The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin
Genre: young adult, fantasy, faith,
Publisher: Enclave Publishing
Reviewed by: Kaitlyn Carter
Fiction Addict Scorecard: C
Tanwen is little more than a peasant girl living on the outskirts of her kingdom’s extensive rule, but she has a gift. Tanwen is a weaver, a story peddler. That means she’s able to bring tales to life and sculpt them into crystalized sculptures which may or may not fetch a price. To Tanwen, this gift is everything. It’s her path to a better life where she can escape those who seek to control her and live in freedom. However, when a tale of treason spills from her hands, speaking against the king himself, Tanwen becomes a fugitive running for her life. Picked up by a band of weavers (others with gifts like hers) she learns to use her ability and uncovers startling secrets. Perhaps all isn’t what it seems in the kingdom. Even perhaps, the king himself isn’t quite who everyone thinks he is.
A charming, light-hearted read, this story doesn’t dabble too dark. It also does not take itself too seriously. Unfortunately, I felt rather short changed as the author created a lovely, vast, multi-cultural world that I feel the reader barely had the chance to glimpse. I also would have liked to know far more about the weavers and their abilities. The book is branded as a young adult novel, but as many of the characters are adults, I expected particular characters to act a bit more like adults. But then again, they are super cool renegades living out in the forest, devoted to their art, and set on fighting for the truth. One resonating theme throughout the story states that “art has a way of revealing truth” which I found to be quite quotable as well as accurate. Art is an expression of our culture, of ourselves, and often can relay truths and morality in a clear and relatable way. It is precisely one reason that I find movies, music, and literature so profound and powerful.
Overall, a very clean read which does not push the boundaries of young adult fiction. One sleazy villain tries to weasel his way to the throne by getting close to the princess, approaching her in deserted halls, invading her comfort zone, and stealing a kiss or too. For younger readers, I would say this is a great channel to discussing predatory behavior and how to handle oneself, as the princess bravely escapes these encounters.