Brightly Woven

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Syd is a talented weaver who lives in a poor, remote village, long plagued by drought and largely removed from the politics and duels of the ruling wizard class. On the day of the first rain in decades, a handsome wizard, North, arrives and warns of approaching soldiers—a war between kingdoms is brewing and the village will soon be overrun. To save Syd, her parents promise the 16-year-old to North as a wizard's tailor, and the two set out to try and stop the war, Syd angrily so. Bracken's vivid prose and storytelling offer a fresh, fun take on magic and wizardry, with North as a tantalizing, brooding hero and Syd, as a feisty, strong woman of many talents, her most extraordinary yet undiscovered. Between her sharp tongue and emerging powers and North's grungy appearance and hipster attitude, they make a charismatic pair. Though at times the dialogue can be melodramatic and overwritten, and the plot occasionally falls out of focus, overall this fantasy novel is a delight, and Bracken is a debut author to watch. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
Conventional teen tropes translate surprisingly well to fantasy romance in an uneven debut. Sixteen-year-old weaver Sydelle is presented to North, a wizard scarcely older, as an unwilling payment for ending her village's devastating drought. North has the information to stop an imminent war, and he needs Sydelle to guide him to the capital. Sydelle slowly overcomes her resentment of her mysterious, arrogant captor as she learns about the ways of magic and her own unexpected place within it. Sydelle's narration portrays her as the stereotypical feisty-yet-commonsensical redhead, entirely unaware of her hidden powers and irresistible attractiveness, while North is the bad-boy hero with the angsty-secret back story. Everyone else is a stock character, especially the Crazy McEvilpants villain. But archetypes exist because they work, and, despite cursory world-building and awkward prose, the romance is chastely sweet while the plot trots along at a ripping pace, culminating in a (literally) earthshaking climax, with just enough unresolved questions to make a sequel welcome. A guilty pleasure, perhaps, but a pleasure nonetheless. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A young, rogue wizard ends a 10-year drought in an isolated mountain village. As payment he asks for Sydelle, the daughter of the village elder. Despite her protests, he whisks her away just as an invading army arrives in the village. The wizard, Wayland, has information that may prevent the coming war. But he and "his assistant" must make a harrowing, weeks-long journey to reach the capital and deliver the information. Along the way, Sydelle must overcome her anger toward Wayland, discover the dark secret that haunts him, and unravel the mystery of why he chose her in the first place. Sydelle is a strong, brave, likable heroine. Hers is a story of a young woman finding the great power within herself. Wayland is a tortured soul who saves and is saved by her. The supporting characters add color and depth to the story. Danger appears at every turn, and action keeps the plot moving briskly along. First-time author Bracken weaves a compulsively readable tale that belongs beside Kristin Cashore's Graceling (Harcourt, 2008) and Fire (Dial, 2009) and Tamora Pierce's "Song of the Lioness" series (S & S).—Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606842102
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA
  • Publication date: 6/28/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 273,944
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 8.21 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexandra Bracken has wanted to be a writer since third grade, and has always wanted to write for children and young adults. She began Brightly Woven as a birthday present for a friend, and the novel grew over a year of wild weather. A May '09 graduate of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Brightly Woven is her first novel. You can visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 117 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(65)

4 Star

(25)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 118 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

    One moment, Sydelle and her friend, Henry, are hanging out on the rocks and then next, it's raining. Their village hasn't seen rain in ten years. Shortly after, they spot a wizard. They all head into the village, not knowing just how much their future is about to change.

    Wayland North, the wizard, takes the credit for bringing the rain. The chief, Sydelle's father, offers him a reward. He's stunned when he finds out the wizard wants his daughter.

    Wayland believes he can stop the upcoming war with Sydelle's help. Together, they set out across the country to deliver their information.

    Sydelle can't help hating the wizard who took her away from her friends and family. In time, she grows to understand him more and appreciates him. They must overcome obstacles: rogue wizard attacks, a new queen trying to find her place, and two country leaders determined to go to war for all the wrong reasons.

    Sydelle wants to help stop the war so they can get on with their lives, but then she overhears Wayland talking about her and she can't believe her ears. Suddenly, her world's turned upside down and she doesn't know who to trust or what to do next.

    This is an awesome debut and a great way to explode onto the YA scene. I love the high fantasy romance with tensions between countries and a probable war on the horizon.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Love this book!

