Review By Erica Shaw (or Wall-Eeka)
‘Woven’ (8 out of 10), Written by Michael Jensen and David Powers King. Scholastic Press. Available now.
Michael Jensen and David Powers King have created a fascinating world in this Young Adult Fantasy novel. You may remember Jensen making news in 2013 when Utah publishing company, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, refused to include in his biographical information that he lives with his boyfriend in Salt Lake City. In a wise move, Scholastic Press stepped in and released "Woven."
Nels is a lowly peasant with wishes to become a knight of Avërand. His dreams are thwarted when a shadowy traveler comes to Cobblestown looking to wreak havoc and tear apart the order of the kingdom. Princess Tyra is the only one who can help Nels put everything back together, guided by a magical tailor who knows a few secrets about both of their pasts.
Nels and Tyra take on a difficult mission to uncover an ancient needle, and in the process learn that their own bravery and strength will be as valuable as the magic contained in the artifact.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the magical loom or sewing theme (the 2008 film "Wanted" comes to mind), yet it feels so original here. Jensen and King have created this world a detail at a time, and it shows. Fabricators are the wizards here, using thread rather than wands. Like any wizard, Fabricators also have the ability to use their powers to deceive, harm, heal, and protect. It is essentially a story of good and evil and a fight to control fate.
We are immediately thrown into the mystery of the story with a strange man at the city gates, and the suspense just continues. The strength of this story is the way it is paced. You are taken from one event to another quickly, and just as soon as you learn answers, more questions are given. The effect is 344 pages flying by.
Tyra is a complex character with levels of motivation that peel away as the novel progresses. Yes, she wants the handsome, strong knight to be hers but we learn that there is more to it than a simple girlish crush. The pressure she faces to one day rule the kingdom brings insecurity and fear. We see her confidence increase as she faces challenges. I can appreciate her growth here so much more than some Young Adult fiction (Cough. "Twilight." Cough.) whose characters leave you feeling little more than annoyance when it comes to their “struggles.”
Nels is a typical well-loved hero of a character. You can’t help but adore him while also wishing there was more substance to his character. The banter that develops between Nels and Tyra makes for an enjoyable read.
A tale of courage, deception, revenge, love, danger, treachery, and trickery. Basically everything you want in a fantasy novel.
“The world is more tangible than I realize.”
Jensen’s and King’s world is indeed a tangible one and for that I give it an 8 out of 10.
Woven is available now. More information at wovenbook.com.
NOTE: don’t read the online summary included with the book if you’d rather avoid a spoiler.