Reviewed by Elizabeth Talbott

Sydelle is a young girl who lives in a mountain village that has had a drought for seven years straight. Life isn’t the best there, but it’s all she’s ever known. When the king of Palmarta dies, suspicion is cast on a nearby kingdom and war is ignited. As enemy soldiers invade her village, a wizard named Wayland North passes through and ends their drought. Her father, the village elder, offers him a gift in gratitude. The wizard unexpectedly chooses Sydelle and they are forced to comply. Now, she has to guide him to the new ruler of Palmarta because he has information that the king was assassinated by a third party, a dangerous and evil wizard, trying to incite war on purpose.

As much as Sydelle hates her situation, she knows she must help to save the many lives that the war would claim. However, Wayland is hiding a dark and devastating secret of his own. Can Sydelle work through her anger for the greater good? Will they avoid this dark wizard and the opposing army to deliver the lifesaving information?

The first couple of chapters of Brightly Woven are a little slow and I expected to be very bored by the middle. I wasn’t prepared for the wonderful and fast paced adventure that followed. The twist and turns of this story sometimes came out of nowhere and always kept me guessing. There is something for everyone in this book: adventure, curses, evil magicians, political intrigue, mystery, and a dash of romance.

The real strength of Brightly Woven lies in the characters. Sydelle is no shrinking violet. She is smart, capable, and very confident. Although she was travelling very reluctantly, much of the time she took charge because Wayland had no idea where he was going. I respected her so much more than a lot of YA heroines. She also has a vulnerable, naive side that made her truly believable and I think many readers will be able to relate to her despite the book’s setting and time period being so remote from our own. Wayland is also an interesting character. I didn’t expect to like him at all because he entered the story while demanding ownership of Sydelle. I think it takes a great writer to make me like a character that has done something so unforgivable. As much as I didn’t want to, I did end up liking him. He has his own dark secret that he tries to wash away with alcohol or simply ignore despite it’s definite permanence. Deep inside, he is a good person who really cares about Sydelle.

My only complaint about Brightly Woven is that the pacing of the ending was a little off and there was one particular aspect that seemed a little too convenient to be true. Other than that, Brightly Woven proved to be a very good young adult fantasy with a breathtakingly beautiful book cover. I would recommend this to people looking for a great fantastical adventure.

Rating: 4/5

Elizabeth is a student at Cal State Long Beach. She laughs a lot, loves cats, and lives for music and books. You can read her blog here: http://titania86-fishmuffins.blogspot.com/.

This book was provided free of any obligation by EgmontUSA. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.