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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.

432 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 3, 2015

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About the author

Becky Wallace

4 books412 followers
In second grade, Becky Wallace had to sit in the corner because she refused to write anything besides princess stories and fairy tales (and because she talked too much). Her time in isolation gave her plenty of opportunities to dream up the fantasy worlds she's been dabbling with ever since. She was lucky enough to find her own, real-life prince charming. They have four munchkins and live in a happy little town outside Houston, Texas.

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Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,705 followers
September 10, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

3.5 stars

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by this one. And not b/c I went into it with preconceived notions or expectations. Believe me, I've learned to not expect too much from new YA fantasy from new authors.

No, my disappointment in The Storyspinner is a strange and complex thing, but it mostly boils down to what could have been.

First of all, let me say that I think most YA fantasy lovers will absolutely adore this book. The heroine and her male counterpart are both easy-to-like characters. The plot is interesting. The villain is hatefully villainous. Wrongs must be righted, people protected, rightful heir restored--all of the things that make a really great fantasy, all executed reasonably well.

However . . . there were just enough glimpses of greatness, brilliant details in the world-building, and keen insights into human behavior that I felt I knew what Wallace was capable of, and sadly, for the majority of the book, I felt she did not deliver.

For example:

Randomly, in a nothing scene, we meet the master of the fishermans' guild. His name is Tolapia (HA!), and he's identifiable as Guildmaster b/c of the three golden fishhooks in his left ear.

Oh, how I love specificity.

BUT. For every wonderfully imaginative detail, there are three woefully average details.

Like this book's band of gypsies, who in other stories have been called a myriad variations of Tinkers, Wanderers, Traveling People, etc., who here are simply . . . Performers.

*frowns and squints*

And the magic-negating metal the Keepers discover in use on the other side of the Wall : beryllium .

Technically that's four, although in fairness, "Keepers" isn't quite as drab as the others.

As for beryllium . . . I'm not ashamed to admit that I actually googled "beryllium" in the hopes of finding some chemical property that would justify its seemingly random selection as a magic nullifier, but NOPE. Nothing. But it does bond well with copper, so there's that.

After the glorious particulars of the former, all of the following ordinary details felt lazy.

It also felt lazy when:

Then there's Leão and Pria whose romance-type thing seems to have been tossed in just for fun. B/c romance good. Less romance BAD.

And Pria herself is simultaneously my favorite and least favorite character. On the one hand she ridiculously kick-ass b/c:
"Everyone dances at Performers' Camp. It would be rude not to."
Rudeness had never really concerned Pira. If she didn't want to do something, she didn't do it.

"We die if we get caught." Pira waded into the murk. "We might die this way too, but I'll choose 'might die' over 'will die.'"

But on the other hand, she's equally as ridiculous in her jealous insecurity in regards to the previously mentioned romance-type thing, which makes a just-b/c romance even worse, b/c it ruined an otherwise perfectly good character.

However, my biggest problem was the unanswered questions.

It's obvious that something terrible happened to #1 Keeper when the wall thing went down . . . or up, if you want to be technical about it (*snickers*). It's obvious that Villain's #2 was somehow involved. But was she the object or the instrument? No idea. And what was it that actually happened? Well, clearly I don't know that either. But as indicated by the "obvious," it's alluded to numerous times, and each additional mention felt more and more like a taunt.

And that's just one of many leftover questions.

Overall, The Storyspinner is the could-have-been-so-much-better first installment of the promising Keepers' Chronicles series. Go into the reading of this one expecting to love it for what it is, instead of for its potential, and you should be fine. Recommended. Ish.

Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 18 books13.3k followers
February 11, 2017
This is my first five star of the month and WOW this book was everything I needed.

Ok, reasons why I loved it

-Short chapters, and lots of them. Helped me read faster!
-lots of different points of view which I loved. I think 5 or 6 in total!
-really 'real world' fantasy setting, but then also this underlying fantasy element of magic in the form of Keepers.
-lots of twists and turns
-it is also a magical murder mystery in sorts!

I COULD RAVE ABOUT THIS SO MUCH, the author is kindly sending me book two and I am going to DEVOUR IT!
Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,116 followers
August 15, 2015
The tragedy of The Storyspinner was that it was not told well.

Once you see your fellow bloggers praising this book left and right, it's only natural to have had high expectations. The cover looked stunning, the title was very catchy, and its potential of becoming a blockbluster floated above it in big, bold letters. I mean, seriously, look at that beauty! Look at the premise! Drama and danger! A romance blossoming in the most unexpected of places! A game for the throne! Magical warriors racing for the missing heir (who could it be?! Oh my gosh!!! THE SUSPENSE!!!!!)!

First, let's get some things out of the way:

1. The cover is misleading. The girl doesn't even do archery. She wields a dagger, but the last time I checked, blade =/= bow and arrow.
2. Drama and danger? More like yawn. This book took its sweet time setting it up, and with so many POVs, one of them only appearing like once (what the fuck, Dom?), no character ever made me feel connected to them. Thus, the tension and danger that was supposedly here? Non-existent for me.
3. An unexpected romance. Seriously, a lost princess and the arrogant prince? That isn't unexpected, that's fricking cliché. It would have been okay if it wasn't so insta-lovey, but when it keeps getting emphasized that they kept feeling something in their stomach for little things, genuine development goes out the window... Even without the predictable twist that was revealed later, it was obvious from the get-go.
4. A game for the throne?! 70% of the book was spent traveling and flirting... when the key players of the throne were there, there never felt any urgency at all... it was more like a set-up for the game for the throne in the next book.
5. Magical warriors racing for the missing heir?! In which these "magical warriors" were never explained in depth...

I didn't like the writing in this book. I don't really know how to explain it very well, but it felt so lazy to me, as if like it just wasn't paced or wasn't outlined or planned out well. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose, but it made the rest of the storyline so predictable and cliché. Like for example, in the beginning, we see the father of the heroine die while doing this acrobatic routine - then later, in the next chapter in another kingdom, we learn that there are glasses in both kingdoms that keep the magical barrier active and stable, and that they have realized that it has weakened. They then say that the guardian of the heir must have been killed or that something bad must have happened to it! When I read that, all I kept thinking was, "Well, there goes the mystery..." Because who else could it be, right?!?!?!?!

This was done again early in the book fo the "missing heir" and to other supposed "twists", making it so terribly, terribly, terribly obvious each time. It's like, come on, man! Make us actually look forward to knowing about these twists! Showing us your hands so early just makes the book so unmemorable and so easy to figure out. When they showed us these twists, it never got developed in a unique way, making it even more predictable and roll-eyes-worthy. Poor girl who was actually the missing heir? When told the truth, she went, "No! No! That can't be!" Good lord, can it not be any cheesier than that?!  Everthing just felt so simple. There was no complexity AT ALL.

