Book Reviews

Book Review: The Story Raider

by Lindsay A. Franklin

publisher’s synopsis

Deceiving an empire is a treacherous game.

Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret—Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse.

As Queen Braith struggles to assert her rule, a new arrival throws her tenuous claim to the Tirian throne into question. Braith’s heart is turned upside down, and she’s not sure she can trust anyone—least of all herself.

The puppet master behind Gareth’s rise to power has designs on Tanwen and the story weavers and will stop at nothing to reclaim the throne. A plot to incite the angry peasants of Tir takes shape, and those dearest to Tanwen will be caught in the crossfire. As the fight for Tir consumes the realm, no one can remain innocent.

The Story Raider picks up shortly after the end of The Story Peddler. And it takes us on an adventure on the high seas!

Like in The Story Peddler, Lindsay does an amazing job with worldbuilding. Since the plot follows Tannie and co. as they travel throughout the Empire, we get to see all of the various cultures that Lindsay created. Even though their stops in most of the ports are brief, you can tell that there’s more to the world than we get to explore in the book.

The plot has more of a quest-feel to it as Tannie and the others search for the cure to the Weaver’s curse–which has become even more important as not only Gryfelle but Tannie suffer from it.

I have to confess, the love triangle did bug me a little. But it’s tied to the main plot in a way that makes sense and works (but I won’t explain because spoilers).

I loved the relationship between Yestin and Tannie. Healthy, positive relationships between parents and children in books, especially YA books, always make me happy.

There are also a few new side characters introduced in The Story Raider. And, as I mention in the cautions below, one of these characters had an abusive past, which is handled very delicately and well. I want to quote something Lindsay wrote about The Story Raider, because I think it explains Lindsay’s motive and heart behind writing this hard topic:

I introduce a character in Raider who has a traumatic past. While not explicitly described or depicted, this character alludes to the sexual abuse that shaped and wrecked her. Though the circumstances are quite different, this character’s journey is based on my life. I debated with myself about her a lot. Should I write her story in this way? Should I take on something so dark and unsavory, something that has affected me so personally?

At the end of the day, I wrote her the way I wanted to—the way she stepped into my mind, fully conceived, when a title suggestion from my editor sparked the idea for this character. And that’s because, best the experts can estimate, one in five girls and one in twenty boys under the age of eighteen is sexually assaulted. If you know more than a handful of people, you know someone with this story. If you know me, you know someone with this story. Because of that, I decided to portray this character as openly and honestly as I could.

Quoted from Lindsay’s blog

Like I said above, Lindsay handles the subject very well. The reader can understand what’s happened and how it has traumatized and scarred this character, but they aren’t given unnecessary details or burdens.

Fair warning: The ending of The Story Raider will leave you needing to know what happens next.

Cautions: moderate romance; one kiss; brief, non-detailed mentions of a character having been sexually abused in the past; non-graphic moderate/heavy violence

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