Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: The Storyspinner

The Keepers' Chronicles #1
Becky Wallace
Young Adult/Fantasy
432 pages
Margaret K. McElderry
Available Now
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.

Rating: 4/5

Find Becky:

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!


  1. I have this one on my wishlist but wasn't sure whether I would actually end up enjoying it or not. I had no idea that it involved five different POVs (which is normally a drawback for me), but it sounds like all the characters are well developed. I love the sound of the relationship between Johanna and Rafi as well.

  2. Five different point of views can be tough and I think I would have been a little anxious over them all as well. So happy the author managed to pull it off though, that is pretty rare! I think I would like Johanna and Rafi. Great review Jenny!

  3. wow I'm so happy you enjoyed this book, I really want to read this book and my copy is so late, not sure why didn't arrive yet :) lovely review as always Jenny

  4. It's usually quite difficult for me as soon as we have a lot of POVs but if it's well done it's not a problem. For example I'm r eading the Exile and even if we're more on the main character we have some others too but it's really well done. I'm glad you had a good time with this one.

  5. I can handle POVS, I just need lots of time with them first, and that they are different from each other

  6. Five different point of views?! Yikes! I had no idea. In the past, this has been a huge issue for me. I still want to check out this book though…it sounds like it is still worth it! Thanks for the great review, Jenny!

  7. So my friend with the daughter that just got into reading would love this! She spent the weekend at a young adult book festival here in town and I heard she gave her mom a run for her money in book purchases (my book loving heart was happy to hear that)!

  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Jenny! I agree that it was kinda tricky to get into but I think the author handled it really well. I love Jo and Rafi. Their relationship was delightful and I loved their banter.
    As soon as you mentioned the brothers, Jenny, I nearly lost it. :( I can't believe the author did that to my feels!!
    Lovely review!

  9. I've read both your and Nick's review and want to snag me a copy now! I actually enjoy multi-pov when done well. I love getting into one than one characters head, and those brothers sound so adorable. The ending sounds like I should prepare myself though for unfinished business.
    Lovely review, Jenny :)

  10. I can see why you would find the initial beginning to this book overwhelming at times Jenny, I think I would struggle with the five point of views too, but I have heard great things about Johanna and Rafi and it sounds like they're supported by a strong secondary cast too! I shall try and get my hands on this book soon! Lovely review!

  11. I am so on the fence about this book. I read the synopsis and I'm all, "YEAH! I wanna read it!"

    But then I actually hold it in my hand and shy away. But your review gives me comfort, and I think I'm ready, Jenny.

  12. I'm really glad to hear that you really enjoyed this one and the many different POVs didn't prove a problem for long! Whenever we end up with multiple POVs and keep on changing them at the beginning of a book it ends up taking me a while to get into the book!
    Fantastic review Jenny, this one is for sure in the wish list, and even more since there's not cliffhanger at the end!

  13. I've been hearing really good things about this one which makes me so incredibly excited to pick it up. I love fantasy and this seems to be no exception to a well-written one, despite the multiple POVs--in fact, I'm excited to hear that they're working! Lovely review, Jenny! :)

  14. Multiple POV's can be hit or miss. Often I like them so I can see the different angles though. I'm glad this was a win, it sounds great!

  15. Sounds complicated, but good-complicated. In the end, you seem to have enjoyed it, and since I already read a bunch of positive reviews of this one, I'll definitely make time for it. Excellent review!

  16. I have read some good reviews on this one. I am with you, five narrators is always tricky, but it sound like it works.

  17. Wow, 5 povs? I don't think I've read a book that has that many narrators, Jenny! From your review, however, it sounds like the writing style worked. I really like the premise of the book and will have to check it out.

  18. Hm... sometimes I like a multi-POV and sometimes not. Sounds like it wasn't a problem here but could have been. I don't love the sound of that ending so I may have to wait for the next book so I won't get so frustrated. :)

  19. Ooh. It sounds like this multiple-POV might actually be worth checking out, and the world sounds pretty sweet, too!

  20. I love the sound of the main characters relationship the banter is sure to make me smile..lovely review :)

  21. I'm intrigued Jenny and that's in spite of a cover I just don't like at all. I don't know what bothers me so much about it. Maybe it seems more like a movie poster than a book cover? I'm not sure, but it definitely doesn't speak to me. Your review does make this seem like a story I'd enjoy. I do love an antagonistic type of relationship that turns into a romance. Lovely review! :)

  22. I'm so glad you enjoyed this too! I was also a little worried about the POV changes, but quickly fell into the story. I think you're right, the fact that they're two sides really helps. Love Johanna and Rafi and their brothers! :-) Lovely review!