There was even this scene that pissed me off a lot. There was this guy called Leao who was supposedly a master mage who could do amazing shit. Pira was this girl who had a crush on him but couldn't help but be stubborn about her feelings. When Leao, who I repeat was a master mage, felt that something was wrong and tried to warn his friends about it, he was quickly shut down and essentially told that it was just his imagination. LIKE WHAT THE FLYING FUCK?! Who, in their right and sane mind, would dismiss the concerns of a supposedly master mage?! The dismissal of him felt so fucking forced in order to launch a string of events. I would have liked it better if he told them, and the group heeds his warnings, but it came too late and so they adapted. Telling them and then telling him, "It's probably your imagination!" is such a piss-poor excuse to make tension happen. At that point, I was ready to throw the book onto a wall.

Didn't help that we have six to seven different POVs that muddled the story and made it drag to the point of boredom, rather than bring something new to the table. This should take note from Six of Crows because that book did it well. That may POVs just didn't seem so... necessary. One of them even only appeared once, like, what the heck?! What good did that do?! Some felt so flat as well I couldn't connect to them in an emotional level. Needless to say, I whisked through the book in no time because I just couldn't push myself to care about what they were doing or saying. Didn't help that the multiple POVs served the opposite - we never got any real character development done. Everything was just skin deep superficial. Even the world-building became underwhelming. Heck, I couldn't even picture the world in here at all, or how the people looked like, or what their culture or society were supposed to be like. It's a fantasy without the fantasy element.

And it pisses me off that because of this we never got anything done here. What was achieved was the pinpointing who was the mystery princess... which we already knew beforehand, and which was built up in such a boring, uninspiring way. No tension, no urgency, no drama, and no fucking danger... I mean, there was danger, but did I feel it? Hell to the no.

That cliffhanger wasn't even a cliffhanger. It was an awkwardhanger. From here on out, this term exists just for this book, because the story ends in such an awkward place. It's not even a fucking hook - it just... ends. Without getting any real story or action involved. Like I said, to me, it felt more like a set-up - and a very long, boring set-up at that.

Don't think I'll be reading the next book.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews839 followers
January 28, 2015
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
Book One of the Keepers' Chronicles
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (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.

What I Liked:

I KNEW I WOULD LIKE THIS ONE! Granted, it's fantasy, it has all the makings of an "Alyssa" book, and many bloggers I trust really enjoyed this book. It's a pretty unique book, as far as fantasy goes, and I'm really intrigued!

Johanna and her family have been exiled from the Performers camp, since her father fell to his death during a performance. Johanna becomes employed under Lord Rafael, future Duke of Santiago. They meet by chance; Johanna is hunting to feed her family, and Rafi thinks she is poaching (which is illegal). He accosts her, thinking that she is a poacher and a male. But she is neither, and Rafi is indebted to her (kind of, as punishment for harming her). So she performs (sings and tells stories) for the guests. Meanwhile, the Keepers are real, and they are looking for the lost princess. This was spurred on by the death of the guardian of a pendant of which the princess is the heir. Johanna has no idea about anything related to the dukedom, the Keepers, the magic that shouldn't exist, the lost princess, but she is involved more than she thinks she is.

Johanna is a very likable protagonist - she is selfless and kind, fierce and loyal. She takes care of her two younger brothers, and her older brother, and her drunk mother. She was caught by Lord Rafael because she was trying to provide for her three growing brothers, her mother, and herself. Johanna is a very capable huntress, as well as sister, and Performer. She captives those she meets, those for whom she sings or tells stories.

This book is written in third person, and we are not limited to Johanna's narrative. Rafi is a significant character whose perspective is shared, as well as several of the Keepers looking for the lost princess. Jacare is a Keeper who leads the other three Keepers. His half-sister, Pira, is a prickly Commander and soldier with an affinity for Earth. Leao is a Mage, strong in all five elements. Tex is an ancient Keeper, with plenty of wisdom and advice.

Keepers have and wield magic, and most characters have an affinity for one of the four elements. Pira, for example, is extremely strong with Earth. Leao can control all of the elements (which is why he is a mage). Jacare and Tex are strong Keepers as well. These four Keepers spend this book trying to uncover the death of Johanna's father (though they do not know of Johanna, or that the man they are looking for is her father).

Having so many different third-person narratives was really helpful, for me. I liked reading from different characters' perspectives. It was easier for me to understand and connect with them. For example, I probably would not have liked Jacare at all, if I didn't get to understand his motives and thinking. Same with Leao.

I enjoyed the plot with the Keepers, but I really, really liked the plot with Johanna, and Rafi. Their interactions were much more interesting, and I loved seeing them fight. Literally and figuratively. They do not like each other at first, yet they're constantly saving each other. If there wasn't a romance budding between them, I'd be furious, because there is a lot of tension between them, and it has to go somewhere, in my opinion...

So, the romance. It's very, very slow and subtle in this book. I say "slow" but it's not a bad thing. I loved the slow-burn progression of the romance. The two characters don't just bump heads and fall in love. They start off hating each other and keep getting on each other's nerves and even in the end, they're aggravating each other, but it's wonderful and passionate... yes. I love these types of relationships. Fire turned passionate.

There is another romance in this story, between two different characters. Take a guess - it's two Keepers. Pira and Leao definitely do NOT start off liking each other. If anything, Pira has some serious contempt for Leao, and Leao is a bit intimidated by Pira. But their relationship is so sweet (and jealousy-filled, on Pira's side, because Leao is very good-looking and attracts a lot of girls).

I know I haven't said too much about the story, but I'm doing that on purpose, and keeping the plot a bit vague. The synopsis does a pretty good job of summarizing the book, but there's nothing like reading the book yourself! And it's a bit complicated to explain (as with most fantasy novels). But seriously! I would recommend you read this one yourself! The ending isn't tragic or cliffhanger-y or crazy. Definitely a great first novel!

What I Did Not Like:

I know I said this one was pretty unique - and it is, with the Performers thing - but the lost princess thing is so cliche. I mean, I know, it's high fantasy, and they all start to sound the same, but the whole "lost royal" thing is a bit overdone. There are plenty of fabulously unique elements in this book, like the Performers, the forgotten Keepers, the sexy duke (hehe), but the lost princess trope is definitely not unique.

Would I Recommend It:

I really enjoyed this book! Fantasy is my favorite genre, and I read so much of it, and I love it, and I love this one. I would highly recommend this one to fantasy lovers - although I will say, if you're looking for a super heavy romance, you won't find that in this book (not that I thought that was a bad thing - I was a HUGE fan of the romance). Just a note!


4 stars. I'll definitely be reading the second book! It's too long a wait until then. More fantasy please! More Rafi and Johanna...
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews622 followers
December 13, 2015
Ever since reading glowing reviews from a few trusted friends, I've been itching to get my hands on The Storyspinner, Becky Wallace's lush debut. I'm not really a huge fantasy girl, but this one was throwing off historical vibes - dukes, magical Keepers, and a lost princess - so you could count me in. Actually, the book reminded me of Poison Study, or more accurately what Poison Study should have been. The setting and the way magic is woven into the story are similar, but whereas I found Poison Study to be text-book boring, The Storyspinner is exciting. By the last page, I was completey absorbed and didn't want the story to end.

