When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.
The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.
With a kingdom at stake, not to mention countless lives at risk, the pressure is without a doubt on for our main characters in Brightly Woven. Is that really too much responsibility for a talented weaver from a remote village and a mysterious wizard who could ask for anything, but only wants Sydelle? If you ask me, YEAH that is too much responsibility! But that's what Bracken put our main characters up against.
As a debut YA novelist, Bracken amazed me with how easy she made it for me and I'm sure other readers to become immediately engrossed in the world she created in Brightly Woven. I felt like I was walking (and sometimes running) alongside Syd and North. Reality faded and was replaced by Bracken's world. Her visuals were captivating and her characters became very real, I had to constantly remind myself that this was in fact not reality in order to keep my anxiety to a minimum.
Sydelle is our heroine and although she carried the typical traits readers tend to desire in a female lead (strong, courageous, witty and independent), she was also at the same time very unique and refreshing in my opinion. She was constantly posing questions of those around her that I'm sure readers will find themselves seeking the answers to as well. When her ignorance for any given situation irritated her, readers will empathize with her because they will be sharing her feelings of frustration as well. She was beautiful, fiery and determined throughout the entire story. And her relationship with Wayland North had me turning page after page just to see how it progressed.
North has now become one of my favorite leading male characters of all time. This is not an easy category to obtain entry. Just like Syd, North possessed traits all readers love in a male lead (protective, mysterious, tall, dark and handsome lol) but at the same time was able to cut away from the normal pack of male leads thanks to Bracken's excellent descriptions and the ways she portrayed him throughout the novel. He was constantly struggling to do what had to be done, all the while leaving Syd and the readers wondering if he was trying to do what was right for the kingdom, for Syd or just for himself.
With non-stop action, breathtaking scenery, love triangles, mystery, a villain readers will want to strangle themselves and a story that will snatch readers from the comfort of reality and shoot them straight into a fantasy world unlike any other they've ever come across before, Bracken has created a fantastic piece of writing that readers will never want to put down.
I want more of Bracken's writing and more Brightly Woven please! Please please please let this become a series, or at the very LEAST a trilogy!
I gave Brightly Woven 5 shamrocks!!!!!