by Becky Wallace
Read: January 26 - 28, 2015
Published: March 3, 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Edelweiss (TY S&S!)
Category: YA, Fantasy, missing princesses, magic, circus performers
Series: The Keeper's Chronicles #1
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
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 is a great beginning to a new fantasy series that features magic, acrobats, a missing princess and a delicious South American flavor. In fact I was so into the story that the ending completely snuck up on me. This is partly because it stops when quite a lot is happening. Despite that, the end didn't feel like a scary cliffhanger. More like the first part of something exciting that I can't wait to dive back into again.
One of my favorite aspects of this story is the third person rotating perspective, featuring two groups of people working towards each other (though they don't all realize it). The Keepers, holders of magic, are desperate to find a princess who's been in hiding since she was an infant. They need her to help keep peace and restore balance in their world. Along their journey, the Keepers, led by Jacaré, discover that girls fitting the princess's description have started to disappear. An unknown entity is also hunting the princess, but for more frightening reasons.
The other perspectives we see are of Johanna, the daughter of Performers, who also bears a striking resemblance to the lost princess, her family and that of Lord Rafael DeSilva. The young Duke and Johanna's paths - they would both say unfortunately - cross and then can't seem to escape each other.
I am a fan of multiple narrators, even though that usually slows down the pacing of a book for me. However, that didn't happen for me with The Storyspinner. Although I felt like I got to know Johanna the best - the action definitely centers around her - I enjoyed all of the perspectives we got and the way the author builds both the world and the tension through their different perspectives.
As I mentioned, this book features a South American, Brazilian flavor. The Keepers even have descriptive Portuguese names meaning alligator, viper, lion, fire, all of which capture a little bit of the individual who possesses them. I also like how their names group them together and set them apart from the second set of narrators. As I followed the characters, I enjoyed getting to know the landscape with its heat and mango orchards, the Performer's camp featuring acrobats, Storytellers and singers, and the magic of the Keepers in the north. However, I really want a map (I'm unsure whether the final version will contain one)! I was a bit confused about the locations of everything - I'm such a visual person. I'd also like more information about the history of the Keepers. Their past war and what happened 16 years ago.
Of course, I am always up for a good love story and two sweet and slow building romances are featured in this book, both of which are somewhat forbidden. No love triangles. I enjoyed both of them very much. One is more settled in the end than the other, but the more tentative one has the potential to be really great going forward.
Basically, I'm counting down the days until I can jump back into this world again.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium - story just feels like it cuts off. I want more!