What first stuck out to me was the various point-of-views we are given. Told in third person limited, we jump among six different voices - Johanna, Rafi, Jacaré, Pira, Leão, and Tex - while following two different story lines. I loved the way this was done. I would have thought it'd be clunky and we wouldn't form any attachment to the characters since it jumps around so much, but that's not the case at all. I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them, and Becky is very clever with her point-of-view switches. I'd be sucked into one story, only to be dumped into someone else's viewpoint, but soon enough very happy to be there. It keeps the story fresh and gives a better understanding of the overall picture. We know that the two different sides are eventually going to meet, so it was thrilling to see them get closer and closer to one another. I kept waiting for things to snap into place.

If I had to pick a favorite story line, it'd be Johanna and Rafi's. I adored Johanna! She is from a family of performers - like acrobats - but they were recently banished because her father died while on a tightrope and her people are very superstitious. She's struggling to make end's meet, but a fierce love for her three brothers always keeps her going. She's an incredibly admirable heroine: resourceful, tough, and compassionate. Johanna also has a really cool ability as a visual storyteller (hence the title). She can basically enrapture audiences with her tales, using visual aids but just with the power of her voice as well. This is how she comes under the protection of Rafi, a duke of a neighboring country. The two don't meet under the best circumstances - I'll let you read to find out why - but they have a nicely developed hate-to-love romance with fun banter and simmering tension. Not to mention Rafi is a serious charmer. I'm very eager to see how these two will work together in the next book!

The other cast of characters make up the second half of the story, and they are what's called Keepers. I will admit that it was difficult for me to wrap my ahead around the worldbuilding and setting at first - I seriously needed a map! - but eventually I caught on and enjoyed the history side of things very much. Keepers are the magicians of this world, each having an affinity (or sometimes more than one) to an element. The barrier that's been in place to separate their kind from Johanna and Rafi's has been growing weaker, so a group of them disobey their elder Mages and set off to find the lost Princess - the only one who can restore the balance. There's also a romance in this section, with a much different - but just as delicious - push and pull, though their story is much less resolved at the end. I'm rooting for them, though!

I definitely recommend The Storyspinner for all fantasy lovers out there. It's got a fresh new feel with a wonderful cast of characters. Be patient with the slowly-revealed history; it will make sense soon enough and the wait is rewarding. Excellent debut by Beck Wallace; I'm already dreading the wait in between books!

***Huge thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!***

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,349 followers
February 19, 2015
Becky Wallace's debut novel, The Storyspinner, was an enchanting story full of life. It was such a delightful read and I honestly could not stop turning the pages because of how charming this story was. I, for one, can't wait to read more in this series.

I was worried when I started The Storyspinner and realized that there were going to be multiple POVs. I don't have a very good track record with them. However, Becky Wallace worked some kind of magic, because the multiple POVs in this book worked so well together. I almost think it added an extra something special to the story. Additionally, it helped that almost all of the characters were so endearing. I have to say though, I did have a soft spot for Johanna and Rafi. As much as I loved all of the characters, these two really struck a cord with me. Thankfully, they were the main characters of the book because the story revolved around them. Johanna, especially, was a gorgeously developed character. She was fiery, bold and I couldn't help but love her character. I loved just how loyal and devoted she was to her brothers. She was also the kind of character who didn't mince her words and fought for what she thought was right, qualities that I very much appreciate in my heroines. Rafi, the other character that I grew to really love, was also pretty great. He and I did not get off to a great start, but as the story progressed, I was intrigued by the intricacies to his character. I was surprised and utterly delighted at how complex he was. Becky Wallace also did a fantastic job with the secondary characters. I loved how she gave them equal importance as the main characters and how she took her to flesh them out. Needless to say, I loved each and everyone of them!

The world building in The Storyspinner was initially disorienting, but once I got into the groove of the story, every element fell into place. One reason why I love fantasy books so much is because the world building can be so lush and elaborate. With The Storyspinner, I got exactly that. Rich and captivating, the world building in The Storyspinner was very strong. I loved how the author weaved together magic and storytelling into the book. The Keepers were especially interesting to me because they were almost mythical in Johanna's human world. The Storyspinner also had two story lines going through, one involving a lost princess and another murder investigation in the Keepers' POVs. I thought they both worked very well and when they finally came together coherently, it was even better for me. Oh and bonus? You get two swoony romance that build up over the course of the story! Both of them also started off antagonistically, which was s so well-done with the chemistry and the banter between the couples. The first half of the book had a playful tone to it, but man, Becky Wallace slayed my feelings during the last few chapters. She basically jabbed a knife into my heart! This is definitely one book that made me feel all kinds of emotions!

The Storyspinner is already a favorite book of 2015 for me. Becky Wallace is one talented author and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve. YA Fantasy fans, trust me when I say you WANT this book.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,164 followers
June 3, 2015
I cannot pretend to have not enjoyed--quite thoroughly--The Storyspinner. Although its plot is nothing new--a classic fantasy, complete with magic, a stolen princess, and cutthroat politics--Wallace manages to write it with aplomb. The Storyspinner is told from multiple perspectives but the main plot lines follow Johanna, the daughter of Performers whose family is kicked out after her father dies during his last performance and the Keepers, a group of warriors with magical abilities. Johanna finds herself working for Rafi, a young duke about to inherit his dukedom following the death of his father, but the two do not get along. Johanna and Rafi's storyline was one of my favorites, not only because of their hate-to-love romance but also because, in their own right, they are both incredible characters. Johanna carries the weight of caring for her family--her two younger brothers and her mother who has become an alcoholic following the death of her husband. Rafi, on the other hand, must deal with the political scheme that being a duke involves. Originally betrothed to the princess of the land--who was killed along with the rest of the royal family--Rafi must now juggle caring for his citizens and forming an alliance with the man who killed the princess and is responsible for the death of his cousin. Rafi and Johanna are the quintessential strong-willed protagonists but, nevertheless, they still manage to captivate and with their voices, distinct yet complementary, charm.

The Keepers, however, though an intriguing group, were a less interesting storyline to follow. Forget the odd romantic entanglements--filled with a little too much jealousy and angst for my liking--I simply never felt wholly connected to any one of these Keepers. I greatly enjoyed the world-building and the build-up of the two storylines until they converged but...The Storyspinner left much to be desired. I'm on board for the sequel, there is no doubt about that, but if I continue with Wallace's work remains to be seen. As a debut, this is remarkable, but the multiple points of view were about four too many and I wished for the emphasis on certain characters to move in different directions. Recommended, certainly, but with a few reservations.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,889 followers
May 16, 2015
We all know that good YA fantasy is hard to find. It’s where we find the brightest stars, but it’s also the most challenging of genres. For a debut author, writing in the same genre as Melina Marchetta, Kristin Cashore, Megan Whalen Turner, Rae Carson and many, many authors, can be very risky and, I assume, somewhat intimidating. After reading The Storyspinner, I believe Becky Wallace is one of the good ones. Not great just yet, but very promising indeed.

