didn t change which was to stop the war I know that my review is mostly about love, but in fact love is just a little part of the story There s this journey they take full of danger and mystery, and there s this world so beautifully described, and the secondary characters that play at times such an important part in the story, and there are so many twists in the story, we find out so many things about the characters things that can change everything and there is this feeling after reading the last page it s joy not a small smile on your face, but that real feeling you have after finishing a great book you know the feeling, right To make it short the love story is realistic, truthful to their characters, I was holding my breath for their first kiss, and it was all so sweet The story starts a bit slow, but after the 6th chapter there is a lot action and important details are revealed that I couldn t get enough of it I wanted , much On the last pages I felt like I was saying goodbye to an old friend of mine, I wanted to stop reading only not to get to the end of it Also, the ending holds some unanswered questions enough for us to pray for a sequel, but it also makes it all so clear that you don t need to know because you feel that the story is now complete.Favorite quotesYes, my beautiful, beautiful darling As my beautiful, beautiful darling wishes North He held me against him gently, as if I was glass as if I could shatter and fall away from him at any moment and leave him breathless and alone once Sydelle You re a wizard, I snapped Can t you just use magic to make your own food Ah, yes, he retorted Because mud pies are so very delicious and the wind fills empty stomachs quite nicely A filthy pig, North said good naturedly But there s only one filthy pig allowed in her life, and the position s been filled North I m trying to feel sorry for you, really I am If you wait just a moment, I m sure the tears will come North North laughed So I only help attractive people You realize you re flattering yourself Magister is fond of telling me that my handwriting looks like the scratches of a blind chicken NorthSo..all in one, I loved this story and I guess I m going to read of this genre This review can be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com Blog EN Facebook Twitter Tumblr Bloglovin Blog RO That cover is just marvelous honestly Just one look at it made me so excited to read this book I mean the detail in it is just on point The reflection of lightning on her face, you can just feel the magic already You just know and hope that what s inside will give you as much of a thrill.Sydelle Mirabil has lived in Cliffton her whole life, but has always felt she needed to get out to see what lies out of her little town She gets that opportunity sooner than expected when a young wizard, Wayland North, comes to town in a whirlwind of much needed rain The town had been in a drought for years and to show their gratitude Sydelle s father tells North he can have anything he wants for his great service to the town Strangely he choses that Sydelle accompany on his journey to the capitol to stop the oncoming war But why her Well you are going to have to read it to find out.I was so wrapped up into this journey that Syd and North were on, my mind would wander to their story while I d be doing other things I d imagine the book sitting where I left it just begging to be picked up again Well, I of course couldn t resist I had lots of nostalgia reading this book because it reminded of books that I use to love to devour Tons of action, peril, mishaps and nice moments between the two main characters I liked the take on wizards, though I would have liked if it had been explored and if there is a sequel I think it would be What sealed the deal was the romance, which is really the core of the book I see other reviewers seem kind of disappointed with the book and I was wondering why I m guessing they had certain expectations This really isn t geared toward hard core fantasy fans that love world building and feeling immeresed in a totally new world Don t get me wrong I did get a good sense of the world, but it didn t have dictionaries of words or list of character names I love those kind of books too, but for this story I was glad it wasn t bogged down with all that It kept true to the growth of the characters and the events happening around them be important catalyst, but not overshadow them So go ahead and get trapped into this book s trance of colors, power, magic and most of all sense of adventure with traces of real human warmth that oddly come from wizards too.