Review: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

ARC: 432 pages
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: The Keepers' Chronicles #1
Synopsis
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.



This review contains some mild spoilers.

The Storyspinner was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015 so I had pretty high expectations. Well, my expectations were met and I absolutely LOVED it!! The Storyspinner is my new favorite fantasy.

By the first chapter I already knew I was going to enjoy The Storyspinner; the writing was very readable and I settled in for an awesome fantasy read. But as I kept reading chapter after chapter the third person perspective kept switching to a different character. At first I was like, holy crap, how many characters do I have to keep track of? I'm not usually a fan of large cast of characters, especially if I have to follow their different storylines and the main plot is reduced in favor of developing the multiple secondary plots. I worried about this initially. But I worried for nothing. Despite the large cast of characters, the main plot was the main focus and it was very well-developed and it remained fluid, laying the foundation of a very captivating and exciting fantasy. 

The Storyspinner was set in an imaginary country called Santarem and it was divided into two parts: the Keepers' Land and the larger part that was further divided into the different dukedoms. Long, long ago the Keepers (magic wielders) lived among people without magic, but some got too greedy and started using it to control non-magical people, turning them into slaves. There was a great war and it only ended with the building of the magical Donovan's Wall, in which kept the Keepers on one side and the non-magical folks on the other side. As time passed the Keepers' existence became myth and legend. Unbeknownst to the non-magical folks, their king's line was actually linked to the wall's stability. Sixteen years prior to the story, the king was murdered by a greedy duke. People thought his only daughter was killed too, but it turned out that she was taken away by a trusted friend of the king. 

That's basically the background of the story. We follow a group of Keepers, Jacare, Pira, Leao and Texugo, as they leave the Keepers' Land and travel through the different villages and dukedoms to find the lost princess and to put her back on the throne in order to keep the wall from further deterioration and to stabilize it again. On the non-magical side, we follow primarily Johanna and Lord Rafael "Rafi" DeSilva. Johanna found herself working for Lord Rafi after a most unfortunate meeting between them. The two of them got under each other's skin, but with Johanna's family needing money she really had no choice.

Like I mentioned, I had my doubts that I would be able to keep all the characters straight in my head, but surprisingly I had no problem once I got past my initial qualm. I really enjoyed all the characters, main and secondary. They were all fleshed out and interesting. Some chapters were cliff-hanger-y but it would switch to a different character who had nothing to do with the current action, but I didn't mind because I am back with the character I wanted to read more of previously, if that makes sense... I didn't mind the frequent switching because I wanted to know more about each of them and what they were thinking or how they're reacting to certain situations. 

My favorite characters were Johanna and Rafi. Johanna tells it like it is and, while she's not the strongest character physically, she can hold her own. She works hard for her family--I love her relationship with her brothers. My heart broke for her when that happened (if you read the book, you know). As for Rafi, his honor was very important to him. He has a lot of responsibilities as he's about to officially become the duke of Santiago. He wanted to show his people that he's ready to take the mantle his father left him, but he's not one to ignore his mother's advice and seeks it out when he needed it. I loved Johanna and Rafi apart and together. They didn't have the best beginning and they disliked each other initially but even before I hit the halfway point, I was already shipping them. I love it when characters, who will eventually romantically pair up, start their relationship hating each. There was that tension and spark and attraction between them that I just ate up. 

I also have another ship, Pira and Leao, and they too rubbed each other the wrong way (especially in Pira's part). With all of these awesome couples to root for, I was in ship heaven. But never fear because the romance aspect of The Storyspinner was not overdone. We get just enough swoon-y moments to satisfy the romantic in all of us without sacrificing the intricate plot of magic, political maneuverings, family issues, adventure and action. 

I loved how the characters we were following all came together in the end only to separate. I thought the ending was so wonderful. One of my ships were together but they're in a precarious situation, but not too precarious that it left me with an unsatisfying cliffhanger type of ending. Thank you, Ms. Wallace for that! After I flipped the last page, I just had to hug my copy because it's going to be another year before I get back to Johanna and Rafi's world again and I already miss them.

The Storyspinner was a great start to a series. From what we got in this book, it could go to many and any direction. There are so many possibilities and I am so excited to see where the author takes the story. I only have one hope and wish for book 2: no love triangles will develop among my ships (I've been burned by other authors before where there wasn't love triangle in the first book but then bam! we're hit with one in the second book--please, Ms. Wallace, please no love triangles in book 2). But even if there will be, I'll pick it up anyway because The Storyspinner was so, so, soooo good! I need book 2 now.
Also, don't forget to check out our Kiss, Marry, Kill post with author Becky Wallace here.


UPDATE: Becky tweeted me: You guys will be relieved to learn (as I was) that there will be NO love triangles in book 2 for my ships. YASS!!!

1 comment

  1. It sounds really good. Looking forward to reading this book soon! :-)

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