The Storyspinner is told from multiple points of view, and through the eyes of many, we follow two different storylines that eventually collide. Both are equally interesting, although I was partial to the storyline with the stronger romance. Constantly switching between six point of view characters could have been disastrous, but Wallace made it work with seeming ease.

The world she created for us seems simple at first, but it gets more complicated as the story progresses and I hope that the hardcover includes a map because keeping track can be difficult at times. In the beginning, we seem to have two worlds divided by a impenetrable barrier. One is the world of Keepers, filled with magic and wonders, and the other is inhabited by humans. When the barrier starts weakening, a group of Keepers has to cross for the first time in 300 years to find a missing princess and renew the wall between worlds. The world is a bit more complicated on the human sides, with so many dukes and their countries to keep track of. The political games may be light in this book, but they are nevertheless thrilling.

By constantly jumping from one storyline to the other, the author managed to keep the tension high throughout the lengthy novel. She made us care equally for all characters, which made the jumps between them all the more interesting. We also have two romances, one on each side and one stronger than the other. Johanna and Rafael stole my heart from the very beginning, and even when they despised each other, the tension between them was palpable.

But the ending was mean! I don’t appreciate cliffhangers and in fact, they are counterproductive in my case. I am less likely to pick up a sequel after a cliffhanger, strictly out of principle. A good novel should be able to pull us back for more all on its own, without relying on cheap tricks. And yet, I will be picking up the next Keepers' Chronicles book the second I can. It's just that good.

Profile Image for Jana (Nikki).
290 reviews
March 13, 2015
This review can also be found at my blog, There were books involved...


Final rating: 4.5 stars!

THE STORYSPINNER was an absolute delight -- and it was a total surprise to me. It wasn't even on my radar until a couple weeks before it came out! To be honest, I'm a little wary of starting new series lately, but right around its release date, there was quite a bit of talk on Twitter about it, so I thought, What the heck, and put it on hold at my library. Aaaaand then I read Brittany's review, and that sealed the deal. I needed it. The wait while my library took its merry time processing this book killed me. But finally, my hold came in, I picked it up, and I absolutely devoured it.

There were so many things about this book that I absolutely loved. The worldbuilding, the characters, the plot, the pacing, the writing, the romance(s!)... Everything was just done so well. THE STORYSPINNER was one of those books where it actually hurt when I had to set it down. (Full disclosure - I stayed up till midnight two nights in a row, reading this (that never happens) - the first night because I was doing the "just one more chapter..." thing, and the second night because I NEEDED TO FINISH IT, IT WAS JUST GETTING TOO INTENSE.)

I think THE STORYSPINNER is the ideal example of my perfect "lighter" YA fantasy. And when I say "lighter", what I mean is... It's not super dense, or overly dramatic, and the writing isn't flowery for the sake of being flowery. It is super engaging -- the writing flows really well, and simply carries the story instead of making itself into a Thing. I feel like there's a place for dense fantasy, and a place for lighter writing, and this story truly benefits from the lighter side of things. It lends itself to an action-packed, fast-paced story, without sacrificing things like worldbuilding or character development.

But, please don't misunderstand when I say it's "lighter" fantasy... I don't mean it's all happy and fluffy. THE STORYSPINNER didn’t pull punches, and there were definitely moments of heartbreak. But honestly, I appreciated those. With a lot of YA books, everything turns out perfectly fine for most of the characters in the end, and... it can be a bit unbelievable. It also makes it feel like the stakes aren't truly as high as they were be made out to be. But the stakes in THE STORYSPINNER are definitely high, and stuff definitely happens that is Not Good. So. Don't let that stop you from reading it, because it's wonderful, but don't say I didn't warn you.

As for the worldbuilding, THE STORYSPINNER is high fantasy, which usually means some sort of medieval English influence, right? Nope. This book is set in a world heavily influenced by Portugal and Portuguese culture. How awesome is this?! I've read a lot fantasy, and I've never encountered one with these sorts of influences before. I adored the setting, and the Portuguese-inspired names and culture. This world felt vibrant and cohesive, and I loved it. The magic system is also pretty cool -- it's not a Huge Deal, which was nice for a change. It just felt like something that was fairly straightforward and worked really well in this story.

But my favorite thing about THE STORYSPINNER, unsurprisingly, was the characters. I say "unsurprisingly" because by now, I'm sure you know that characters are the be-all and end-all of whether I'll love a book or not. And my 4.5-star rating, by itself, is a pretty good indication that I loved the characters.

And holy wow, there are a lot of characters. THE STORYSPINNER basically follows two groups of people. There's Jacaré, Leão, Pira, and Tex, who are on a mission to find the missing heir to the throne of a neighboring kingdom, Santarem. Then, within said neighboring kingdom, there's Johanna, who's trying to help her mother and three brothers get by after her father's death. After being mistaken for a poacher on Lord Rafael's lands, one thing leads to another and she ends up landing a position as a Performer (singer and Storyspinner) at Rafi's estate. ...And yes, all of these characters get POV chapters.

Holy crap! I hear you exclaim, How/why/how do all these characters get their own POV's?! Fear not, dear reader -- because it is done incredibly well. For one thing, there's really only two "threads" to the plot, so even though we're getting POV's from tons of characters, they're part of only one of two sides to the story. And for another thing, these characters are fantastic. Each and every one of them has a unique perspective, they're immediately engaging, and I was never bored with any of them. How often do we read books with switching POV's and want to jump back to our favorite? All the time! Well not with this book. I was equally absorbed by every single POV, and that is not an easy task to accomplish. (It wasn't just the POV characters who were great, though, either. Johanna's three brothers, and Rafi's brother Dom, were also stand-out characters for me. I loved them to pieces.)

But with alllll these characters comes the potential for some romance... and boy oh boy, did I love THE STORYSPINNER's romance(s!!). There are two main ones, only one of which I'm going to talk about because I feel like this one is the expected one -- Rafi and Johanna. YOU GUYS, THESE TWO. I SHIP THEM SO HARD. They ticked so many of my "OTP" boxes - he mistook her for a boy the first time they met; there's the obvious class difference (which I like seeing explored); they do not get along at first, but obviously enjoy verbally sparring with one another; they have to ""pretend"" (can I add enough quotation marks around that word?) to like each other for a while... Just. EVE.RY.THING. And it doesn't help that the two of them are such strong characters on their own. Johanna is fierce and determined and driven to help her family; Rafi is a bit closed-off but truly has a heart of gold and an incredible sense of responsibility and honor and... I just... ugh. I fell pretty hard for Rafi.

And as for the other two romances -- one is super sweet and less a romance than just an adorable crush, but the other is definitely a romance and holy crap I really really ship them, too. There are just a lot of ships and I love shipping okay leave me alone.

One tiny, tiny nitpicky thing for me was that it sort of ended on a cliffhanger, one of those mid-scene types -- however , the plot was pretty wrapped up by that point anyway, and as things stand at the end, events are just kicking off for More Excitement To Come. So, really... I can't complain too much about that.

