Woven brings an interesting premise: everything in the world is part of the unseen Great Tapestry, tended by a few Master Threaders who maintain it and make sure nothing tangles or unravels the fabric. But what happens if one of those Threaders decides they want to weave things according to their own will?
Nels had wanted to be a knight of Avërand his entire life, until the actions of the Princess Tyra caused him to rethink his goals. Before he can do too much toward those changes, he finds himself dead and having to rely on the haughty princess to find the Needle that can bring him back to life. Their relationship starts off rather rocky, as the Princess believes herself to better than a lowly commoner like Nels.
The plot was very solid and the pacing was steady. There is a lot of depth to the world in the book, so much so that Woven is wide-open to sequels. The story in this book wraps up nicely, without the need of a sequel, but there are enough possible threads that could be woven (Jilia, for example, or perhaps a prequel) into their own tapestries.
The only major part of this book that was wanting was in some of the characterization. A few characters felt cookie-cutter in their actions and motivations (notably Sir Arek—he reminded me a lot of Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in his thick-headed single-mindedness). Princess Tyra was perhaps a bit too snotty, especially since her parents did not seem particularly arrogant.
Outside of that, however, I really enjoyed Woven. Jensen and King wove a strong tale of destiny, intrigue, adventure, and peril, with just a little romance thrown in for good measure. If you don’t like romances, you don’t have to worry. This romance is very delicate and doesn’t overpower the story with smoldering looks or ripped bodices. There’s nary a Fabio to be found in here.
The magic in the book is handled well. It was rare, only understood by a few, and it worked well within the rules set up in the story. I also liked how it maintained its mysteriousness for the reader. Not everything was revealed, and the characters who could use it sometimes had to struggle to get it to work properly. It wasn’t all just peaches and cream and rainbows.
Woven is solid despite its weaknesses. I read it all in one day (which doesn’t happen all that often anymore), and it was worth my time. I have no trouble recommending it to you as an enjoyable book for young readers of all ages.
Release Date: February 2015 (USA)
ISBNs: 0545685729 (9780545685726)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Language: 1 (very minor)
Violence: 2 (murder, swordplay, peril, death)