Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: Woven, by Michael Jensen and David Powers King

If you like fantasy books that are chock-full of magic, you will most likely enjoy Woven.

I'm going to do something I rarely do. I'm going to post the description from Amazon:

Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.

All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.

But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.

Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person -- his only hope for understanding what happened to him -- the kingdom's heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.

Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.

I knew going in that this really wasn't my kind of book. There are just too many fairy tale elements. There are witches and ghosts. Almost every item has magical properties. There's a sewing box that can get you out of almost any scrape. Magical rings and necklaces. Gargoyles that talk. People die but aren't really dead. Every obstacle encountered is easily overcome with some sort of magic.

If you like fairy tales, Woven is a good one. The world is interesting. Adhering to the normal fairy tale tropes, there is a kingdom with a princess. And then there's the villagers feeling very far apart from the royalty. The lore is based on the notion that reality is really a tapestry. The Great Tapestry, cared for by the taylor, that can become unraveled. The magic is called Fabrication. The book is full of sewing references -- stitching, binding, seam rippers, weaving, loose threads. As a person who enjoys sewing as a hobby, it was entertaining.

Tyra is a spoiled brat. I got frustrated with her lack of growth, even after this long journey where she has to overcome all these obstacles. And it's obvious she couldn't do it without Nels.

And speaking of that long journey, Woven really lagged in the middle. The journey just got too long. But that may be because I became unimpressed with the next encounter with some horrible magical creature and the constant use of more magic to escape. Like I said, just not my thing.

Woven is well written, and easy to read. I would recommend Woven to the middle school crowd who like a descriptive fairy tale set in a unique magical environment.

Published by Scholastic, January 27, 2015
ARC obtained from Library Media Connection Magazine
344 pages

Rating: 3/5

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