Woven

Narrated by: Rebecca McKernan
Length: 13 hrs and 49 mins
4 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For 30 years, Elaina has sat in her tower, fingers caught in an eternal dance, cursed to weave the tapestry of life on her loom. Bound by an enchanted mirror whose magic shows her the distant lives of the people of Camelot, she must forever watch a land which remains ever beyond her reach. Elaina despairs that she will ever experience more than just the shadows of life, until one day, a face appears in the mirror that will change her life, and possibly her fate, forever.

Guinevere is losing her mind. When a severe injury to her head nearly kills her and awakens alternate personalities suppressed from her past, Guinevere learns that one of them is plotting with a knight of the round table to murder King Arthur and take control of Camelot. In the midst of war, Guinevere fights to save both her own life and the man she loves, each day coming closer to succumbing to the violent personalities within her.

Inspired by Arthurian legend and Lord Alfred Tennyson’s ballad, "The Lady of Shalott", Woven spins a tale of two women who must risk everything to save those they love most into an epic of enchantment, love, and madness.

©2017 BreeAnn Moore (P)2018 BreeAnn Moore

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Woven

Elaina is stuck in a tower, forever weaving the tapestry of life on a loom. She has been enchanted, she doesn’t know why or who holds her there. She wants to escape, but can’t figure out how to.
Guinevere is plagued with these awful headaches and doesn’t seem to know what she wants. She hears voices from past lives and doesn’t know what to do about them.
It took me a long time to figure out what was going on. There were some really good parts to the story and I did enjoy the descriptions of the landscapes. A few of the characters were really great too, King Arthur and Sir Gareth were my favorites. I wish Elaina and Guinevere would’ve been stronger and more decisive. They both did come around near the end, but I would’ve loved to see them have the same spirit throughout.
The narrator had a great voice and distinct character voices, my only complaint is, I noticed a lot of repeating of sentences throughout the book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

3.5* review

The premise of this book sounded really promising but this was definitely a case where the first part lacked a lot. It was slow, it was confusing and I honestly did not like the narrator at all. To be frank, I found the narrator’s wailing voice to be a bit much. Okay, she wasn’t supposed to be wailing – she was supposed to be yelling someone’s name but to me, it sounded like wailing and I could not get into it. It took me almost three quarters of the book to finally start to enjoy the story.

The main thing that drew me in was how Arthur and Camelot was interwoven into the storyline. I really enjoyed the story of Camelot growing up so this premise really drew me in. I also thought it was a unique spin for Guinevere because she was always portrayed as this regal Queen (though there are mixed stories about her loyalty to Arthur and her betrayal for Lancelot). To me, I found interesting that in this book, she was losing her mind.

Another aspect that I found intriguing was Elaina’s part. I am not really familiar with the Lady of Shalott but I liked how Elaina’s predicament was somewhat similar with Rapunzel. The whole idea of being locked up in a tower and only having this old sorceress/witch as her captor. Then there was that whole situation with a man climbing up the tower to rescue her. Sounds familiar? So anyways, I thought I liked the idea of this strange mix-mash of a beloved Disney fairytale with the ballad of “The Lady of Shalott” as well as the court of Camelot.

Anyways, there was a lot of world-building in this book to the point that it was a little too much and therefore it ended up making the book way too slow in my opinion. However, the ending more than made up for it hence why I ended up giving it a 3.5* instead of 3*.

The one thing that bothered me, to be honest, other than the narrator’s voice, was the female representation in the book. Both Elaina and Guinevere were portrayed as such weak people. I think if I had read the book in a physical format, it might have been a bit different because the narrator really played out those scenes with those “OMG, I can’t move” or “OMG, what do I do” or “OMG, my eyes won’t open”, or “OMG, it’s not me!” etc. For me, it was even more bothersome because the Guinevere that I know in the Arthurian legends is supposed to be this strong female leader but in this book, that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, she came off as weak and was always struggling with herself.

Overall though, the ending was decent and I still enjoyed the parts where Arthur and Merlin were there. I actually really liked them for the most part. But I can completely forego that narrator.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An unlikely telling of an over-told genre

Bree Moore's Woven is unlike anything else in the genre. This story is real(not just sunshine and rainbows) and easily could have been the true telling of this fable. It's hard to think that happily ever afters didn't really exist in this time period and that women's rights hadn't been invented yet, but you can still see the stirring thought that they are there and coming to fruition. The author brings such depth to the characters that you are enthralled in the multiple aspects and facets of the story. This is a story for a woman who wants both fantasy and reality in one solid book. It was a good listen, the narrator was good, and the story is one I am sure I will come back to again. I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A new twist on an old classic

Woven is a retelling of classic Arthurian legend in a new, unique way. And for something that has been retold as many times as the stories of King Arthur and his knights, a story that can put fresh life in the classic tales and twist it in an unpredictable way deserves fairly high praise. I cannot say more about the story without risking giving away its secrets, but if you are a fan of Arthurian legend, you’ll enjoy it.

