*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace is the first book in a fantasy duology that follows multiple characters in an historical type setting with hints of magic. I had been wanting to read this book ever since I had read some reviews and Simon and Schuster had sent me an unsolicited finished copy last year but for some reason it took me until now to pick it up. Once the release date of book two crept closer, I felt the time was right to delve into The Storyspinner, especially since it’s a duology so there won’t be years of waiting between books which is a huge plus. Overall, I found The Storyspinner to be a really fun read. The world is a bit unconventional, the story is intriguing and the cast of characters are a hoot! I’m really looking forward to the sequel, The Skylighter.
The Storyspinner follows a large cast of characters and the narrative often switches between each of them, sometimes even mid-scene. It took me a little while to get used to the constant jumps, but in the end, the story benefited from having so many POVs. My favorite story to follow was that of Johanna and Rafi. Rafi is a young duke who’s father died and is trying to do the best in his position despite missing out on years of training he believed he would have. He relies heavily on his mother, a quick-witted master of the political games in their society, and he tries to set the best example for his younger, free-spirited and less mature brother Dom. Johanna is the daughter of two performers and she herself is a Storyspinner, performing songs for audiences. Her father Arlo tragically dies in the middle of a performance and while it seems accidental, there are some suspicions surrounding his accident. Their narratives become interwoven with those of Jacaré, Pira and Leão, a traveling troupe seeking out the murderer of several victims, all matching Johanna’s description. Much mystery!
As I read further, I got more comfortable in the world Becky Wallace set up and I found myself completely enjoying the lore. I was expecting more of a fantasy world which I think fell short a bit in the beginning but the subtle hints of fantasy interspersed with the historical feel ultimately kept my interest. Plus, the set up for The Skylighter is pretty incredible. Other notables that contributed to my enjoyment were Johanna’s profession (I never thought of a story-teller as a Storyspinner but I love that word for her career path), the romance (especially the relationship that forms between Johanna and Rafi. They start off hating each other but as we all know, there can be a fine line between love and hate) and the magic we’re introduced to. By the end of the first book I was really hoping there were more pages left. Also, here’s hoping the map is printed in The Skylighter!
Final Thoughts: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace is a strong first half of The Keepers’ Chronicles duology. It follows a vast cast of characters and there are two main plots which eventually become interwoven. The story is full of intrigue and mystery and while it is technically a fantasy, it reads similarly to an historical novel with some elements of magic. Becky Wallace did such a fantastic job of world-building, developing each character, and crafting a plot that will more than hold your interest. I’m definitely looking forward to The Skylighter later next month!
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. (via Goodreads)