book reviews / fairy tale / fantasy

Book Review: Warped

Maurissa Guibord

YA Fantasy

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The best thing about this book may be the title. I hang out with weavers, so I get the pun.

A warp is the yarn that goes on a loom first, the part that goes up and down. The weft is the yarn that goes back and forth. So bingo, Guibord’s novel is about a medieval tapestry.

But warped also describes something perverted. So boom, it’s the story of a cursed medieval tapestry.

Warped also means something twisted or bent or out shape. So enter into the tapestry a shape-shifting 16th Century nobleman/unicorn. And a witch who traps him in her tapestry as a way of transforming her body back into a young woman’s.

Warped means to lead astray. So now enter a young village maiden, whose requisite purity lures our hero/unicorn to his doom.

And warped means to distort or falsify. So finally, enter Tessa, a modern teenager who has visions of said village maid. Tessa buys the dusty tapestry at an auction. She pulls a loose thread and unwittingly frees the unicorn from the tapestry. A unicorn who disconcertingly transforms into William de Chaucy, haughty nobleman. But even given their growing attraction, can they trust each other? Especially when Tessa’s visions may turn out to be memories, and she may have been the maiden to betray Will all those centuries ago?

What makes this book work is the blend of the fantastic and the mundane. I theorize that’s key to the success of many YA novels.

School + Wizards = Harry Potter
 
High school life + vampires = Twilight
 
Gossipy best friend + secrets from dad + shopping + cursed tapestry + unicorn + cute medieval boy = Warped

It’s not new, this tale of the normal person who guides the extraordinary outsider through the intricacies of modern life. But there is much to like about how Guibord handles it. Our heroine Tessa has just the right pinch of sarcasm without becoming annoying. Tessa’s first description of Will as “escaped lunatic male model” is great. Tessa is likeable and relatable. Her mixed reaction to her father’s new dating life was realistic. She displays resourcefulness and courage in helping Will and battling the curse. I wouldn’t describe her as charismatic, but her reactions are very plausible.

The do-I-trust-you-don’t-I-trust-you dynamic between Will and Tessa is the main point of conflict. It’s a more compelling obstacle than the curse itself. While the plot is resolved, I didn’t feel it was adequately explained. Besides the witch, the 3 Fates get involved, plus assorted other creatures trapped in the tapestry. The mechanics of how Tessa is tied to the maiden in her vision, and how a few threads relate to the balance of the universe, is hinted at but not fully articulated. It seems as though Guiford could have eliminated one subplot and then fleshed out the ones that remained.

I give this book 3 out of 5 threads.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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