Saturday, February 14, 2015

Early YA book review: The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles #1) by Becky Wallace @simonteen @BeckyWallace1

The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles #1)
by Becky Wallace
YA high fantasy
Hardcover/eBook, 432 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

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.

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.

Rating: 5 Loved it!

Cover comment:
I know some will equate a bow and arrow with Katniss, but in fantasy heroines have been using them far longer than the lass in Panem.

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