Series: The Weaver Trilogy #1
on May 1, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Fantasy
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Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories—she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.
During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down . . . and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers . . . and they’re after her too.
Her fingers dance the dance of Story, weaving wispy ethereal, ephemeral tendrils of light into crystallized form. As she weaves, she speaks, recounting any one of the famous tales—the ones that are allowed, anyway. And in the end, like a blown glass masterpiece, the story woven from her hands settles into form and is sold as a tangible reminder of the story that was. Her name is Tanwen, and she is The Story Peddler.
Unfortunately, Story peddling is highly regulated. It’s an artistic passion, but those passions are contained and controlled by the king. Tanwen isn’t terribly concerned by this. Her goal in her craft is to escape her current poverty and abusive mentorship and become the Royal Storyteller—the official story master to the king. A flight of fancy, to be sure. If only she could catch the eye or ear of His Majesty.
She manages to do this, but in all the wrong ways. Somehow, almost against her will, a treasonous strand spills out into her Story. It counters the King’s wishes and almost immediately gains his attention. It also causes her to gain the attention of other weavers—rebel weavers who want her story to be told. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as long-hidden secrets are revealed and she becomes a direct threat to the King.
The Story Peddler begins with one of the most unique and artistic hooks I’ve seen in a story. The concept of story-weaving captured my attention and drew me in to this unique world that Lindsay Franklin has created. However, as the story wore on, it became evident that story-weaving was but the gold veneer on a standard story. All the same tropes—The Chosen One who reluctantly goes on a Heroes’ Journey to discover the meaning of their Special Gift and finds out, along the way, that they are Closer to Royalty Than They Think—play out in pretty much standard Star Wars order.
Nonetheless, it’s a fun and fast story until the closing act, when the pace picks up to be nonsensically fast. I actually found myself turning back chapters, convinced I must have missed something. The closing confrontation comes in from out of left field, the Big Reveal comes across as implausible and unrealistic. It was almost like Franklin realized she had to wrap the story up in fifty pages and rushed to the end. I’ll be following the second installment, if just to see if it makes the closing of book one flow any better.