Publishing Info: March 3, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 11, 2015
Related Posts: The Skylighter (The Keepers' Chronicles #2)
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 was a delightful and refreshing fantasy read. I’ve been putting my hopes on a lot of new releases lately, never quite sure what to expect from new authors and debut series but THE STORYSPINNER did not disappoint in anyway — in fact, it exceeded any expectations I had! I finished the book a few weeks before I wrote my review and ever since I finished, my love for this book has done nothing but grow each day. The more I think about it, the more I look back on it fondly and the more I anticipate its sequel (which is also a difficult thing considering I’m reviewing the book before it’s even released. It’ll be a long wait for book two)!
One of the more noticeable things about THE STORYSPINNER is the setting. I love what Becky Wallace did here, pulling in Portuguese influences for setting, characters, and overall feel. So many high fantasy books tend to have mainly a British feel, sometimes venturing into France or Italy, for example, but we never seem to hit the Iberian peninsula. I’m sure they’re out there and I haven’t read them yet — I believe Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy has a Spanish vibe — but this is the first I’ve seen of a Portuguese influence and I loved how much that instantly made it feel unique! I’m not sure if it’s supposed to supposed to be influenced more by Portugal or Brazil (I’m not well-informed on either) and the blend of Portuguese, Spanish, and English surnames throughout the book could really go either way for South American or European influences… (I think I’m overthinking this) but hey, it’s fantasy and no matter which way you slice it, I’m a big fan of this new fantasy world and Becky Wallace’s inspiration!
The other thing that noticeably stood out for me was the cast of characters featured in this book. Each chapter switches POVs from one character to the next and all-in-all, I think there are about six characters who take on the role as the chapter-specific focus but never once did I feel overwhelmed or lost. Each character felt extremely unique and their personalities shined! (It also helped that the book is written in third person POV so the switches from chapter to chapter weren’t jarring.) I fell in love with many, envied others, and feared some, but my heart really went out to every single person that I met in this story and each one really came to life as I read. I was wholly invested in each and every thread and definitely emotionally invested in each character’s future.
With so many characters, naturally the book follows a few different story lines. Each pertains to one ultimate focus and when everything finally comes together and these threads connect, it’s such an amazing feeling! The plot and adventure in THE STORYSPINNER are constantly moving, driving the action forward and every single moment feels relevant to the mystery that continues to unravel. I loved the mix of action, intrigue, and romance which in turn only strengthened my understanding the characters’ bravery, genius, and compassion. By the end of the book I was gasping and shouting, cheering for the heroes, and rooting for the romances.
THE STORYSPINNER was a homerun for me and I’m so incredibly happy that it’s been one of those books where my love has only grown over time. This book has definitely stuck with me and it’s one I will cherish on my shelves. I hope others fall in love with this one like I did because I will definitely be recommending this one over and over again!
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Johanna // Character Obsessions: Storytelling, family, responsibility, fulfilling debts.
Even though we meet a lot of characters in this book, Johanna is our MAIN character. She’s the primary focus of the book and I really loved her! She’s brave, spunky, and a little bit rash but she was so much fun to get to know and I LOVE her role in the book. I love how her character grew as she got to know the others and I can’t wait to see what she does in book two!
Leão // Character Obsessions: Duty, magic, goodness, love.
Leão was one of my favorite characters. I just really connected with him for some reason and I loved his dedication and compassion. I feel like we didn’t get to know him TOO well in book one so I’m definitely interested in (and hoping we will) learn a lot more about him in the books to come.
Rafael (Rafi) // Character Obsessions: Family, the kingdom, honor.
Okay, so Rafi. Rafi. RAFI!!!! Whew. I, um…. I love him? He is one of the characters who I was like, “Oh, okay. Here’s a guy. This guy is all right.” Then the more I read, I just kind of fell in looooooove. By the end of the book I was shipping all over the place and melting into puddles and GAHHH. This book ended far too soon and I NEED MORE RAFI. (Note: This review was totally coherent and I felt well-spoken until this point. Clearly something happened here.)
Kept Me Hooked On: Portuguese influences. I suppose this can extend to more than Portuguese — more so that I just loved how unique it made the book feel! Like how I felt with the Russian inspiration in Shadow and Bone. I hadn’t read anything like it before and it was just so refreshing!
Left Me Wanting More: Time to read!!!! I wished I had more time to read when I picked this book up. Of course, I couldn’t have known what my reading schedule was going to be like but a week is a tad long for me to read one book and all I wanted to do was stop everything and keep reading. I was really enjoying it SO much. Stupid life getting in the way… So basically what I’m saying is make the time to read this book because you’ll want to savor it!
I read an ARC of this but I’m daydreaming about a finished copy. I’m basically just making sure it’s not showing up as a gift so I can purchase it for myself because this gorgeous hardcover NEEDS to be on my shelves. I just loved every bit of this book and I hope that others do too!
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(Click the cover to see my review!)