"Brightly Woven" by Alexandra Bracken (Debut Author)

Fellow Bookworms, I'm pleased to inform you that I've found another book so amazing, you're going to have trouble putting it down. Brightly Woven is so lush and rich that it's almost surprising this is Alexandra Bracken's debut novel. Fans of Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore will soak this story up. In fact, this is the first teen stand-alone to truly capture me in a way that no book has done since Cashore's debut novel Graceling was still out in hardback. It's also one of the best teen fantasy novels I've read.

The novel grips you almost immediately. After being introduced to our main character, a girl named Sydelle who lives in the desert, the novel soon introduces North, a secretive wizard who takes Sydelle away from the only home she's ever known. At first, Sydelle feels nothing but anger toward North and wants to return to her disaster-ridden home. The two bicker throughout much of the story, ignoring the romantic tension steadily building between them.

We find out that there's something special about Sydelle. There's a reason that North chose her to accompany him on his journey to prevent a war in the kingdom. There's also something going on behind the scenes with North himself... The way Bracken layers the mystery is fresh and invigorating. It's fun to think about what may be going on and the answer fits perfectly within the novel.

My only real gripe with the novel is the fact that certain parts could have been fleshed out more. For example, Bracken has the same problem as Cashore when it comes to building romantic tension only to hover on the actual resolution for a brief blink-and-you-miss-it span of time.

All in all, I'm glad I picked up this book. I had accidentally stumbled across Bracken's blog a few months ago and discovered that she had published a book. I picked it up not expecting much one way or the other and wound up falling in love with all the fantasy and intrigue I found myself surrounded by. Definitely worth a read!