    This book really is just great! I couldn't put it down! If I hadn't had to go to school, I would have finished it in a day. It's expertly written, and the plot is flawless save that it drags just a tiny bit. There is always something going on, never a dull moment. While there are a few problems I had with characters and her relations to them (how Henry and Sydelle are so close, but there are very few examples of this except for Sydelle's word), I loved how she made good, bad, and evil characters with ease. This may sound like another paranormal teen romance by the description (mysterious wizard comes to town and steals her away), but it is far from it. The book is not dominated by dark, doomsday-ish romance, but by suspense and nice, enviable romance. I loved this book and it is definitely worth reading!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!:^)

    What can I say?... This book was amazing!!! I would totally reccomend this book to anyone who loves books about wizards and magic in the time where they used horses instead of cars!!!! But also, there is a little romance that helped bring this story along and brought this book to my top 10 favorite books!!!

    Living in a dry area with no rain for ten years, 16 year old Sydelle Mirabel, with an amazing gift of weaving for a girl her age, will witness an adventure of saving a kingdom from a terrible war between the cities Saldorra and Auster. But she doesn't go on this adventure alone. With the help of a young wizard named Wayland North, who has been keeping things from his past, Sydelle finds out that she might not be the once normal girl that grew up with a dream of leaving home. In the end will she choose her love of her life or to stay in her home town where she is needed?

    AGAIN!!!!!! THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!! The plot line is so grapping that I couldn't put down!!!!!! I have at least read it 4 times!!!! And probably more to come!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    dimensional, funny and completely captivating

    The day the rains finally come to Cliffton, Sydelle Mirabil doesn't know her life is about to change. She has no idea foreign soldiers are preparing to invade her small village. She doesn't know that her country is on the precipice of war. She certainly don't know anything about wizards.

    All of that changes with the rain.

    Wayland North does know all of those things. When the town offers the young wizard a reward for bringing the much-needed rains he also knows exactly what he needs: the young weaver named Sydelle.

    Sydelle has no choice but to accompany the wizard on his long journey to the capital. Much as she detests being tied to him she knows they have to get to the capital if the war is to be avoided. Plagued by foul weather, Sydelle's temper and North's black mood, the trip is not easy. Wayward wizards and dangerous secrets threaten to derail their journey long before they reach the capital.

    As the pair make their way across the country Sydelle begins to understand there may be more to North than his vague statements and mercurial temperment. There might even be more to Sydelle herself. Like any good weaving, it is going to take Sydelle many layers to see the full picture in Brightly Woven (2010) by Alexandra Bracken.

    Brightly Woven is Bracken's first novel.

    While the story could have used slightly more resolution in some areas, Bracken has created an appealing fantasy here. Sydelle's narration is lyrical and Wayland North is one charming mess of a wizard. In a story where the two main characters are mostly crossing varied terrain, Bracken's ability to build drama and maintain tension is impressive.

    Without giving away too much, the weaving aspect of the story added a nice dimension to the story. The combination of textiles and magic makes the premise of the story unique. Sydelle's focus on weaving also fleshed out her character and only helped to enhance the narrative.

    Brightly Woven has everything readers hope to find in a traditional fantasy. Beautifully written, this novel evokes not only the physical landscape of Sydelle's world but the culture as well. Sydelle and North are wonderfully rendered characters that are dimensional, funny and completely captivating. In other words Brightly Woven is absolutely a must read for fantasy lovers and Bracken herself is definitely an author to watch.

    Possible Pairings: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, Warped by Maurissa Guibord, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Engaging Adventure

    Wow! This was one exciting adventure. Sydelle lives in a poor small village where there is currently a drought. It hasn't rained in 7 years. One day a wizard, North Wayland, comes and makes it rain. At his request Sydelle's father gives her to North for this service. Both begin their journey to warn the queen about the upcoming war and who truly poisoned and killed the King. Clearly upset at being forced from her home, Sydelle tries to ignore him, but actually ends up yelling at him quite a lot. North ignores her yelling, especially when he's drunk. After several messy encounters with other wizards, Sydelle finds it difficult to be mad at him. Her hatred turns to compassion.
    Sydelle is 16 yr. old weaver who has the ability to repair magical talismans. I really respected her strength and determination. She also has a habit of attracting the worst sort of trouble. However, North doesn't mind rescuing her and playing the part of hero. I just loved North. He reminded me of Howl from Howl's Moving Castle (the movie). On the outside he is strong, stubborn, very good looking, and optimistic. On the inside, he is cursed and tortured. Both North and Sydelle are very selfless characters. Their willingness to do anything to save their country, even sacrifice their lives, was touching.
    Magic is a large part of this book. However, the relationship between Sydelle and North forces the reader to look beyond all the magic, war, and secrets and watch as two people see the good and importance in the other. Both characters have always felt insignificant and do their best to fight that feeling. That doesn't mean the feeling goes away. Their love and kindness for each other removes their insecurities making them all the more powerful and useful.
    Behind this love story, there is a journey involving a war. The upcoming war is based on rumor, and therefore does not need to be fought, especially since it is a false rumor. Alexandra Bracken handles the issue of a reason-less war with care. The threat of many lives lost hangs over the characters giving them a very real consequence if they fail. It gave the story a sense of urgency.
    Alexandra Bracken built a beautiful and very original world. The countries had their own religions, myths, legends, etc. She established guilds, abundant resources for the regions as income, and different terrains. It was all very engaging. I would love to jump back into the world, even though Bracken currently has no plans to write a sequel. I adored this book. The writing flowed easily and Bracken's word choice and phrasing made Sydelle's voice clear and relatable to the reader. Brightly Woven is an enthralling adventure that will leave you eager for more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Erica from The Book Cellar has been on my case for over a year t

