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Spin Me Right Round

Becky Wallace’s debut novel, The Storyspinner, weaves a tale of acrobatics, nobility, magic and danger. Mandy C. wants to visit the world within, stat.

Spin Me Right Round

BOOK REPORT for The Storyspinner (The Keepers’ Chronicles #1) by Becky Wallace

Cover Story: Renaissance Flair
BFF Charm: Platinum Edition
Swoonworthy Scale: 6/8
Talky Talk: Multiple Personalities
Bonus Factors: Performers, Short Hair, Don't Care
Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Series Starter
Relationship Status: Rapt Audience

Cover Story: Renaissance Flair

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this woman performing at the annual Texas Renaissance Festival. And she looked awesome in her leathers, and hit every target she aimed at right in the center.

The Deal:

Johanna Von Arlo has spent her entire life living in the Performer’s Camp, traveling with her family and putting on shows for nobles and their underlings. Her mother is an extremely talented singer and her father a storyteller, but even more than that, he’s a skilled acrobat. During a routine performance, he loses his balance and falls … to his death.

After the accident, Johanna’s whole life falls apart. What’s left of her family—her mother, herself and her three brothers—are banned from the Performer’s Camp because of superstitions about bad luck. Her older brother is forced to take on a job as an accountant, her mother turns to drink, and Johanna does what she can to feed her brothers. One day, when she’s out hunting, she tracks a deer onto the land of Lord Rafael DeSilva (a future duke) who mistakes her for a poacher. A fight ensues, one that leads to an honor debt and a promising job.

But Johanna is not who she thinks she is, and the world as both she and Rafi know it is about to become drastically different.

BFF Charm: Platinum Edition

Johanna is many things. She’s a loyal daughter, a talented performer, a no-nonsense taker, a bit of a dreamer, and a badass—if super petite—fighter. I would not only love to be friends with her, but also would love to be mentored or trained by her to become better at the things she excels at.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6/8

Someone who comes into Johanna’s life—and I’m not naming names to avoid being too spoilery—is, at first, a loathsome individual, at least in her eyes. But as the story goes on, she comes to the realization that he’s not all bad, and there’s more to him than meets the eye.

There’s another couple in the book who have a seriously hot moment of swoon, but it’s unfortunately quickly kiboshed, rash words are spoken, and feelings are hurt/hidden away.

Talky Talk: Multiple Personalities

Chapters in The Storyspinner alternate between not one, not two, but six different POVs. Some writers might struggle with keeping these various characters separate in the reader’s mind, but Becky Wallace does a great job, which is even more impressive seeing as this is Wallace’s debut novel.

Wallace also weaves some tried-and-true fantasy tropes into a story that is engaging (if not entirely unique), but I would have liked to know more about the history behind the story and the history of the Keepers, the magical faction of people that live in this world. The Storyspinner is the first in a new series, so I can understand why she focused more on the characters and the action than the backstory and world-building, but the balance was a little bit off.

Bonus Factor: Performers

Johanna and her family’s abilities lean more toward Cirque du Soleil than Barnum and Bailey, and the little we get to read about them (and the larger group of people who live in the Performer’s Camp) makes me want to read much more. Or see it live.

Bonus Factor: Short Hair, Don't Care

Thanks to an unfortunate Firesword accident, Johanna's hair is very short. As someone who has short hair, I appreciated reading about a main character with less than shoulder-length locks. It's silly, I know, but more often than not, the main characters in fantasy novels have long, flowing, luxurious tresses.

Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Series Starter

Like I mentioned above, The Storyspinner is the first in a new series. (Surprise, surprise, I know.) But the book doesn’t end on too terrible of a cliffhanger; rather, Wallace leaves readers wanting more. I don’t feel panicked to find out what happens next like I have in the past, but I am looking forward to diving into this world again.

Casting Call:

Emilia Clarke as Johanna

Alex Gonzalez as Rafi

Relationship Status: Rapt Audience

I’ve already mentioned this a few times, Book, but I think we really connected. Your story had me spellbound, and left me wanting more. Let’s do it again soon.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Storyspinner is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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