Hellooooooo friends and bookwyrms! It’s been a warm minute — like holy shit it’s been nearly a month since I lasted posted a review or touched the blog other than a day of blog hopping I definitely have my ducks together.
(Hahaha the universe begs to differ.)
Anyways… reviews! Well, a review. Eventually I’ll get around to writing more reviews? (Or at least scheduling them???)
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using that link, a small commission is made from the sale. There are no additional costs to you. Thank you for your support!The Storyteller's Daughter by Victoria McCombs
The Westfallen Chronicles #1
Published by Parliament House Press on July 14, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult
Format: ARC, eBook
His shadowed face lit by flames,
Rumpelstiltskin is my name...
For as long as anyone can remember, every child in Westfallen has been born with a Gift, and these Gifts defined them.
Then Cosette is born, Giftless.
An attempt to hide her misfortune brings her before the King, who entraps her to use her Gift as a pawn in his war.
Caught in a lie, Cosette desperately searches for a power strong enough to free her. Intrigued by whispers of an old king and a dark curse, she calls upon Rumpelstiltskin and finds him trapped in a magic deeper than she bargained for. Now, Cosette must fight to reclaim her freedom from the King and break Rumpel’s curse. When time runs out, she’ll lose more than her heart. She’ll lose her life.
THE STORYTELLER’S DAUGHTER is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling that will satisfy fans of Gail Carson Levine’s ELLA ENCHANTED, as well as Jessica Day George’s DRAGON SLIPPERS and PRINCESS OF GLASS, and Cameron Dokey’s THE WORLD ABOVE.
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
The first book in The Westfallen Chronicles is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling set in a world where almost everyone has magical talents (skilled in the violin, ability to tell what the upcoming weather is) that are called Gifts. Not gonna lie, but the Gifts are super cool and I definitely walked into the book expecting more magical powers like teleportation. 🤦♀️ Almost everyone except for Cosette, who is Giftless and considered strange by most people around her, until her father tells a story of her spinning gold from straw with his Gift of storytelling. The story gets to the king, who summons her to use those gifts to aid in the war. Big oops.
Except there’s a problem. You can’t actually spin straw into gold if you don’t actually have the Gift to do so. Basically, Cosette summed up in a GIF:
There are some good aspects of Victoria McCombs’ novel that didn’t turn this into a flop.
I love Anika. She’s one of my favorite characters and became an instant favorite the moment she entered The Storyteller’s Daughter yelling enthusiastically about pants. If there’s one good thing for sure that will get me reading the sequel, it’s because the book is about Anika, and I’m so excited to see her as the main character. I also adored Rumpel — he’s just trying his very best to figure out how to undo his curse that started from a pure accident. 🥺
That’s not to say Cosette isn’t a likable character for some people, though, but again, I’m not exactly the right audience for The Storyteller’s Daughter. Cosette is someone who has a good heart and wants to do good things in the world; she also wants to fit in with her surrounding world of everyone having Gifts, and she makes the occasional bad decision. Unfortunately, she’s just not my type of character.
But The Storyteller’s Daughter turned out to be a little bit of a disappointment.
The ending felt abrupt and tied up too quickly, and there are loose ends in both the story and the world. This is the first in a series, though, so I could be completely wrong in the loose ends of the world and they’ll somehow tie-up with subsequent books (even though they feel like stand-alone novels). We’ll see when that happens. But let’s talk about the loose ends! I wanted to know more about what Conrad’s deal was and Rumpel’s history of observing him since his curse — Cosette is told about Conrad… but it’s really just telling than showing. I also wanted to know about Old Mr. Walters and the witch who cursed Rumpel — we get like one appearance from one of them and the other is mentioned to have made an appearance in the abrupt ending.
Am I hoping there’s an entire purpose? Absolutely. Is it going to happen? I have no fucking clue.
I personally was not a fan of the writing style, which felt a little… bland? along with the developing romance between Rumpel and Cosette. I wasn’t too sold on it — something just feels missing, and I have no clue what it is. It’s a possibility I’m not exactly the right audience for The Storyteller’s Daughter other than loving retellings, so take that one with a grain of salt.