Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.
Woven by Michael Jensen is the start of a middle grade fantasy focused on a young boy who has a hidden past that is going to come back to bite him in a big way! The magic involves paint apparently and pulling on threads that only the magic user can see; sounds pretty cool :D.
Note: I received an advanced copy of Woven from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Woven by Michael Jensen
Published by Scholastic Press on Jan. 27th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.
All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.
But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.
Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person—his only hope for understanding what happened to him—the kingdom’s heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.
Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.
How is the writing style?
The writing is pretty standard for a middle grade novel. I get a slight sense that Woven is aimed at the late middle grade, just before young adult audience. It’s told in third person past from just Nels’ point of view as far as I can tell. I found myself rolling my eyes a bit at the language and explanations for things that seemed obvious as sometimes happens with middle grade.
There apparently will be chapter header illustrations, but they aren’t there yet :(. The beginning of each chapter in the ARC though has a weird printed texture that probably is supposed to look like stone? It ends up make the text a bit harder to read so that annoyed me. Hopefully the final copy is a bit easier on the eyes!
General tone of the beginning
There is a prologue that features an older man come back to the kingdom after a long time away. At first it seemed like he might be a good guy, but then he started using his magic (the pulling on threads and using paints kind mentioned above) in sneaky ways that I don’t fully approve of. The first chapter then of course focuses on our innocent farm boy who just wants to get his chores done so he can go to the fair. Then a mysterious stranger shows up, magically does all his chores for him and convinces the boy to come with him to the fair. Woven was painfully tropey in the beginning with all the feel of a classic fantasy story about a chosen boy.
Setting, genre, etc?
The setting is pretty typical fantasy in some kind of alternative medieval period with magic belonging to a select and secret few. Like I said above, Woven feels like it might end up being mature middle grade, but it is definitely middle grade given the language.
- What are you talking about, I already finished it last night (~5 stars)
- Definitely going to be reading this next (~4 stars)
- Keeping and hoping to get back to (~3 stars)
- Probably not getting back to but someone else will like it (~2 stars)
- Don’t really want to push this copy on anyone else (~1 star)
I hate becoming cliche, but I’m going to have to give Woven a 2 star verdict as well. I don’t feel any desire to continue it, but a middle grade reader would probably quite enjoy it. I am kind of intrigued by the magic system though, I just wish the writing level wasn’t quite so annoying. Can someone get their kid to read it and then tell me about the magic? >.>
Have you read this one yet? Are you inclined to check it out?
Woven by Michael Jensen
© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.