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Woven by Michael Jensen {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

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 {Just Hatched}

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.


  1. What are you talking about, I already finished it last night (~5 stars)
  2. Definitely going to be reading this next (~4 stars)
  3. Keeping and hoping to get back to (~3 stars)
  4. Probably not getting back to but someone else will like it (~2 stars)
  5. 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?

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

Woven by Michael Jensen

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. That kind of writing level is why I never read many middle grade books, not even when I was the right age for them. I hate it when I want to find out something, but don’t really want to read the book. I’m actually curious about that magic as well, because it sounds a bit different from the usual magic found in other stories.
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    • Agreed! I was reading adult books at that age and still can’t stand that sort of writing! Apparently the magic is based on everyone being a thread in the great weaving and the paint was actually dye that influences people’s emotions and then some people can also pull on your thread to influence you :D

  2. I’m attracted by the covers and the idea of magic that is based on pulling threads. But I rarely enjoy middle grade books (because of the tone) so I am going to skip it.
    If you find out what the magic is all about I wanna know though. :D
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  3. I’m almost always disappointed by writing that strikes me mainly as “standard” writing, whether it by standard MG, YA, or a specific genre. The one exception is when I pick up a book looking for a light read, because in that case I’m wanting something that’s just what I expect.
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    • That is so true! I always want writing that stands out from everything else, though sometimes I’m pickier than other times haha

  4. Woven’s language is definitely MG, which can be annoying for an adult… but I think it will really appeal to the target audience. I do worry that Scholastic might be doing it a disservice by marketing it primarily as a YA title though.

    That said, I LOVED the unique magic system. The book starts a little slow and typical, but by chapter 4, I couldn’t put it down. The magic is based entirely on weaving/sewing, so it’s not paint that they reference, but dyes. In this world, everyone is a thread in the Great Tapestry that is reality. The magic system isn’t 100% explained in the book (this is planned as a trilogy, after all), but I feel like I understood it enough to really enjoy the book. Different dyes, when cast on individuals, provoke different emotional responses, and the “Fabricators” can pull people’s “threads” to further make them behave as they wish. I think you should give it a shot through chapter 3 and then decide if you’ll continue. I’m really looking forward to the sequel!

    • Yeah, I really didn’t think that it fit into YA well at all.

      Ooo cool! But now I know how the magic works so I’m satisfied ;-). Thanks so much for the recommendation though!

  5. It’s really interesting hearing just first impressions, and it sounds like it’s been pretty freeing for you to declare it a no-go. :)
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  6. I was kind of intrigued by this as well but mg can be tough.
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  7. Hahaha I hate when this happens – there’s an element to a book you’re curious about, but the book itself is a no-go for you. I was thinking that my step-son’s little brother (who loves to read) might really like this though. So I’m putting it in my list of books for him and if he reads it I’ll have him explain everything for me and I’ll pass it along ;)
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    • Right?? I keep thinking maybe I’ll go try it again and then remember how annoyed I was D: Yes! I need small children to read the middle grade that I can’t manage, haha

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