The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

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Title: The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles #1)
Author: Becky Wallace
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 432
Source: Bought
Add to Goodreads / Amazon.ca / Indigo

Overall: 3 STARS

Summary:
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.

My Thoughts: 
My enjoyment of Becky Wallace's YA debut The Storyspinner is firmly in the "like" territory. Sure, there are some really thrilling, suspenseful moments in the book, especially towards the conclusion, but when it's essentially a given that Johanna is the long-lost princess of Santarem and one very obvious villain emerges, there's nothing really left to surprise me. The Storyspinner was entertaining enough to read in one sitting, but I kept waiting for plots twists to come that never did arrive.

You know how the book description says the kingdom of Santarem is a place "where dukes plot their way to the throne"? It's actually a very misleading statement because, in actuality, it's just the one duke who's trying to claim the throne. I'm still undecided if I should consider another duke a serious enough contender in the power struggle. The other two dukes, teenage Lord Rafael DeSilva and his uncle, are both still very much loyal to the murdered royal family. And on another note, Johanna is hirednot forcedto work as a storyspinner on the DeSilva estate to help provide for her family. Rafael may grate on Joanna's nerves, but his younger brother and mother are really kind and supportive.

Despite the hefty length of the novel, there still wasn't enough time to really see a lot of character growth. The Storyspinner is narrated from multiple POVs, a blur of changing perspectives that doesn't follow a particular pattern. Every major and minor character seemed to have their very own chapter dedicated to them, which was very disorienting for me to read. I don't mind a few POVs to help strengthen the world-building, especially since a single perspective from Johanna's POV could have been very limiting, but it was excessive how often Becky Wallace would shift perspectives. I don't need to be explicitly told what everyone is thinking or feeling! Please, allow us to read between the lines or leave some details as a mystery to be solved.

The Keepers' Chronicles has a lot of potential to grow as a series, but I don't think The Storyspinner grabbed my attention enough to convince me the sequel would be a must-read. I wanted to fall in love with The Storyspinner, I really did, but in comparison to the dozens of other YA fantasy novels I've read, there was nothing about it that particularly stood out to me once I finishing reading the book. I wanted a narrative that felt fresh and exciting, and while I did see sparks of originality weaved into the storyline when it came to the mysterious, magical Keepers, the 6+ shifting perspectives was just so off-putting and lessened my enjoyment of what could have been a much more entertaining read.

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