Brightly Woven Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Brightly Woven

Sydelle helps a wizard to stop an imminent war between her country and a neighboring kingdom, in the process falling in love with the wizard and discovering she has dangerous magical powers. Sydelle is a talented weaver who lives in the tiny village of Cliffton which is part of the country of Palmarta. The King of their country has just died and her village is worried that the new Queen Eglantine is too young to rule. Their little village is at the border of Palmarta and a neighboring, hostile country called Saldorra. The King had been making efforts to improve trade relations between Palmarta and Saldorra, in the hopes that the two countries can live in peace with one another.
Click here to see the rest of this review

One day, Sydelle runs into a handsome young man while she is out roaming the nearby cliffs. The young man is a wizard named North. He asks to speak with Sydelle's father, who is the village elder. He tells her father that he suspects the King was poisoned, maybe by the Saldorrans. Sydelle's father notices that North's magical cloak is in dire need of mending and he calls for Sydelle to fix it. She does an excellent job mending the cloak and North is impressed. The next day, there is news that Saldorran soldiers may be preparing to march on Cliffton. Because they want Sydelle to be safe, they ask her to go with North to the country's capital, Provincia, away from the war that's brewing at the border.

Sydelle is mad that North won't use his magic to somehow save her village – something North thinks is unreasonable. When they enter a nearby village, she is accosted by a man named who claims to be a wizard. Upon finding out that North is a wizard, too, he challenges him to a duel. North wins the duel by punching the other wizard in the face. A few moments later, yet another wizard decides to prove how powerful he is by blowing a blue powder on everyone that makes everyone face their worst nightmare. To escape, North uses more magic to transport them far away – a skill called “twisting”. North explains that the man who threw the powder is Reuel Dorwan, and has been tracking North for a while. North would have killed Reuel if he had the chance. He tells her that they're likely being tracked at the moment as Reuel uses things like beetles that can sense magic to alert him of their whereabouts. North explains that Reuel is one of the few men who are in league with the hedge witches who rogue magic users shunned by the wizarding community.

When Sydelle and North arrive at another town, another wizard challenges North to a duel. The barman refuses to let the wizards duel in his tavern, however. North explains to Sydelle that wizards are ranked based on how many duels they win. In town, Sydelle decides to start earning her living as a weaver. There is a warning of a dragon nearby and North and his friend, Owain, go off to slay it. Sydelle finds out from a local weaver that the town used to be a center for Master Weavers but when hedge witches attacked the town, many of the weavers either left town or succumbed to a debilitating illness likely caused by a poison concocted by the hedge witches. The symptoms of the poison are similar to the symptoms Sydelle notices North suffering from. She wonders if North has also been poisoned.

Sydelle and North hear of a wolf attack in another town and North feels obliged to go and take care of it, before the wolf kills any innocents. He thinks Reuel might be behind it. North goes out to deal with the wolf but is returns, exhausted and feverish. When nursing him back to health, Sydelle notices that the tips of his hands and feet are blackened. She finds out that North has been cursed to die an early death. It is a family curse that killed his father and grandfather the same way. North is very secretive about why he was cursed and how to break the curse.

One day, Sydelle becomes deathly sick due to injgesting a poison. North mixes an antidote that saves her life. After she recovers, he explains that he thinks Reuel is behind her poisoning and he tells her it was the same poison that killed the King. North and Sydelle decide to keep moving as if they stay in one place too long, Reuel might catch up with them. Unfortunately, Reuel is one step ahead of them and is waiting for them outside of town. Reuel reveals that the poison he created was actually intended for North. North challenges him to a duel. If North wins, Reuel must leave them alone. North and Reuel's duel is interrupted by an earthquake and North twists away, bringing Sydelle with him. North is injured after the duel and his curse also weakens him.

Sydelle decides that she must take North's journal of notes and bring it as proof to the Imperial Sorceress in Provincia so that she can warn the country not to go to war with Salderra. It turns out that Reuel has been trying to cause chaos by assassinating the king and making it look like the Salderrans did it. She takes off on her own, but North soon joins her, though he is weak.

In Provincia, Sydelle discovers that North's mother is none other than the Imperial Sorceress, Hecate. Hecate doesn't believe North when he tells her that Reuel is behind the imminent war. Sydelle is appalled that Hecate doesn't care enough about her little village of Cliffton to stop the impending war. North is disgusted with his mother as he understands that she is taking advantage of the youth and naivety of the Queen to essentially rule Palmarta. While she is staying at the castle, she overhears North and his mother having an argument about her. She hears them saying that she might be a very powerful sorceress – capable of creating natural disasters like earthquakes. North tries to assure his mother that he has put a “lock” on her powers so that she's no danger but the Imperial Sorceress is unconvinced. She learns that her magic is unstable and for that reason, people like her are called “jinxes”. She also learns that her blood may actually be an ingredient important in creating the cure for North's curse.

Confused and upset that her friendship with North may have all been a sham, Sydelle tries to run away. North tries to convinces her to trust him but she can't. Later, she is invited to visit Queen Eglantine who reveals that she wants to trade her to the King of Auster (the Salderran King) in order that he will stop vying for her crown. Sydelle is given a sleeping draft and delivered to the King of Auster. There, she finds out that Reuel was the one responsible for convincing the King that she is the Goddess of Destruction, a goddess they worship. In Salderra, Sydelle is treated very kindly and with respect as everyone thinks she is a goddess. The King brings Sydelle to a mountain and expects her to level it. Sydelle calls down an avalanche which sweeps away the King and Reuel. In the nick of time, North appears and twists away with her, saving her life. Sydelle forgives North for his betrayal.

One day, she is summoned to see the Queen again. This time, Sydelle is trapped in the same room as Reuel who had threatened to kill the Queen if she didn't find a way to capture Sydelle for him. The Queen manages to stab Reuel who thought she was harmless. Unfortunately, she doesn't succeed in killing him but this buys time enough to get the guards to capture the sleazy wizard and throw him in the dungeon.

Sydelle returns to Cliffton and her old life at the village and North reunites with her there. The story ends with Sydelle vowing that she will research a remedy to cure North of his curse.
Best part of story, including ending: I thought North's magical cloak and abilities was very unique and interesting and I like the way he "twists" away from one location to another.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when North agrees to duel with one of the wizards and ends the round by punching him in the face. It was a hilarious scene since everyone, including the belligerent wizard, did not expect him to do that.

Opinion about the main character: I like that Sydelle was clever and suspected from the start that North did not just arbitrarily decide to take her along with him to Provincia. I also like that Sydelle was brave enough to confront the Imperial sorceress about saving Cliffton. The Imperial sorceress seemed like a very imposing and frighteningly powerful figure and it took a lot of courage and heart for Sydelle to voice her opinion faced with such a presence.

The review of this Book prepared by Sharon C. a Level 12 Black-Throated Green Warbler scholar

Chapter Analysis of Brightly Woven

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 30% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy world/fantasy past Political power play    -   Yes Political plotlets    -   preventing/managing clash/war between govts/kingdoms Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   a teen If magical mental powers:    -   can cast many different spells


Terrain    -   Forests

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Brightly Woven

Alexandra Bracken Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian