I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
Series: The Keepers' Chronicles #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 3rd, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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.
The Storyspinner came to me recommended by Christina – which is to say that she really liked it, so I figured I would as well. I was correct, of course, because Christina has such spectacular taste. The Storyspinner is a fun fantasy debut with super awesome shiiiiiiips.
The Storyspinner and I did get off to a bit of a rough start. There are quite a lot of POV characters, and while they are necessary to show the different storylines and events in different locations, it was just a lot to take in at once. The character’s unique voices weren’t a problem, because everything is written in third person, but the balance felt a bit off when my mind tried to interject some kind of logic in the pattern of POV chapters. It switched to whoever whenever it was necessary, and though there are only two main storylines which eventually intertwine, there are 3-4 POV characters for each one. At the beginning, the events surrounding Johanna were also just so much more interesting than those surrounding the Keepers, because the Keepers were obviously holding back a lot of knowledge… so my interest in the story fluctuated. With so many different characters, it’s also hard to really form a connection to all of them. Some of them remain a bit undeveloped.
But after a while, the story picked up and I was totally engrossed in it. Particularly that would be because of the ships. This book has two really freaking spectacular ships, including a bantery hate-to-love one. Johanna and Rafi just are the highlight of the book for me. When they started interacting, I was completely sold. It was magic. And I just loved getting to know both of them as characters as well – Johanna who is forced into adulthood after the death of her father, caring for her little brothers and trying to cope with her mother’s grief, and Rafi who is coming to terms with his position and all the political scheming it requires. But at the same time, I like that romance doesn’t take over from the plot or world building. There’s clearly more going on there. But I’d be lying if I didn’t flail about when *certain* kissing scenes occurred.
Now, after a few revelations, the plot really got going. This really felt like a classic adventure fantasy. As such, some of the plot twists are pretty predictable, or even just inherent to the plot, (a missing princess! an evil villain!) but it’s all about the execution here. The characters stole the show and made it real, and Wallace doesn’t pull punches either. Characters die. In gruesome, horrible deaths. It’s fast paced fantasy goodness with a hint of courtly politics as well. That’s all just Debby bait, so my enjoyment was a given.
What could maybe have been improved a little was the world building. For example, Storyspinning – a magical kind of storytelling – was a really cool idea, even if it was a bit vague in its descriptions. The book was also quite slow to reveal the history of the Keepers in spite of the fact that half the chapters followed those characters. When their history and the explanations of the magic did come into play, though, it was really cool. Leão, one of the Keepers, was a fun character, but what precisely his position in the Keepers’ society entails confuses me. It felt like certain things were just glossed over a bit. I just kind of missed a map to picture how this world came together (though I don’t know if there will be one in the final copy – I do hope so!), especially with the Keepers living in their own domain. I hope that the world gets a bit more development in the sequel in any case.