In conclusion...

THE STORYSPINNER has so many awesome things going for it. I LOVED THE ROMANCES--obviously. I was super impressed with how the story and world felt fresh and exciting and believable. And most importantly, I found the main characters to be compelling and engaging and worth caring about.

So, yeah. If you're looking for your latest fun-but-also-feelsy, can't-put-it-down, OTP's-for-days YA fantasy... this is it. I highly recommend it. You really can't go wrong.


There were books involved...
Profile Image for Booknut 101.
849 reviews922 followers
March 21, 2015
Very reminiscent of books such as Morgan Rhodes' Falling Kingdoms series, The Storyspinner is a pleasing read.

The only flaws I could spot were:
1. The many, many POVs
2. How predictable the plot was

In the case of point #2, the plot was far too easy to guess (or maybe I just have superior sleuthing skills!). Evil characters seemed shifty from the start, the 'missing' princess could be spotted from a mile off and it was obvious to everyone that the two characters who hated each-other would end up smooching at some point.

I wish there had been some kind of mix up/twist I hadn't seen coming - to lift the book that extra bit, and to give it that 5 star rating :)
Profile Image for TL .
1,826 reviews35 followers
March 11, 2015
A fun but not very compelling and never boring tale ... 3.5 stars.
(Probly not a grammar perfect sentence but oh well :-P)

When I read the premise for this, I was excited. It sounded like alot of fun and I loved the idea of an MC who was a Performer and StorySpinner. I was also a little wary, hoping the romance wouldn't overtake the plot and leave it in the background.

The world building and setting was interesting, I liked that it was sprinkled throughout the book and not shoved in our faces at every turn. The Keepers intrigued me, you could feel the history pulsing through them...

There were parts I would have loved to know more about, the war in particular and those who stayed on the other side of the Wall... those alone would have made an excellent novel on its own methinks.

Jacare, Leao, Texugo and Pira .. band of mage misfits? ;-) Jacare recruits them all to come on his mission to rescue the heir (on the book jacket) and saving their land.

The murders of the other girls was slightly unsettling and kept me guessing as to who the killer was. One part I suspected and the other was kind of a surprise but not really.

The Performers camp was fun and lively... would not have minded spending a few nights there and/or watching them, perform :)

Vibora... creeepy lady, all I will say there ? *shudders* I kept picturing Emma Frost from 'X-Men First Class.

I didn't really feel their evilness/villainy... creepy sure but other than Vibora, didn't scare me much.

I was expecting more of an 'epicness' to the story... if that makes sense. It is quite a tale but it felt more... not "fantasy light" exactly but that certain elements, weren't there I guess would be the terms? It kept me from being fully immersed in the story.

There are many POVs in here, but the switching between them is fairly seemless and not hard to keep everyone straight. Each character's voice is clear and concise (right word?).

*A chapter from Texugo's mind would have been fun but I digress... he didn't get much page time either, a pity :(*

The first half of the novel, not much happens but at the same time it does. The pages fly by quickly as you follow the journey of everyone and the threads untangle/come together bit by bit. Some of it I kind of predicted early on but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the story at all.

Dom and Lady DeSilva were a hoot... Rafi took awhile for me to warm up to but still never fully connected with him. The compassion they felt for their subjects was touching.

Romance: It's not really in forefront of the story but right alongside it, the one between two characters I thought was cute. It me mentally cheering for them and a big smile on my face. It did feel tossed in and the aftermath had me wanting to lock them both in a room but I liked the two of them together.

Johanna and Rafi... the first meeting was not either of them expected and they don't get off on the right foot at all. As they spend more time together though, they soften towards each other. Plenty of bickering between though, it was fun to watch :). Johanna didn't take any crap from Rafi and he was at a loss as what to do with her.

Johanna was one of the better MCs in YA that I've come across... She reminded a little of Katniss in some aspects of her personality but she's got her own strength as well :).

Loved Johanna's brother and the family loyalty/devotion between them all. You can tell they would do anything for each other. They weren't a huge presence in the story, wish we would have had more of them.
The ending, while not boring, was hard to get through. Not because of anything happening exactly... it just felt, bland and not forced exactly, but a little rush. Since one fact about Johanna is confirmed (sort of) early on... it also felt anti-climatic as well.

Sometimes the novel went back and forth between wonderful, and bland/average. A couple things did feel awfully convenient and I would have loved to see more of a one character. There was only a glimpse and then nothing else... maybe she'll be in book two in some form?

A good tale, not perfect but a fun read and one I don't regret buying. I'm not curious enough to purchase book two but I would recommend this.

Who knows? You may like it better than me :).

How I imagine Johanna's voice:

Pardons if this review sounds confused... guess it reflects my back and forth feelings.
Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 31 books4,630 followers
October 27, 2014
Official comments:
Set in a rich, fully realized world of magic, legends, and political unrest, THE STORYSPINNER took me on an adventure I won’t soon forget. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Profile Image for Rachel  (APCB Reviews).
331 reviews1,191 followers
October 26, 2015
Initial thoughts: Oh this one was great!! A romance I ship, awesome storyline, strong characters.

Read the full review @ A Perfection Called Books

Let's start with the synopsis because that's what really made me obsess and theorize over this book. The premise of this book is interesting and well developed. Keepers have magically ability who live on one side of the magical boundary while humans live on the other side. The magical boundary is kept strong by the human monarchy. After the slaughter of the royal family with whispers of the heir having escaped, supporters and enemies alike go to find her, some to kill her, others to have her take back her throne and strengthen the boundary again.

This book is told from alternating points of view. Becky did an amazing job with it, and her decision to do that seemed crucial and made perfect sense. It wasn't frivolous as it seems to be in some other books. Each point of view brings necessary information to the plot and really rounds out the story. It was fascinating seeing all the different seams come together. I loved peering into various characters' heads.

I loved the characters so much. Johanna's loyalty to her family and how she perseveres are both admirable qualities. She's extremely stubborn too. Rafi's the dutiful and honorable lord who is compassionate and full-heartedly cares for his people. He's the sweetest. The romance between Johanna and Rafi was absolutely perfect. It progressed slowly, and built over time. Nothing was rushed or forced, it was amazingly wonderful. Dom is Rafi's hilarious younger brother. I love the family values and bonds in this book. Especially those between Rafi's family and the bonds between Johanna and her siblings. The Keepers in this story were quite endearing as well. The Storyspinner contains lots of strong characters that I love!

In terms of world-building this book was fascinating and fantastic. Everything was described simply and well. There was no information dump nor was there any confusion. Although this book lacked a lot of action, there was something completely beguiling about it. There's something that keeps your eyes glued to the page, something that urges you to turn the pages and go on.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for book #2!
Profile Image for Petra.
419 reviews65 followers
March 24, 2016
Second read: March 2016. Still one of the best books I've ever read. <3

First read: March 2015
When I started reading this I was hoping for a good book, maybe even a great one. But what I did not expect to find was that it was freaking awesome! I loved everything about it. The plot was intriguing and magical, the characters were real and loveable, and the writing was spellbinding. Becky Wallace is the true Storyspinner, and I'm already dying to read the the sequel. And to all of you who hasn't read The Storyspinner yet; what are you waiting for?!
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,059 reviews16 followers
March 29, 2015
To see review with gifs click here.

