In the miasma of dystopian young adult fiction out there today, I admit I've become somewhat jaded. I was pretty sure I'd read it all and there weren't any new ways to take us eerily into the future. And then I read the blurb for Crewel and thought, hmmm...now that's different. And it certainly was in lots of ways, even if a little hard to follow at times. Set in the futuristic society of Arras, the country is run by the Guild--and everything is orchestrated by Spinsters who see the "weave" of everything. Much like the Fates of the myths, these Spinsters have control of all life in Arras--but the Guild has control of them.
In this society, children are given assignments (as well as marriage plans!) at age sixteen. All her life, Adelice's parents have striven to hide the fact that the she is special: she can see the weave without the aid of a loom. This means that Adelice will be taken away after her official testing, never to see her family again, so they work to help her learn to hide her talents. Of course it all goes badly and Adelice's family is torn asunder; she finds herself taken by the Guild, set up in a fancy room, given lots of things including a stylist, and told she will weave for the rest of her life. But Adelice is no shrinking violet, and she finds herself in trouble right off the bat--as well as the center of attention between two young men, Josten and Erik.
There's a lot to like in Crewel, including Adelice's rather ascerbic wit and the fast pace of the action. I do wish we hadn't found ourselves stuck between two gorgeous suitors because it's a little been there, done that. I also had some trouble figuring out just what was going on towards the end--I won't give it away here, but it is confusing as to how the main characters...did what they did. But I loved the idea of Crewel; its originality is a definite plus, and I'm eager to find out where we are going. I just hope we're not left hanging too long until the next installment.