Once again, I picked up a book for the cover. All that drew me to this book was the word “story” in the title and the fact that it looks like it might be about a lady Robin Hood. Spoiler: it is not about a lady Robin Hood. However, despite that, I’m glad that I cheated a bit and read The Storyspinner, because I really liked it. The Storyspinner starts off a new fantasy series with a cool setting, delightful cast of characters, and some truly awesome magic.
In the first pages, I was enraptured by the concept of storyspinning. It’s storytelling, only more vibrant, adding in the use of illustrations drawn in dust thrown into the air. How do they manage to draw pictures in floating dust? I can’t tell you, but come on it’s a fantasy and that’s so cool. Basically, I picture it like this, only drawn vertically and accompanied by words.
The book opens with Johanna’s happy family. They’re all performers. Her father’s best known as an acrobat, her mother for singing, Johanna for storysinging, and her three brothers are heading for careers as acrobats too. Setting the tone for the coming story, the novel opens with pain. A happy family in fantasy basically necessitates death. Womp womp. The Storyspinner starts out as pretty badass fantasy and continues on in that vein. If you like your fantasy dark, get excited.
There are five POV characters in The Storyspinners: Johanna, Jacaré, Rafi, Leão, and Pira. I will warn you that the narrative jumps around a lot. The individual chapters don’t tend to last too long and a number are just two pages. Since the narrative is in third person limited, though, there’s no issue keeping the characters straight. I actually really liked all the different POV characters and found them pretty close to equally interesting, so this worked really well for me. Not only that, but there are a lot of very strong female characters in The Storyspinners, which is something I keep an eye out for in fantasy.
The plot follows relatively familiar lines in this first volume. There’s a missing princess, whose identity probably will not surprise you, and an incredibly evil bad guy. There wasn’t too much that really caught me off guard. That said, I think it’s all done well and I was really into the story at all points. I’ll definitely hope for increased complexities in motivations and such as the series continues, but I think The Storyspinners is a great start.
Plus, the ships are off to glorious starts. There are two and I ship them both very hard. You know me. I’m basically sold at this point. One of them is hate to love and the other one is definitely against the will of the two people having serious lustful feelings for one another. There are a couple of great kiss scenes too. I NEED MORE OF THIS.
What Left Me Wanting More:
What I’m really torn on is the world building. I love the concept of the Keepers’ essencia and their elemental powers. I’m pretty much always on board for that. The setting appears to be in some fantasy version of South America; it’s either mostly or entirely set in Brazil. I can’t say for sure, though, because I find some of the world building really confusing. The best example is in the character names. They’re mostly Portuguese, but then there are a handful of English names thrown in, like Johanna’s family. I just don't get the logic of this.
The Final Verdict:
The Storyspinners is a captivating fantasy debut and I can tell you right now that I will be reading book two when it comes out in eight million years. Maybe reading it so early wasn’t such a brilliant idea after all.