~ About the Book ~
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.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: #1 The Weaver Trilogy
Release date: 1 May 2018
~ Excerpt ~
“Did you ever visit the palace when the other king ruled? King Caradoc?”
Riwor set her mug on the table and stared at me. “Aye.”
The sudden stillness in the room chilled my bones. It was just the two of us, plus the barkeep wiping down tables in the back. But the air got calm all at once, and it didn’t feel natural.
“Was it different when King Caradoc ruled?”
Riwor pursed her lips. “You trying to get me to speak treason, is that it? Now that you think you can make money without old Riwor, it’s time to be rid of her and take the extra cut for yourself, eh?” She tried to run a hand through her wiry gray hair, apparently forgetting it was pulled back into a bun.
“No, that’s not it. I was just curious.” I picked up the crystal head and studied it. “I was only four when the king died, so I don’t remember anything about him.”
Riwor settled back in her chair. “Aye, it was different.”
I waited for a few long minutes, but she didn’t say anything else. I replaced the crystal head on the table.
“Do you ever get bored, Riwor?”
“Bored of what?”
“Only telling crowned stories about the goddesses and the king. Don’t you ever want to tell stories about something else?” I thought of the fairy stories secreted away on my bookshelves back at the cottage in Pembrone.
I’d never tell Riwor, but I used to make up my own stories when I was practicing before she took me on. Never had that pinchy, squished-down feeling back in those days. Felt freer somehow.
Riwor’s gaze drilled into me. “Listen well, Tanwen. If you don’t want your head to end up like old Ean there, you stick to the crowned stories and never speak another word of this to anyone. Including me.” She shifted her weight in her chair, grabbed her ale mug, and took a big gulp. And that was that.
~ Review ~
To pick up The Story Peddler is to enter a world of peasants and kings, storytellers, colormasters, and songspinners—and let’s not forget fluff-hoppers and marsh-grazers. To finish The Story Peddler is to spend precious hours stalking Lindsay A. Franklin on social media looking for even the tiniest scrap of hope that the next book is not far off. To put it more plainly: I’m hooked!
Tanwen won me over from the outset with her wry, slightly self-deprecating voice and expressions like, “For the love of fluff-hoppers”. But beyond that is a story that excites both the imagination and the intellect. I loved the idea of storytelling being such a visual art and the descriptions as Tanwen wielded her gift, but even more so, I loved the themes explored through the story: the role of story in both remembering and making sense of our history, the suppression of truth through controlling the art of storytelling, and the need for those who know the truth to speak out, no matter the cost.
These themes are never thrust in the reader’s face, and it would be entirely possible to enjoy this story without looking beyond the surface, but it would be a little like admiring the weft without acknowledging the warp that holds it together.
Further, this is a story that can be enjoyed by young adult readers and not-so-young adult readers alike—although there are a few scenes parents may want to consider for appropriateness with pre- or early-teen readers (a forced kiss, for example, and some violence). But it’s a lively, intelligent, and captivating story, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next instalment!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Lindsay A. Franklin is a best-selling author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder of a husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed wombat with his own Instagram following. You can find Lindsay on social media, too, if Wombatman hasn’t hijacked all her accounts.