A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I found this book to have a wonderful, moderate pace which was absorbing but not break neck. I was able to enjoy taking my time to read this but always felt interested in the storyline. I loved that Wallace incorporated a good portion of action in the last half of the book. I felt that the magic, sword fights and horse chases were beautifully descriptive and so easy to visualize. I could picture everything clearly and felt that Wallace pulled from some of my early fantasy roots.
The setting was lush and though this is a fantasy the book’s world wasn’t incredibly far fetched. Many aspects echo our own world and you can see the author’s inspiration being derived from real places, animals etc (check out her Pintrest page to see more). I personally liked this aspect because it made everything very easy to visualize as well as the magical elements seem that much more magical.
I loved the Performer’s camp and the caravan elements. The namesake of the title- Storyspinner- was touched upon and there are a few scenes where you get to witness what it might possibly feel like to sit in the audience and watch someone perform. I could easily picture these parts as a movie and am ready to see a Storyspinner in real life (please and thank you).
Be aware- in the last part of the book there were some scenes with animal violence though it didn’t feel overdone or too detailed. It hurt for me to read but it did match the tone and storyline of the book. I just want to warn those that have serious issues to be prepared.
This book utilized a lot of point of views (at least 5) but it was done very well and each character felt distinct to me. I felt that switching POVs allowed me to see the story from different angles and helped enhance my reading experience. Honestly, I think it’s rather difficult to accomplish this and Wallace succeeded.
I did find myself favoring one character in particular and that was Pira. I really loved reading from her view point and watching the internal struggle with her feelings towards a certain Keeper. I thought her insecurities, jealousies and strength combined to make her a delightfully flawed, yet strong character.
In some ways Johanna was the main character of the story and I felt that she too was wonderful. She was loyal and brave though she carried some guilt and resentment as well. I felt that as the series progresses we’ll see more character growth for all the characters but Johanna in particular. With the way this book was done none of the view points felt all that secondary and each of the main leads had elements that kept me interested in their particular storyline. There are side characters and they were done very well. We get to see some of them from multiple point of views which I always love since you see different elements shine.
This book was not romance heavy -I felt that there was just enough to keep me hooked and to be honest I could use just a tad more in the next book. I have a couple I’m shipping so that’s always a plus.
The Storyspinner was a very strong debut and I’m excited for this new series to continue. Becky Wallace’s writing was strong as well as her ability to reveal the story through multiple view points. I enjoyed her characters and my only qualm was the small amount of animal violence- though I can’t really fault it in this type of book–lots of fighting and magic being thrown around there will obviously be causalities. Simply, I’d like more now please.