Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book Review: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

Title: The Storyspinner
Series: The Keeper Chronicles #1
Author: Becky Wallace
Published: March 3, 2015 by Simon Teen
(Amazon / Goodreads)

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

You want me to review this book? Impossible! There is nothing I can say to do it justice. Well okay then, I'll just spent a few hundred words rambling about how fantastic it was. Because it seriously was fantastic! I devoured The Storyspinner in only a few days and I still can't stop thinking about it. After finishing I was left with a raging book hangover that turned me into a mood reader because I just want to read The Stroyspinner again! It was that good.

Like a lot of fantasy this is the kind of book with a rather large cast of characters. And it's the kind of fantasy where many characters get chapters from their perspective. This is extremely hit or miss for me, it needs to be handled well. It can either get really confusing and frustrating or it can be a great way to see the story from different sides. Here it worked. Becky Wallace expertly crafted an interesting story from all angles with lots of dramatic irony. Sure, sometimes it was frustrating because it would end one character's story on a cliffhanger but that only worked to build the suspense and interest in the story. The multiple perspectives really added a lot to the story and made it full-bodied and interesting.

But perhaps the changing perspectives worked so well because the characters were so fantastic. Every last one of them was instantly likable. Being able to see the book from their perspective only worked to build that likability and connection with the characters. It also helped to create a contrast between characters. Seriously of the six main perspectives they were all so different and unique. Some like Dom were more funny and lighthearted. Some were more serious like Jacaré and Rafi. There was tough warriors like Pira and Texugo and there were more uncertain characters like Leão. And then of course there was the main protagonist Johanna. She's following in her parents footsteps and becoming a Performer (the storyspinning she does is a very cool aspect of the story) but there is so much more to her than that. Johanna is hard to pin down because she is truly unique. She's not quite the strong female protagonist with a warrior spirit we see a lot in YA but she is tough and plucky. She walked that perfect line between reluctant hero and damsel in distress. She was honest and genuine and I really loved her. But that can be said about almost every character in this book. They were genuine and likable. They had strengths and weaknesses and they were figuring things out as they went along. The characters were without a doubt one of the reasons I enjoyed The Storyspinner so much.

And with there being so many amazing characters there was also some truly wonderful ships. Yes, you read that right, multiple ships. You guys, fear not, there are no love triangles in sight here. The ships are obvious and they are spectacular. The two main ships are the kind that I always love. One of them is a more traditional hate to love kind of basis but both of them have the most amazing banter. They bicker and poke fun at one another but underneath the surface there is mutual attraction and respect. But better than that, they are both incredible slowburns. One of them didn't get together at all in this book and the other didn't officially happen until the very end. My shipping feels started much earlier and I wanted to smoosh their faces together. It was fantastic!

Another fantastic thing about this book was the world. I've said it before and I'll say it again, YA Fantasy is my kryptonite. I read a lot of it and therefore it often feels predictable and like the same thing over and over again. But The Storyspinner felt incredibly fresh and unique. Sure it definitely pulls from some more traditional elements of fantasy like a missing princess, a tenuous peace in states that have a history of war, even the magical system felt more traditional but it still all felt original. After reading reviews from Nikki at There Were Books Involved and Brittany from The Book Addict's Guide I learned that the inspiration for this book is actually Portuguese. Which may have been why it felt so fresh because that was very cool and different. But there was also something about the magical system that I really enjoyed. It was a psuedo-elemental magic which usually doesn't feel original to me but it was so subtle here that it worked. It reminded me a little of Avatar: The Last Airbender but in a good way. It felt like it was inspired by these different things but it was something all it's own. Everything about this world worked with the plot to create a captivating novel.

Speaking of that plot, wow, was it fantastic! It was expertly paced and plotted. The chapters were short, making it the kind of book that has you saying "one more chapter wouldn't hurt," then before you realize it, you've read for four hours and forgot to eat dinner. That's also probably because The Storyspinner is the kind of book that slowly plots along in an interesting and engaging way until all of a sudden... BAM, it kicks into high gear and you're left furiously turning pages because you're so anxious and excited to see how it will all end. That's also about the time when things start coming together, people start finding things out that they shouldn't know, and our beloved heroes get into some real hot water. Seeing the book from lots of different perspectives meant that there weren't really many plot twists but the dramatic irony and thrilling action really built the suspense here. In the end, it all built to an exciting conclusion that had me on the edge of my seat. It was so exciting that when it was all over I was left hungering for more. It did have a pretty serious cliffhanger that has me anxiously awaiting the second book and wanting to reread the last few chapter just to make sure everyone is okay. No, I wanted to reread the entire book!

I have to say that 2015 is definitely the year of brilliant debuts. Of the few five star reviews I've given on Goodreads, two of them have been debuts, and one of them is The Storyspinner. It was a truly fantastic debut with amazing characters and a thrilling plot and I am anxiously awaiting to see where it will all lead.

I give The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace a 9.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY. Absolutely buy this book! This book is not to be missed for fantasy fans. It's a fresh and exciting world with amazing characters, and fantastic romance. If you are looking for a book to give you out of control shipping feels, and thrilling action that leaves you desperately wanting more this is the book for you. It's a truly wonderful debut and worth a read.

Have you read The Storyspinner? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING


  1. I bought this one because you told me SHIPS!! Plural ships!!

    1. That is just the tip of the iceberg. The ships are amazing and swoony but there is so much more to love. Enjoy!

  2. Wow, how can I not read this. I need it right meow. Multiple ships and great characters? Count me in. Fantastic review!

    1. Good question! And even better response. You do need it right meow! Read it and love it! YA WELCOME!

  3. Oh miii god, I am so excited for this one! I mean, I was before, but then, after seeing the ratings drop on Goodreads, my excitement kinda faltered but now it's back on the hyped wagon! hahaah, I hope I make sense. Anyway, thanks for the review :)

    Lola at Hit or Miss Books

    1. You make all the sense in the world. I was super excited about this when I first heard about it but it fell off my radar for some reason. Then after seeing 5 star reviews I got really excited again. I hope you pick it and love it as much as I did!