Buy Study Guide In the world of Arras, your destiny is decided for you. The Guild controls everything - your food, your family, your profession, your birth, and your death. Those who show a talent for weaving are taken by the Guild to be the prestigious Spinsters at the Coventry. Spinsters are given eternal beauty, luxurious clothing, and delicious food - girls in Arras pray to be taken to be a Spinster - in Arras, it is the only thing a girl can aspire to be other than a secretary.
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Start your review of Crewel Crewel World, 1 Write a review Shelves: kat-s-book-reviews , books-that-deserve-painful-death , sci-fi-alicious , just-plain-bad , kat-s-rants , to-ya-or-not-to-ya , apocalypse-rah , oppressive-dystopian-regime Its been so long since I actively disliked a book that I wasnt quite sure what to do with myself. The more I tried to separate my dislike for the characters and storytelling and try to analyze it impartially, the more I found myself saying, Bugger this!
Drink anyone? Crewel is a post-apocalyptic dystopian world in which women are oppressed and tightly controlled. It is a world where matter and people can be weaved and stitched through special looms that Spinsters use. This should have been right up my alley. Unfortunately, Crewel is a heavily character-based novel. Even the main character, whose head we live in, is so vague and two dimensional that any actions and emotions she displays felt disconnected from the reality of the novel.
This story, even in its most intense moments, was emotionless and the opposite of affecting. So far removed that you can see what the actors are doing but engaging in them or the story is impossible. However, most of these characters barely even have a role. Elanor as well, while having a slightly bigger role, is little more than a convenient plot device and represents one of the only semi-positively written female characters.
Her role is so tightly packed into being a convenient tell-machine for the narrator to pass information, and to resolve a later plot point that there is nothing else to her. The plot itself is a hot mess with no direction or focus. It flits around distractedly, trying to accomplish everything and achieving nothing. The main selling point of this novel is the weaving — which Adelice does almost none of since she spends more time making goo goo eyes are boys than she ever does interacting with women or doing the damn thing this book was named after.
This is made even worse when you consider the face that the romance in this book is justifiably scoff-worthy. Each boy barely fares better. They are just two more wooden puppets in a whole cast of wooden puppets. For a novel that is supposed to be about the struggles of women in a highly patriarchal world, this novel was dreadfully sexist. Readers can and should make a deal about the slut-shaming and complete lack of positive female characters.
But then, I guess, one could also sweep that aside with justifications. Because there are unpleasant and horrible women out there — because women are people, and people come in a mixed bag. And a society so entirely preoccupied with purity would result in citizens slut-shaming girls for acting outside of those bounds. So true. Put it this way: When comparing the relevance and representation given to male and female characters in relation to their contribution to the novel, what does it say about women?
Almost every single male character we meet is important. Cormac, Jost, Erik are the three big ones. People just doing their job. Only one male with a speaking role is depicted badly, which is a drunk, handsy official at a party — and he is still not portrayed worse than the woman trying to vie for his attention. At least, the characters narrating the situation focus on how disgusting she is, while he only gets a passing mention.
The only important women in this book are Adelice and the women who torment her. We are introduced to whole batches of women, who are immediately dismissed by the character and text as meaningless and valueless. Just simpering morons waiting to get mated. Even her own younger sister cares for little else.
It seems no one is as deep and thoughtful as Adelice. Then when she enters Coventry with a large group of her peers, they are immediately shown to be jealous and power-hungry, but ultimately completely inconsequential.
What the menfolk are doing. The only exception to this rule, because it is a pattern repeated yet again when Adelice joins the Spinsters who are also cliquey and immediately dismissed from the narrative as pointless and worthless like the literally dozens of other women we meet, is Maela and Pryana.
Maela is a power-hungry psychopath and Pryana is a power-hungry, vicious, idiot. Both are stupid and extremely ineffective at what they do. She is the sole exception. Add to this the fact that the women in this novel all act inexplicably irrational. There is evil Cormac, and evil Maela and evil Pryana. You can depend on the evil women to be emotional, lashing out and sometimes hysterical. Behaviour that is never depicted in the men.
For example, Maela asks Adelice to remove a strand from the weave. Maele takes her scalpel and tears into the weave out of anger. So Pryana… blames Adelice?! Because that totally makes sense.
And she spends the rest of the novel irrationally tormenting Adelice. Valery, similarly blames Adelice for things that are entirely out of her control. It is so manufactured and senseless that it made the novel ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the fact that Adelice spent the novel entirely focused on boys.
Crewel: A Novel