This book has made me realize that I’m going to take a sabbatical from high fantasies for awhile. It’s not that I don’t like fantasies, it’s that I truly believe the market is becoming overly saturated with them and I really just need a breather.

The Storyspinner wasn’t a terrible book, but it was just so cliche. And it didn’t help that it had five million points of view. So, yeah, I DNF’d it. And here are my top ten reasons why I DNF’d it and I guess why I’m taking a sabbatical from all the YA fantasy books for now.

10)A Lost Princess: Really, why must there always be a lost princess? Why is it such a necessity? Never mind that monarchies have had multiple problems throughout the years, and have caused their countries severe problems. The long lost princess will fix everything (snark). Whenever I see the Long Lost Princess cliche, like in Storyspinner, I start to feel my eyes twitch. And I usually need to make myself a stiff drink to get through the reading process.

9) Snail Pace: Often fantasies move at a snail’s pace. This is no exception.

8) The Poverty Cliche: One of our main characters has be dirt poor. Bottom of the totem pool and of course they come in contact with the wealthy class. Usually because of quest of that person in extreme poverty is the Chosen One or something else mundane. Here the Poor Character is caught trying to hunt on Rich Character’s property. It’s enough where they can come together and I’m sure serve some purpose in three books.

7) The World Is Different Than It Used to Be: We hear this vaguely, in some POVs, in others it just seems like life has been this way forever. So, I’m even confused about how the utopia turned to shit when some character are acting like everything is a-okay.

6) Unpronounceable Names: At least The Storyspinner tries to route it’s own language in Portuguese, the book is a Brazilian inspired fantasy, but still I don’t like having to try to figure out how to say a characters name.

5) Girls in Drag for No Reason: I like the Mulan trope more than anyone, but when it serves no purpose I get annoyed. Plus,I get annoyed that short hair and pants are enough to convince a guy that the girl in front of him is a guy. Short hair and pants. SMH.

4) Mysterious Prologue IS Important You MUST Read It, Even Though You Won’t Understand It: The prologue was obviously very important to the world building for this book. And as usual, the prologue read like a cliche. Parental/Close Relative/Close Friend tells MC something important and then croaks. Sometimes there’s variants on this prologue. Like maybe the parents dies when the Important Character isn’t cognitive and leaves something behind, but not the case here.

3) Mysterious Group You Could Care Less About But Will Be the Info Dump Group: I really could care less about the Keepers. I don’t know what they really were, other than trying to find a long lost princess.

2) Romantic Cliches that Make You Think This Romance is So Forced: The love/hate relationship is very common in fantasy,it doesn’t help when you’ve read five thousand of these. And I really couldn’t care for Rafael at all.

1) Five Million Billion Points of View: I like multiple points of view, but the various view points in The Storyspinner was excessive and it ultimately was what lead me to DNF it. Some people might like this element of the story more than I did. For me though, it left me feeling a huge disconnect with the characters. I couldn’t even pinpoint most of the characters. It was as if this book wasn’t even sure of itself.
Profile Image for Michelle.
494 reviews106 followers
January 8, 2016
I wasn't sure if I was going to like or dislike this before I started because I haven't really heard about it from any reviewers or my Goodreads friends. It has been sitting on my shelf for a while now but I have been eyeing it lately so I thought I would give it a try. I am very happy to say it was a very good decision to read this book.

Synopsis: Johanna Von Arlo's father dies and her entire family of Performers, exactly what it sounds like, are kicked out of their group and end up on their own. She eventually ends up working for Lord Rafael, a soon-to-be Duke who isn't too fond of Johanna. The other part of the overall plot is that a group of Keepers, people with magic, who are looking for the lost princess. They need to bring her back to the wall that is separating the Keepers from the rest of the world because the wall is weakening. Of course several terrible things will happen if the wall falls.

Even though it is pretty obvious who the princess is, if you have read enough YA, the story is more about knowing that good and bad people are looking for the princess and danger could be coming from any direction. I was eagerly waiting for both group of characters to meet but even with the two storylines, the plot moves at a great pace because it is told from multiple perspectives. Also the characters are all amazing. Like seriously, love them! (Jacare is mine by the way.)

I'm just going to say that you need to read this now. It is a unexpectedly amazing fantasy novel. I recommend it to pretty much everyone.

Overall: 4.5 stars
Recommendation: If you love fantasy and want more couples to ship then read this book.
Profile Image for Natalie (Never trust a duck).
264 reviews170 followers
April 10, 2015
Laeo you sly dog, I knew you had it in you.
Jacare you have.....quite the interesting pallet.
Johanna you kick ALL there asses.
Pira you take that stick outta your tall behind and grab that 'lion' by his mane (or lack thereof). hehehe
Rafi your middle name is Santiago and for that I have the utmost respect for you.
Dom you can eat whatever you'd like at my house.
Belem you can bet I'll haunt your drunken butt, you can call me Spooky.
Maribelle you should go. You should go.
Profile Image for Andye.Reads.
845 reviews432 followers
February 26, 2015
I seriously loved this book!! I've had a hard time getting into any books lately (except rereads) so I was SO happy this one was so awesome!!
Profile Image for Eunice.
255 reviews527 followers
May 28, 2015
I was so ready to sacrifice the few remaining hours of my sleep for this book when I turn the next page and I got - Acknowledgements. (I thought there would be at least two more chapters before that.) Man, I need more!!!

This is a very promising introduction for a sure to-be amazing YA fantasy series! Can't wait for the next book!! ;)

I highly recommend this!
Profile Image for Jaime (Two Chicks on Books).
825 reviews400 followers
November 12, 2014
I freaking loved this what a great high fantasy! Becky has written an amazing story in multiple POV's which sometimes is a tough sell. But I loved Every POV and it just made the world she built that much bigger! I adore Rafi and Dom!!! I really hope there's a map in the finished copy!
Profile Image for Farrah.
1,249 reviews207 followers
June 22, 2014
An absolutely amazing YA read, filled with magic, thrills, secrets, and sweet romance, The Storyspinner was a brilliant read. I LOVED this book! It was a beautifully written, fantastic YA tale of epic proportions and I loved every bit of it.

The way the story was told was interesting. It was different, but it really worked for the book. Two separate story lines are told concurrently, until they converge near the end of the book. On one side was Johanna and Rafael and their lives in the human world, while the magic-wielding Keepers were on the other side, trying to find the lost princess to restore balance to their worlds. Meanwhile, the point of view shifted between each of the give main characters, plus a couple of scenes from another's perspective. Normally, I would find this annoying, but it was very well done in this book. The transition between characters flowed and I never got confused about whose head I was in. All of this worked really well for the book and, along with the beautiful prose, I thought it was all very well written.

