The day the rains came was like any other, blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness….
Just 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.
‘And how do you destroy a curse, Sydelle? You become one. You consume your fear and become it. You plague everyone and everything that dares hurt you or stand in your way.’
We’re going back in time a bit today with this review, folks; to a book which came out five years ago, which I read almost two years ago: BRIGHTLY WOVEN by the always fantastic Alexandra Bracken. I’ve spoken about Alex more times that I can remember on this blog, and for good reason. If it’s not been made abundantly clear in the past, she is one of my all time favourite writers, and this review today is coming to you because of the recent news that Alex has just signed a FOUR BOOK deal with Disney Publishing. The four books include two books in a new Middle Grade series titled The Last 13 Nights of Prosperity Redding (which is pretty much the best title I think I’ve ever heard), a new standalone YA book, and a fourth book with no given details yet.
When people think of Alex Bracken, it’s fairly common that immediately thoughts are thrust to THE DARKEST MINDS and its sequels, as well as the upcoming PASSENGER, however people tend to forget that Alex’s debut novel, which she wrote when she was still in college, was BRIGHTLY WOVEN, a YA fantasy novel. In the novel, Sydelle Mirabil lives in Cliffton—a small desert village on the far edges of the country–is whisked away to see the world by the wizard Wayland North. I don’t want to get into the story too much, because if you’re a fan of any of Alex’s books, then you’re seriously missing out if you haven’t read this one. It’s got everything you might want; a really enjoyable fantasy world, impending war, incredible characters, a dash of romance, and the kind of incredible writing that you’ve come to expect in an Alexandra Bracken book.
It’s been a while since I read this book, and I’ve read many books since, so naturally my memory of everything that happened is fading. What I can tell you, though, is that through the pages of this book is one of my favourite fantasy stories. As I mentioned, the writing is spectacular (with a little nugget of a line which made its way into The Darkest Minds and became quite an important line in that series!), it’s got characters who feel completely alive and three-dimensional, and in the end, it’s really just a highly entertaining fantasy book. I picked it up after I’d binge-read the first two books in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, hoping that it might fill the Celaena-shaped void that had been left in my heart, and can honestly say that it filled that void and more. At the end, it left me completely and utterly satisfied with every character’s arc’s, and rather than just filling a void, left me with a two new voids; one shaped like Syd, and one shaped suspiciously like a floppy wizard’s hat. By the end, I just wanted more of Syd and North. I’d take a short story about them going to the shops on a Sunday morning, of them going to their friends for dinner, of anything, really.
So, once again; if you haven’t yet, you really need to check this book out. If you’ve read every other Alex Bracken book and need something to hold you over until PASSENGER comes out in January, then you need this. If you’ve never read Alex Bracken and want to know if you like her writing before devoting yourself to getting into the entire Darkest Minds trilogy, then you need this book to confirm your assumption that she’s one of the best YA writers out there. (And then you need to go buy the Darkest Minds trilogy, because duh).