Woven is well written and fun, but I did have a few issues with the story. Many of the characters felt flat and did not have many dimensions, or did not gain many until the end of the story. Their reactions to tragic events and deaths were often odd and muted and many of the characters you would expect to have powerful personalities were underwhelming. I found that although I really enjoyed the story, I didn’t develop an attachment to or feel empathy for any of the characters. Also, much like true Arthurian legend, magical events and people are not really explained, the source and origin of legendary items are not revealed, and the true motivations (and fates) of many of the characters remain a mystery. While this may be a stable of a millennium-old classical genre, it makes this narrative feel incomplete in some places.

One more note about the book: The plot develops slowly -- perhaps too slowly for some people. I found myself confused about what is really going on for the first half or so of the book, and was double-checking character’s names and was tempted to go back to the previous chapters to make sure I had not missed details somewhere along the way. That puzzlement will pass and your patience will be rewarded when the twists and turns of the plot are revealed, but you have to get there before it happens.

Rebecca McKernan does a decent job narrating this novel, but her accent was often so melodic that I found myself tuning out to what she was actually saying during long monologues in her “narrator voice” when characters were not talking. However, I do think her voice was fitting for the book given the genre and setting. There were some issues with audio repeating lines, but nothing that occurred so often it was detrimental to the overall performance.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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enjoyable

I enjoyed the story overall. It took me a bit to really get sucked in. The story definitely got darker as it progressed. There were a handful of issues with the recording. Random lines would repeat throughout the story. It wasn't frequent enough to make me stop listening.

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great listen

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked experiencing Camelot through female leads.
I did have some trouble differentiating between the two female leads. But the narrator does well with male voices. The pacing slows a bit towards the end, but not enough to deter listening or lose interest.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

retelling of arthur legend from different viewpoin

The story is a retelling of the Arthur legends but from the lady of Shalot's viewpoint. The writing is good but the story drug for me. I started to lose interest and it seemed to go on without anything happening at times.

If you like the Arthus legends this is not a bad story, just wasn't my cup of tea..

I requested this copy of the audiobook and have voluntarily left this review

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very Captivating

I love retellings and this one immediately captivated me by the worldbuilding and the beautifully done narration which immediately transports the listener into days of old steeped in myths and folklore. The characters are intriguing and the scenes feel so real. I am so happy I took a chance on this audioboook and recommend it to lovers of medieval fantasy.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Surprising!

I love retellings in general: they’re the perfect blend of something familiar and something unique. I know how the story should go (at least for the most part), but I’m constantly guessing what new twists this particular author is going to add. Woven was definitely full of twists, in many ways turning the tales upside down. No spoilers, but let’s just say that certain characters aren’t (only) who you think they are, nor are relationships between characters exactly what you’ve always heard them to be… and because we’re already in a world of magic, nearly anything is possible.

The story is told in third person limited, jumping around to different points of view—but primarily it bounces between Elaina (the Lady of Shalott), Sir Gareth, and Guinevere. Elaina and Mordred are lovers, well before Camelot’s time, and she becomes pregnant before her sister Morgan has her confined to her tower for her own protection. The Lady of Shalott pines away for unrequited love of Lancelot, or so we’ve been told… and this is both true, and not true in this story. Guinevere is unfaithful to King Arthur with Lancelot… which is also both true, and not true. Mordred and Arthur are said to be mortal enemies, and also father and son… which is true, but not in the same way you’ve always heard. The Lady of the Lake, the Sorceress Nimue, does imprison Merlin… but not for the reason you think. Moore even works in the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (only in this case it’s Sir Gareth). The way she weaves these familiar tales together (no pun intended) was delightful.

The story still ends the way the stories all end—it is a tragedy, after all, and generally I don’t like sad stories. But it’s kind of like going to see the film “Titanic”: you kind of know what you’re in for by the title, and to me, it’s somehow easier to take when I know it’s coming. The fun was figuring out how we’re going to get there this time around.