    Erica from The Book Cellar has been on my case for over a year to read Brightly Woven. I've heard her rant on about how good it is, how North is hers, how brilliant the world is, how North is hers, how excellent a writer Alexandra Bracken is, how North is hers...

    Well, the only thing I really have to dispute is North being hers. Sorry, Erica, but he's definitley Sydelle's. And if we're making a North clone for you then, well, I'll take two.

    Brightly Woven is, without a doubt, one of the best young adult fantasies I've read in a long time - and considering my love of fantasy novels, that's saying something.

    One of the best things about it was that the fantasy element wasn't shoved in your face. Don't get me wrong, I love oodles of description - if I didn't, I would hate reading most fantasy. But it wasn't paragraphs of description shoved in between plot points and chapters to describe the world. It was slipped in with casual thoughts or comments, letting you see the world that Bracken created without ever realizing she was describing it to you.

    The characters themselves are also wonderful. The villains never felt flat or one dimensional. I loved Sydelle herself - she was feisty and worried and loving and ready to go and everything a good heroine should be. North is completely imperfect and utterly sexy (though I don't think he was ever intended to actually be sexy.) I loved many of the side characters, but my favorite - by far - was Owain. He was simply fun to read about and had some great character quirks. I want to learn more about him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2012

    Still reading

    I am almost done reading the book and might finish it tonight if i can and overall it was a excellent book and i would recomend it to anyone who is looking for adventure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Snowstorm

    Wait, what did I do?-Snowstorm

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Great book!

    Only one thing to say.....Amazing!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    LOVE this book

    This book was totally awesome. I read this whole book in one day, it was just that great.

    I love how each character has more depth and personality, it made totally fall in love with the characters. The most interesting character is Sydelle, because she's so mysterious and relatable.

    If you're looking for a really fantastic fantasy read, this book is IT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

    I LOVE it.

    The first time I read it, I couldn't put it down. I fell in love with the characters. Sydney, is amazing as well as North's and watching them butt heads but slowly and surely fell in love through all they had to go through was fantastic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Luved it!!!!

    this book was a truely beautiful book. not only the romance, but the magic the story was told around, wich gave ths story a unique sort of twist and tell. it's a very fun read and i ighly recomend to those who luv romance, action, and magic. it a really amazing book. =)))))

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2011

    great read.

    Really enjoyed the story and the characters. Hoping there be a sequel soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Loved!

    Wheres the sequrl?

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The story was fairly c

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The story was fairly complex, in a good way. The main male character has a detailed backstory. The writing style was decent, and the story progressed at a good pace. I appreciated that this book did not contain the lengthy, repetitive descriptions of characters' feelings that are so often found in other YA novels.

    There were a few times when characters conveniently did something out of character. Despite liking the writing style, there were occasional odd gaps in the story. They did not affect the plot or storyline itself, but I found them to be distracting. Characters are described as doing one activity, then suddenly are found to be doing something completely different with no segue. Other times, it would belatedly become apparent that more time had passed between paragraphs than one might expect.

    Content:
    Sexual - None.
    Language - No strong language.
    Violence - A few spots with bloody violence, but they are brief in length.
    Gods-related content - There is a light amount of gods-related content, other than in a chapter or two where that content is more prominent. It does not involve actual mythology.

    I realize that most people do not mind gods-related content. I generally do not read those types of books myself, and would have liked to have known about it prior to purchasing the book.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    Great Book

    I loved this book- there was strong heroine who defies a controlling leading man and is proven right. Then glory of glories he admits it! I can't tell you how refreshing it was that yes sometimes the girl gets into situations that require saving but that doesn't make her weak or unable to stand up for herself. My only complaint is that the author has said in interviews that she doesn't have a current plan for continuing the series and while the book stand on its own when I read the book it felt like she had planned some thread open to be tackled in a sequel. I can always hope!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Amazing

    I loved the book if you like badass females and romance youll lke this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Cyrus

    We're cool.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Leah

    ur bff :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Wyndham

    You are the best Cali. Sometimes I don't know what I'd do without you. Yew da bomb!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 118 Customer Reviews

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