The main human characters (Johanna and Rafael) were both great. Johanna was strong, clever, and very protective of her brothers. I thought she was just lovely and I really liked her. Rafael seems cold and distant on the surface, but it doesn't take long to realize that he was a very honorable person who was extremely dedicated to his people and super sweet when he wanted to be. He was wonderful and I totally adored him.

The romance with these two was so sweet. It progressed naturally, which I appreciated. They were perfect together. Though after a certain revelation near the end of the book, I wonder if (and how) their relationship will change. We'll see...

The Keepers (there were three of them) were also great. Jacare was very honorable and determined to do what was best for everyone, in both worlds. Pira was strong and very independent, though she could sometimes cross the line into a shrew, acting rude and judgmental . Leao was very sweet. But, be careful not to underestimate him. He might seem naive and innocent, but he was also a force to be reckoned with. I thought all three of them were wonderful characters.

There was a light romance between Pira and Leao. It developed slowly, due to Pira's bull-headedness, but I'm interested to see where their relationship goes.

The plot was fast paced and I was totally hooked the entire way through. There were plenty of thrills to keep me on the edge of my seat, along with secrets and political games. And, the atmosphere of the characters' world really drew me in. I loved the story and the ending has me itching to get my hands on book 2. Can't wait to read it!

The Storyspinner was a brilliant YA read. I absolutely LOVED this book! From the engaging characters and sweet romances, to the endless thrills, surprising secrets, and fantastic story, this book was amazing. YA lovers, this book is a must read.

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*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Pili.
1,164 reviews216 followers
January 10, 2016
Oh boy, how much did I enjoy this one!! A lovely debut with multiple POV done right, a wonderful storytelling style and fantastic world building! I'm beyond happy to have the sequel at hand because I need to know what happens next!!

The story of The Storyspinner is one that might seem familiar, with a secret that I could see coming from the very beginning, but its strenght was not in doing something completely new, but in getting the very well known and rehearsed and giving it new life!

The setting is both unique and familiar because it's Brazilian/Portuguese rooted and well, Portugal is my neighbour and all that. I loved how the world was more than what you see at first, but never exactly what you would expect. I loved the Performers based both on the Romani and on the original wandering circuses, and how they are their own culture and society, but are not completely isolated from their surrounding society.

Joanna was a great character, with her flaws that made her more real and her love for her family that never wavered, no matter what befell them, ready to do what was necessary for their well being.

Rafi is the new Duke, inherited his position on his father's death and it's trying to do the best job that he can, even when things and people end up in his way, turning his world upside down!

The story is told from different alternating POVs and follows two different but colliding stories, one with Joanna & Rafi and their families and political issues, and another with Jacaré, Pira, Leão & Tex on their mission to infiltrate the neighbouring kingdom to restore the magical barrier that separates both kingdoms. I don't always like alternating multiple POVs, but here they were done so very well! No repeat information, no dragging the pacing or jarring it and we just simply keep on getting more and more information.

There is romance, and a hate to love, slow burn kind of romance that I really enjoyed! I also liked that even when the feelings came out, things didn't get resolved instantly. The couple needs to learn to communicate better and to work on resolving issues, and a kiss doesn't magically fix it, but they both agree to work on the issues but put the current live threatening circumstances first. There's another romance that is not hate to love, but that was also rather easy to see for everyone but those involved and that made me want to knock their heads together!

The biggest complain would be the cliffhanger, but since I read this one with an ARC of the sequel in my hands, let's say it didn't bother me as much as it would have otherwise! Just be aware that there is a rather cruel one here!

A fantastic debut, with everything that I love about fantasy and making it feel fresh! Very much deserved 4 stars for this one!
Profile Image for Laurie Treacy.
Author 58 books89 followers
February 15, 2015
When I open up a fantasy novel I read for a bunch of reasons: to escape, to discover and learn, to get lost, and to fall in love. I find when I'm done that my experience has fulfilled one or two of the reasons of my list, sometimes none, but when a book has me go through everything, I call that one a "keeper." Let me tell you, The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace is definitely a keeper!

Let me explain further. The Storyspinner features an amazing colorful cast of interesting characters, the story lines are filled with excitement, wonder, mysteries and more, the worldbuilding treats us to a strange, intriguing new world, and there's a budding love story. I never wanted to stop reading. Take a break? Get a drink? No way! When I realized there were multiple points-of-view (narrated by Johanna, Rafael, Jacaré, Leão, Tex and Pira), I'll admit I grew hesitant. There was no need to worry. Wallace's characters kept the story flowing, sharing their views, while the pacing held steady. Fight scenes were intense, sections filled with wonder held tension, while lighter scenes provided a welcomed break.

Johanna is the ideal heroine for YA fantasy. A young girl growing up, part of a "Performing" family, forced to face unknown situations and dangers, she's dedicated to her family, tough, smart and compassionate. She watches over her younger brothers and their mom. It took a while to warm up to Lord Rafael "Rafi" DeSilva due to his arrogance and attitude, but later on he won me over during a certain dance with his sweet charm. What intrigued me most about this book were the two storylines--Johanna and Rafi and a group of magic users called The Keepers--which intersect together farther in. This group has been searching for someone who they think is Johanna but will she believe them? There's a lot to enjoy.

Fantasy lover? Let The Storyspinner weave its magic around you. It worked for me. I can't wait for book two of The Keepers' Chronicles. (http://www.readergirlsblog.com/2015/0...)
Profile Image for Heather.
571 reviews
January 24, 2015
enjoyed this one! I loved the Spanish flavor of the setting and the people which reminded me of Rae Carson's Fire & Thorns series. The worldbuilding is strong, though there are some parts that need to be explained a bit better-- but the writing is smart and lush-- loved the descriptions of the tropical plants & trees (mangos everywhere!) and I loved the concept of Joanna and her family who are part circus performers part minstrels-- spinning stories like ancient peoples carrying on history via oral traditions around a fire. The characters were crafted well and I liked both of the storylines-- Joanna's and Jacare's equally. Definitely had moments of romance in both storylines and I enjoyed both.

ended a bit abruptly but not with a cliffie. I'll definitely be back to read more and hope the worldbuilding is expanded and the characters given even greater depth and emotion.
Profile Image for Shay.
234 reviews39 followers
June 15, 2015
This book was just so so good. Going into it I'd heard a lot of good things about it, even though like first time I saw it? I was unimpressed. Sure the cover is pretty but it just didn't scream at me to read it, you know? But I was wrong. Luckily, I saw that Petra loved it and I tend to trust her opinions on fantasy and... She's was so right.

This book follows Johanna, who is a performer in this magical world. All Johanna really wants to do is be a performer, born into a family of them and living her whole life in a performers camp it's all she knows and loves. Then her father dies, and her family is essentially kicked out of the camp. This world is basically on the brink of war, there are the Keepers who live on the other side of the wall and are basically a legend among Johanna's people. Then there's the Duke's, one of which is very power hungry, and basically, trouble is brewing and Johanna seems to be in the middle of it. Starting with girls who look like her being mysteriously killed.

