Tea & Book Chat: The Skylighter by Becky Wallace (The Keepers’ Chronicles #2)

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This is no way swayed my opinions.*

**Warning! If you haven’t read The Storyspinner which is the first book in The Keepers’ Chronicles duology by Becky Wallace, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

The Skylighter by Becky Wallace is the conclusion to The Keepers’ Chronicles duology.  It picks up exactly where The Storyspinner leaves off and things have gotten pretty intense.  I’ve been hearing that you’ll enjoy The Skylighter most if you re-read The Storyspinner prior to jumping back into the world.  Luckily for me, I read The Storyspinner last month so the details were already very fresh in my mind and I wasn’t at all confused when I began reading. I’m so happy that this series was told over two books instead of being stretched into a trilogy because that really would’ve been unnecessary.  Every aspect of the story is described in full and each storyline is wrapped up at the conclusion.  Overall, The Skylighter provides a very satisfying ending.

Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, The StoryspinnerThe Skylighter works really well with multiple perspectives.  The switching narratives were one of my favorite aspects of the first book it continued to be in the final installment.  Each character uniquely contributes a portion to the larger story being told and the reader would not get as much out of the tale without having firsthand knowledge of each character’s motivations.  The second book focuses much more on The Keepers whereas Johanna and Rafi had been the stars of book one.  I have to say that I was completely surprised by Dom, Rafi’s younger and less mature brother.  He really underwent a ton of character growth in The Skylighter and I found myself looking forward to his chapters.  I remained completely invested in Johanna and Rafi and their relationship took a ton of turns that I hadn’t been expecting.  Becky Wallace did a fantastic job crafting their story.

The Skylighter

Again, I was enthralled with the world-building in the first book and the conclusion continued to impress. We traveled to places outside Santarem and saw how the other provinces within the kingdom were being managed.  I think it was really important for both Rafi and Johanna to see what goes on throughout the entire kingdom instead of having a limited perspective of only one section.  The Keepers’ Chronicles duology is unlike any fantasy series I’ve ever read.  The story and circumstances are completely original and it’s heavily influenced by hispanic culture and The Skylighter is much more magic heavy than The Storyspinner.  Plus, I really loved the ending.

Final Thoughts: The Skylighter by Becky Wallace is the perfect ending to The Keepers Chronicles’ duology.  The world-building is unique and unlike any other fantasy world I’ve ever read.  The characters are diverse and the world is inspired by Hispanic culture.  There were constant twists as the story wraps up and all of the occurrences are far from predictable.   If it’s been a while since you read The Storyspinner I would definitely recommend giving it a re-read before jumping into the conclusion.

Rating 5

Johanna and Rafi are in a race against time to save their country before a power-mad Keeper destroys everything they hold dear in the “enthralling magical world” (Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles) introduced in The Storyspinner.

As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.

And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?

With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace (The Keepers’ Chronicles #1)

*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!

1

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!

Rating 5

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)

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Kristin