(One caution though: this story contains quite a few fairly descriptive rape scenes toward the end. I didn’t care for this part, but it didn’t bother me as much as it otherwise might, because it was really the only possible way I can think of to explain the story’s main twist. If this isn’t for you, though, I’d steer clear.)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Different Perspective on an Old Classic

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

This intriguing telling of a story that has fascinated many readers throughout the ages, is full of surprises and twists. The author was able to let you truly feel the loneliness of the protagonist and her heart wrenching despair on the realization of what fate and sorcery had in store for her. One minute she was the happiest creature on an enchanted earth and the next she was prisoner of dark forces and events. Today, when magic is not credible, we would probably call her a split personality and just as tormented. Lancelot came out as being a very disreputable character and not at all likable, Guinevere misunderstood and unhappy...
The narration was great and the only criticism I have is that it took quite a while for the narration to make sense and for the characters to connect in a plausible story. King Arthur's fans will want to listen to it just the same and will surely enjoy this variation.

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  • DabOfDarkness
  • 06-12-18

A bit long winded and short on action

I was looking forward to digging into this book. It’s Camelot as seen through a woman’s eyes and I expected new insights to this ancient tale. The story partially delivered. It wasn’t everything I hoped for but there were still parts that I enjoyed.

Guinevere and Elaina are the two main characters in the tale. Mostly, they simply react to situations they find themselves in. Morgan le Fey plays a role but she’s really working behind the scenes. However, I did like that she takes an active role instead of merely reacting to situations. Guinevere and Elaina were caught up in the plot instead of driving the plot.

Nearly every character is an emotional mess and this made the story feel one dimensional. Guinevere doesn’t know what she wants even when Morgan and Morgase aren’t messing with her memories and will. Elaina is angry and sad, rightly so since she’s imprisoned, but she also lets her fear keep her frozen in her situation. King Arthur is driven by pride and deep need to be loved completely and unconditionally. Lancelot/Mordred may or may not still be under an enchantment that makes him a lustful, self-centered man. Garrick’s heart yearns for glory and courtly love, turning him away from the solid love and comfort of wife and family. The emotional turmoil never ended and that made the plot a little exhausting and it dragged at times.

Half way through, I felt I needed a character map since some of the characters are doubled or tripled up. I believe Guinevere has Morgan and Morgase in her mind. Then Lancelot carries Mordred’s soul… or perhaps it’s the same soul but reincarnation is in play… I really wasn’t sure. Mordred of old (long before Lancelot was born) had a fling with Elaina. I am still not sure how much time has passed with Elaina trapped in the tower. In retrospect, I think there was some leaping back and forth in time but when I was listening to the tale, I thought Guinevere’s and Elaina’s tales were parallel.

I mostly enjoyed the side characters. Merlin comes into play late in the tale but he gets to be all mysterious and possibly all knowing. Garrick (or is it Gareth?) was an intense character. His dedication to his dream of becoming a knight was inspiring until I realized what it was costing his family. He’s so caught up in his dreams and goals he fails to see that perhaps his wife might also have dreams that she’s sacrificing for him. He was truly a tragic figure in this story and that made his role memorable. The Green Knight also puts in a spooky appearance and I would have liked more of him.

I never bonded with Guinevere or Elaina so the repeated near-rape scenes didn’t pull me into the story as much as I expected. I kept waiting for more from these ladies however they were just big balls of emotion and little else. I wanted to be on their side but I usually yawned through their scenes, enjoying the minor characters quite a bit more. All told, 3.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Rebecca McKernan did an OK job with this story. She had distinct voices for each of the characters and she usually did well with the emotions. There were several lines that were repeated and occasionally there were some mouth or throat noises. 4/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Bree Moore. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • N. Mahoney
  • 05-23-18

A great Historical Fantasy

Woohoo! A dark twist on a classic tale is something that this reviewer loves to see. I was very intrigued by the description of Woven and I can’t say that I was disappointed. The very beginning of Woven gives background for how one of our leading ladies, Elaina, becomes trapped in the tower that she unfortunately spends thirty years in. The point of view swaps often between Elaina and Guinevere who whilst being different in personality are very strong women. Elaina seems rather demure in certain chapters, but as the book goes on her determination to escape and recover memories, that she seems to have lost, becomes a very admirable trait. Guinevere was written quite feisty which personally I had always imagined her to be, so she was an instant like. She is drawn to King Arthur almost instantly upon meeting him, however whenever Guinevere is around Lancelot she feels strange and faint. What could this mean for her?

I would like to add the disclaimer that there is sexual abuse further on in the book, however it is true to the time period and not for shock value.

At the start I wasn’t sure that I was fond of the narration, as I felt that there wasn’t much emotion in Rebecca McKernan’s voice. There was clarity and good pacing to her voice but I hadn’t yet felt that the heart of the character was portrayed, however further in the book when the characters were more fleshed out I listened in a whole different light so upon reflection I think that this was more due to me not knowing the characters well at that point.

In conclusion I think that this is an extremely creative take on the classic tale, and works well as an audio book, and I was entirely invested in where the story took our main characters who I had come to really appreciate.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Bree Moore. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.