The Keepers' Chronicles #1
Margaret K. McElderry
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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 starts out a little tricky, those readers (like me) who typically stumble with multiple point of view likely to develop a touch of anxiety as we're quickly introduced to the five primary characters with whom we're going to spend our time over the next several hundred pages. While getting situated with Johanna, Rafi, Jacare, Pira and Leao takes a few chapters, before long we find ourselves swept up in the search for a long lost princess and the scheming of those who would do anything to keep her from her rightful claim. Short chapters and the fact that our five protagonists are simply two groups on opposite sides of the search rather than five separate storylines helps keep our attention from wandering with each POV shift, and the strength of the characters themselves makes us absurdly grateful we're privy to each of their innermost thoughts.
Though we spend plenty of time with all five individuals, Johanna and Rafi get the most page time, their antagonistic relationship something that brings a smile to our faces from the moment she wakes up after Rafi knocks her unconscious in a case of mistaken identity. The tension between them is the kind that has us nearly bouncing on our feet in anticipation of their impressive mutual dislike shifting to something softer and sweeter, and the slow escalation of feelings between them doesn't disappoint.
In addition to the five protagonists, this tale also belongs to Johanna and Rafi's respective brothers, a secondary cast that steals the show on more than one occasion. Johanna's two younger brothers are absolutely adorable in their typical boy-ness, saying whatever pops into their heads and delighting in all things adventurous and troublesome, while Rafi's brother wins our hearts with his charmingly inflated ego and tendency to compliment himself (good-naturedly) whenver possible. The result of this entire group together is a story brimming with personality, moments of humor and levity sprinkled in between the rising tension as Johanna's identity gets closer to being revealed with every chapter. The only mild complaint is with an ending that is more a pause in the action than actual conclusion, but thankfully no cliffhanger awaits on the last page even though things as a whole are left very much up in the air.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.
If you haven't had a chance yet, be sure and check out my interview with Becky!