Series: The Keepers' Chronicles #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on March 3rd, 2015
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Buy on Amazon
Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.
In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.
The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.
With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.
So you know how sometimes a big life event can be happening while you’re reading a book and that book will always be tied to the memories of that Big Thing happening to you? That’s the case for me with The Storyspinner. This book took me nearly two weeks to read – and not for lack of loving it. Instead, I had been dealing with severe jaw pain and then sinus pain and then BAM, unexpected traumatic dental work. I am not the most serene person in the world, especially while navigating my way through doctors’ and dentists’ offices, so basically, this whole thing has been horrific for me, even if it would only be a blip on someone else’s radar. But the whole time, I had The Storyspinner by my side. This adventure story harkens back to classic fantasy and it was the perfect distraction while all this real life shit was taking me down.
The Storyspinner, simply put, was fun. It felt like going on adventure. If you’re the type of reader that is intrigued by curses and legends and hunting down missing princesses, this is exactly the kind of book for you. There were twists, but I wouldn’t say they were unpredictable. The story is all kind of right there for you on the jacket copy, but it’s all about the journey and the getting there. There are two main threads to this book – on one side you have Johanna the Performer who is struggling to make ends meet for her family after her father’s death. She meets the young duke and shippy things arise. On the other hand you have the Keepers, the magical people who live on the other side of the faltering wall, who have crossed over to find the stolen princess and restore the throne. There’s the magical journey element to this that really makes you feel like you’re with the characters. These two stories seamlessly fit together and there’s a nice ebb and flow of action and tension.
Becky Wallace has masterfully woven together many different points of view. At first this was jarring because for some reason I expecting this whole book to be from Johanna’s perspective. Instead, we are quickly introduced to a sizable cast of characters. It took a little getting used to, but once I got to understand who everyone was, I was totally into it. There are five different characters whose heads we visit, but it never feels like too much. They’re all different enough to tell apart – which is helped, of course, by the third person narration – and each character, I felt, added something to the story. The points of view never felt tacked on. If I had one criticism to make, it would just be in the shortness of the chapters. At the same time though, these short chapters kept the pages turning, especially at the end.
Make no mistake, as much fun as it was reading this, the author doesn’t hold back when she needs to hurt the characters. No one is safe. I mean it. Characters are going to be killed and it’s going to hurt like hell when it happens. I had no idea any of it was coming – it honestly didn’t feel like the kind of book where this type of thing could happen. But it did and it was brutal.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I picked up The Storyspinner but I absolutely loved it. The vibrant setting gave the perfect atmosphere for this tale – it was different from the norm but wholly recognizable at the same time. The magic system itself was intriguing and I can’t wait to learn more about the history of Santarem and Donovan’s wall. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger for sure, but it just leaves you craving more of this world and these characters. The Storyspinner is a must-read for fans of adventure, magic, and fantasy.