The Bookworm-A Well Spun Story

Fantasy’s next hit story

Alexandra Dobesh, Staff Writer

Fantasy has been a favorite genre of teens for many years, and Becky Wallace’s “The Storyspinner” is a worthy inclusion to this long, loved collection.

“The Storyspinner” centers around the character Johanna Arlo. She lives with her parents and three brothers who are all part of a performers’ camp, traveling around from town to town telling captivating stories and executing daring acrobatics.

Until one fateful night.

During a routine performance on a tightrope, Johanna’s father, Arlo, slips and falls to his death. Johanna is forced to watch this freak accident from the sidelines and is forever traumatized from the horrific incident.

To add insult to injury, the remaining members of the Arlo family are kicked out of their performers’ camp for fear of the bad luck associated with accidents. They end up in the town Santiago taking whatever jobs they can get their hands on in order to scrape together enough money to make ends meet. Johanna’s mother turns to drinking to dull her pain, and hunger is a constant companion of the Arlo children.

Johanna’s miserable life takes a turn one day while she is out hunting. She is attacked

by Lord Rafael DeSilvia (Rafi) who mistakes her for a poacher. This misunderstanding leads to a less than cordial relationship between the two. While the rest of Rafi’s family takes to Johanna, the two of them can not stand each other. In order to repay Johanna for falsely accusing and attacking her, Rafi offers Johanna a job in the arena she has missed so much: performing.

The two of them have no idea of the magical and political conflicts they are about to become entangled in. Little do they know that the forgotten race of Keeper’s are galloping around the countryside due to the plethora of murders taking place. The Keepers are magicians who work to protect the royal family and the wall separating them from the everyday people in the land. They are hoping to stop Johanna from being the next victim of the mysterious murderer.

“The Storyspinner” is told through third person omniscient, with each new chapter revealing the thoughts and feelings of a new character. This was both equally enjoyable and agonizing. When reading books, I like being able to see the same event through different perspectives. It keeps the story fresh and engaging, and it requires the reader to think deeper in order to connect the dots and draw their own conclusions. It becomes frustrating when the reader can see feelings of a character and how they fail to act on those feelings. This does draw a response from the reader though, which is a key attribute of a good story.

There is a very diverse group of characters in this book. Each one has a different personality and life experience to draw from, providing the audience with multiple views on every situation. The diverse character mix leads to diverse character interactions, which provides humor and tension to the story. Having this large mix of personalities makes it easy for a wide range of readers to find someone to relate to.

The layout of this book makes it a great read for high school students. All of the chapters are fairly short, rarely going over seven or eight pages, making this the perfect book for people with little time to sit down and read for extended periods of time. It is also an easy enough read that people can read chapters sporadically but still keep track of the central plotline.

The story line of “The Storyspinner” is very interesting, but this book did tend to lag a bit in the middle. There were some extended periods with little to no action, which left me crawling through the pages for a more interesting scene. Several dry parts could have been cut to make the book shorter and more engaging.

That being said, there were more compelling than mundane parts to this story. The most intense scenes are well-crafted to insert the reader straight into the action. Every detail is mentioned, every move is precisely choreographed and every one of the reader’s senses is actively experiencing those of the characters.

The Storyspinner” is the first book in Wallace’s series “The Keepers’ Chronicles.” It ends on a cliff hanger, leaving the reader desperate to read the sequel, so they can see the fate of the characters and kingdom.

The lack of complete closure is not the only thing causing the reader to clamor for more. This book was just downright enjoyable, and I can not wait to see what other contributions this series has to offer to the fantasy genre.