A Few Of My Favorite Things:

- The best thing about this book was the characters. I was a little worried when I heard that there were so many different points of view, with chapters from at least five characters, but all of them were so well written and all the characters so real and unique that not once did all the POVs feel unneeded or like it was too much. Usually I find myself less interested in certain characters when there are so many POVs but I loved them all and was equally looking forward to each of them.

- There was some definite swooning involved in my reading of this, there's so many great characters and I loved them all and I shipped Johanna and Rafi but more than that I loved Pira and Leao. There's romance but it's very understated and just enough to have you rooting for the characters with out over powering the rest of the story. Also, no insta love so that's a bonus!

- This book was just so unique and amazing, with so many amazing and well written characters. I loved that Johanna was a performer and she could take care herself without just randomly being a good fighter, she'd learned it all from her years as a performer. She would do anything to protect her family and is kind of just badass. And Pira(a keeper from the other side of the wall) was probably my favorite just because she is the epitome of badass and just...awesome. I also loved the other characters too.

A Few Of My Not So Favorite Things:

- The only slight downside I found with this book, the one little thing that wasn't quite as awesome as the rest, was the world building. It didn't suck or anything but, especially in the beginning, it was just kind of confusing. It took me a little while to work out how this world was set up with the Keepers on one side of the wall and everyone else on the other and the whole different Dukedoms and the dead King and just how that was all set up. I think it probably could have been explained a little better in the beginning. Again, it wasn't horrible, didn't ruin any of my enjoyment of the book, just slightly confusing.

Overall: It's been almost a month since I read this(evidenced by my horrible version of a synopsis) but I can still say that I highly recommend this book, it's one of the best fantasy books I've read in a while.

Would I Recommend This? Yes.
To Whom? Any fan of YA Fantasy with epic character building.
Will I read more from this author(or series)? Yes. I'm dying for more!
Profile Image for Kristen Kooistra.
Author 1 book99 followers
February 3, 2017
DNF 49%

I'm not sure what to say about this. It's not a bad book. There's nothing glaringly wrong. It didn't make me frustrated or angry, or really anything. The writing is fine, the characters are okay.

The story is just so BORING. With six pov's that barely give you time with one character before switching, it was impossible for me to connect with any of them. The plot is slow, and I'm still not sure what it is.

There's a girl who was a performer and now she's just living a normal life with her family. So we see her rather average, everyday stuff. And then there's a group of "mages" that are traveling in search of a lost heir.

Nothing seems to be urgent or pressing. There's hints of danger but it's so far removed that it doesn't make any impact. The mages want to find the missing heir so the shield between their kingdom and the heir's kingdom stays up, but so far there's nothing that seems dangerous about the other kingdom so I don't feel the urgency to preserve the wall.

The girl, who of course is the heir, has no danger in her life and one of the character's in her town mentions a duke or something from another province who is a jerk, but again, we haven't met him at this point and only hear that he's "not nice". Also not feeling like a threat.

There's finally something urgent when the string of murders makes it obvious someone is trying to kill the heir(though killing every 16 year old orphaned female with brown hair is kind of a stupid plan to hopefully hit the right person, especially with one killer).

At this point, I just don't care. The one time the FMC uses the bow on the cover is to shoot a deer and that happens off-screen. The chapter starts after she's shot it. So no idea why someone thought the cover was a good idea. She's a circus kid who tells stories, why not build a cover around that?

Anyway, like I said, nothing horrid or technically wrong or offensive or irritating. It's just dull, very dull. Not a strong plot and without a good plot or characters I connect with, I really have no interest in the story. So I'm going to call it quits on this one.

As a side note, not sure if this is YA or NA. The three mages with pov's are adults and the other three are teens, I think, at least the FMC is a teen.

I guess I'd say 2.5 on a rating? I'm not finishing, but I have seen worse and it's not terrible, as mentioned.
Profile Image for Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin).
214 reviews3,654 followers
February 19, 2016
Originally posted on Super Space Chick:

*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!

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!
Profile Image for Krys.
736 reviews170 followers
October 10, 2015

The Storyspinner is a debut novel by Becky Wallace. It's traditional high fantasy for the Young Adult market. I heard about it when it was first announced and was intrigued from the very start. Last week I picked it up between reviews and writing and read it in my spare time. It was exactly everything that I wanted.

The Storyspinner is two basic plot lines told from several third person point-of-views. We follow Johanna, a young woman from the Performers, as she witnesses her Father's death. This sets of a chain of events that completely alter her life. After being forced from the Performers, Johanna and her family are living in the public forest in Santiago, the ducal of the DeSilva house. The reigning duke, Rafael DeSilva, happens upon Johanna when she shoots a deer and tracks it onto his land. The law forbids shooting a deer on the DeSilva land and Rafi, believing her to be a poacher (and a man), attempts to stop the crime. Johanna, heavily trained in acrobatics, fights back. The result is a chilling conflict that sets up the plot for the rest of the book.

At the same time, a group of Keepers, those blessed with magical abilities, are on a mission for the Mage Council. The barrier between two lands is weakening and is in danger of disappearing forever. The barrier requires two anchors to stabilize it. The Olinda side is stable but the Santarem side is attached to the royals and the heir has been missing for years. While on the pursuit, they unearth a series of murders that threatens the safety of their mission; someone is murdering victims that resemble the lost heir. The Keepers, determined to succeed, are racing against time and other dangers in order to ensure that the magical barrier stays in place. Everything depends on their success.

There is so much to love about The Storyspinner. For one thing it is fast paced easy reading. It is a good book for a reader who is not a fantasy reader but wants to explore the genre. The world building is subtle and simple with no archaic dense languages or complicated magic systems to be found. Everything is neat and tidy and very easily accessible.

The second perk is the characters; a lively, likable, well-rounded group of people. In the estate of the DeSilvas you have Rafi, his brother Dom, their Mother, all of the nobles, Johanna, and her family (including her three rambunctious younger brothers). In the camp of people coming from Olinda you have Jacaré, his sister Pira, Mage Leão, and Texugo, their mentor. The chapters frequently change adding unpredictable vivacity to the action. The narrators are interesting and fully developed, the plot well-paced. You're swept up into the action before you even realize it!

In the midst of this book lies two impossibly sweet romances. The best part is that they don't overpower the action or the characters themselves and yet the reader can't help but cheer for the players. The dynamics leading up to these moments are believable and harsh and sweet and magical.

Part George R.R. Martin, part Marie Rutkoski, The Storyspinner is its own unique brand of storytelling magic. I loved this book. I loved everything about it. I finished it in a rush and felt the visceral, heart-wrenching impact of a sudden standstill. I want book two... Scratch that. I need book two!

More of this please, Becky Wallace. More of this!

- review courtesy of www.bibliopunkkreads.com
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