Saturday, September 28, 2013

Novel Review: The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Genre: YA Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Amulet Books (ABRAMS)
Publish Date: January 2012
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A good girl.
A bad boy.
A fairy tale that's true.
A truth that is no fairy tale.

It begins the day Anna finds the child's doll on the floor of the student lounge. When it's claimed by Abel, the school drug dealer, Anna becomes determined to learn more about this mysterious boy with the military haircut and deep blue eyes. She follows him after school and discovers a secret: Abel is caring for his six-year-old sister, Micha, alone. Anna listens in as he tells her a fairy tale, the story of a little orphan queen pursued by hunters across the oceans for the treasure she carries: her pure, diamond heart.

It's a story with parallels to reality. Social services and Micha's abusive father could take her from Abel if they discover the truth.

Despite friend's warnings, Anna is drawn to Abel and Micha, and falls under the spell of the story of the little queen and her desperate voyage.

But when people Abel has woven into his tale turns up dead, it's Anna whose heart is in danger. Is she in love with a killer? And has she set out on a journey from which there is no return?

Something Specific:

  • “I live in a soap bubble. The whole school knows thing I don’t. But maybe I don’t want to know them.” (Hardback, pg. 7)
  • “‘I just wouldn’t believe everything our dry-goods merchant tells you. He’s just looking out for himself. But aren’t we all?’” (Pg. 20)
  • “…the world was too big to stay in your hometown. A world of unlimited possibility was waiting out there for Anna.” (Pg. 28)
  • “‘If you have known someone your whole life, you can see them in the dark.’” (Pg. 55)
  • “‘We…we live in a world in which only we exist and…other people live in a different world…but ours…it’s so…I don’t know…pretty? Maybe too pretty.’” (Pg. 55)
  • “Later, she would think, what if she had called, if she had talked to him on that Sunday, if she had…but who cares about later? Later is always too late.” (Pg. 135)
  • “‘It seems like as of today I’m officially married to him or something. I mean, I don’t live in his pocket…’” (Pg. 208) This one was just funny to me.
  • “‘The hardest thing is always to forgive yourself.’” (Pg. 292)
  • ·         “‘Hatred and love lie close to each other.’”  (Pg. 348)

The Cover:

I love this cover, the white and the purple one. I think it's just really pretty, not embarrassing at all. It fits with the story, both the rose and the general feeling.

I don’t really know how I feel about this book. On one hand, I kind of loved it. On the other hand, I don’t know if I liked the ending or want to cry about it. I mean, the things this book did to me…
I went into this book expecting it to be a bit slow, with beautiful writing, possibly to find the storytelling parts slow, and with a not-nice ending. I was both right and wrong on these things.
The writing is a bit slow, the pace takes its time, and yet the writing is not as gorgeous as I thought it would be. It’s still very nice, though, and it took me a while to get through this book, but not in a bad way.
Abel is the storyteller, and he tells stories first to his younger sister, then to her and Anna, our heroine. And I was expecting this be slow because I knew it would mirror things that were happening already with Anna and Abel, but I was wrong. They were actually very interesting to read, and went by really fast; they did mirror the events well, but they were just different enough. That was a really nice element to the book.
I liked Anna; she’s a bit na├»ve, curious, hesitant, but smart. Abel’s little sister, Micha, was a sweet, cute little girl, also smart, and learning. There were several other characters in the book, a lot that I liked and a lot that surprised me. Like Anna’s parents, who I really liked: her quiet, gentle mother, and her gardening, protective and kind father. Then Anna’s friend Gitta from school, among others. I’m not going to go into detail, but their parts were interesting, and well done.
Then there’s Abel. I’m so conflicted about him. On the one hand, I like him. On the other…
He’s a good older brother, I understood the attraction between him and Anna, and even liked some of it and agreed with Anna on some things. But then he does several things that are just not good. I’m not going to go into detail, because they are some major spoilers and surprises that I was really not expecting. But I don’t like what he did, and yet I still kind of like him. And I don’t understand how that works.
This book does not go down the same path that so many other books with the same set up do, even the romance and attraction part, and I really liked the surprise of it. And yet it also leaves me feeling so upset. Because, I just… that ending. The ending was horrible, and made me want to cry. But it was also fitting. It fit the story really well. It made sense for the characters, even if it kind of crushed me.
So even while I feel upset and crushed and conflicted about this book, I applaud everything that happened in it. Everything was done so very well, and it was beautiful. I think overall I loved this book, even if there’s a niggling of despair for what happened.

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