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Brightly Woven Paperback – June 28, 2011

111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Sixteen-year-old Sydelle’s world changes forever after the appearance of Wayland North, a mischievous wizard who lives on the fringes of society. He enlists her help in a race to the capital to prevent all-out war with countries bordering their homeland. North claims to have chosen Sydelle, a weaver, because she is able to repair his cloaks without damaging their magic. But as they are chased through the countryside by wild weather and a vengeful sorcerer, and held back by North’s sudden bouts of illness, Sydelle suspects he has selected her for other reasons. The pair’s romance develops slowly. At first they bicker like children, with Sydelle’s wild rages only outmatched by the unpredictable weather. Despite North’s manipulations and Sydelle’s disagreeable nature, they are fun to follow. Bracken’s debut starts out strong, but the first-person narration wears thin as the book draws to a close. Nevertheless, readers will be caught up by the pair’s breathless adventure, the impending darkness, and their ultimate triumph, story elements some more experienced authors can’t always nail down. Grades 7-10. --Courtney Jones --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA; Reprint edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606842102
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606842102
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She recently relocated to New York City, where she lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books. You can visit her online at or on Twitter (@alexbracken).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on March 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sydelle has always lived in a small village in the desert, where it hasn't rained in nearly ten years and not much changes. When Palmarta's king dies and the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death incites a war, Sydelle's village is threatened, and she is rescued by Wayland North, a young wizard. Sydelle's talent for weaving and her quick mind catches his interest, and he needs her help if he's stop the war and the dangerous, vindictive wizard behind it.

Brightly Woven is a rousing, humorous, and adventurous book that fans of Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore can enjoy. This is a clever novel, seamlessly combining the art of weaving and the art of magic to form a story full of intrigue and suspense. Bracken's characters are well-portrayed and complicated, especially Wayland North. His own story is rather unexpected and fascinating, and he has a few twists and surprises about him, some foreseen and some not, and his personal struggles make for a very interesting subplot.

The story moves quickly, keeping you on edge, and Bracken packs a lot of action and travel into her pages. Sydelle's and North's journey takes them all across Palmarta and further, showing the breadth of Bracken's fantasy world, though at times it would have been nice to have a few more details and for certain situations to be fleshed out a bit more to avoid some confusion. However, the story is entertaining and rounds off nicely, with a very satisfying resolution. It's a relief to have have a solid fantasy novel that doesn't leave you longing for a sequel, or require a whole slew of companion novels to resolve the conflict. Brightly Woven is a nice, lightly romantic and adventurous read with depth and danger.

Cover Comments: This cover is really pretty!
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Debbie's World of Books on March 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I would give this book 2.5 stars.

From what I've seen on other blogs so far apparently I am in the minority in being disappointed by this book. It combined fantasy and romance and had me excited to start it but I did not really care for either of the main chracters. Sydelle's character seemed unrealistic. Yes, I can understand she was upset at Wayland for not staying to protect her village but she totally seems to brush off the fact that her parents basically traded her away to Wayland. I expected her to have some anger towards them and then eventually come to the realization that they wanted to get her away to safety but there was no internal struggle. Watching Sydelle's behavior she did not strike me as being mature enough to come to this realization right away.

Wayland's character was hard for me to like as well. He initially comes off as someone who loves to drink and doesn't know his limits. I think it was supposed to be implied later on he drinks because of his the pain from him curse but I don't really buy it. The way he acted towards Sydelle for much of the story made it hard for me to believe that she was starting to fall for him. The connection seemed to come very abruptly to me.

The ending also seemed awkward. I was surprised by how easily Sydelle seemed to be able to master and utilize her power just when she needed to. The queen's and the sorceress imperial's behavior towards Sydelle seemed to swing back and forth on a whim. I hate sounding so negative in a review but I really found this a hard book to get through.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By octobercountry on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I first read the dust jacket blurb I thought this book sounded as if it had great promise, but in the end I have to admit it didn't really work for me. I had the feeling that, while the author may have very clearly seen these characters and this world in her mind's eye, she just wasn't able to get that vision onto the written page.

Also, I have to say that some of the plot developments were all over the place---seemingly random at times. And there was one HUGE thing that happened at the end that didn't make sense, and that I didn't believe for even a fraction of an instant---so that was kind of annoying.

I could probably overlook a lot of this if I had really liked the hero and heroine, but----oh, they're not bad, but they just didn't appeal to me all that much. On the other hand, this certainly did throw the reader right into the adventure instantly, and the pace never let up..... Still.... not a major diss on my part, but I'm not really going to recommend it either. I suppose I'd give it two-and-a-half stars.

The cover is just another one of these generically pretty photo dust jackets that really reflects in no way whatsoever on the contents of the book. (Honestly, I have seen just about ENOUGH of these.) I'll add that the girl's appearance doesn't capture the will and stubbornness of the main character at all, and in fact looks rather worryingly inanimate....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miss Print VINE VOICE on June 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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.
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