Title: The Story Peddler, The Weaver Trilogy Book One
Author: Lindsay A. Franklin
Review by: Jennifer Lindsay
Blurb: 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.
Review: Lindsay A. Franklin’s debut The Story Peddler brings a much-needed sea breeze to the realm of fantasy. Although this is the first book in The Weaver Trilogy, The Story Peddler reads like a stand-alone that ends with the promise of more to come. Tanwen’s world has its own complex government and religious system that mixes elements of medieval and ancient Greco-Romanesque societies. What we would call magic in our world is merely the result of the people of Tanwen’s world fully realizing the gifts and talents they were born to. Whereas in many stories, magic comes with a price, in Tanwen’s world, burying your gifting comes with its own cost.
Characters/Voice: The bulk of the story is told through Tanwen’s snarky and endearing viewpoint; however, the occasional chapters seen from the perspective of two other characters take readers deeper into the storyworld’s dangers and intrigues. Lindsay does a fantastic job of creating rich personalities for all of her characters, giving each their own unique cadence and manner of speech. You don’t have to worry about confusing one character with another in this tale!
Pacing: This is a quick-paced story packed with intrigue, danger, and brilliant banter that could go toe-to-toe with The Princess Bride. The only reason I didn’t finish reading the book in one sitting is because I was on my own writing deadline. Even then, it only took me two evenings to read. The highest praise I can give a book is being able to say that once I finished it I was ready to flip back to page one immediately. It’s rare that I get to re-read books these days, but I predict this will become one of the few I return to again and again.
Plot: Though there are familiar themes and elements, The Story Peddler offers a thoughtful and engaging plot that is all its own. Lindsay skillfully weaves micro-stories into the overall arc that add to the color of the story rather than distracting from it. Each one draws the reader deeper into Tanwen’s world and reminds us that there is always more to people’s life stories than meets the eye. As with all the best tales, this is a love story. But it’s not a kissing book—yet!
Setting: The story takes place in realm of Tir, a large empire nestled between mountains and the Menfor Sea. It’s a land filled with tales of pink fluffhoppers, fierce mountainbeasts, and brave lasses and lads of old. The story has a late-medieval feel to it mixed with something far more ancient, all at once.
Themes: There are several themes incorporated into this story, but overarching each is Truth and what we choose to do with it. The story also deals with many of the same issues that women are facing in today’s society, making the book both timely and relatable.
Note for sensitive readers: This is a clean read, so there is no overt physical violence; however, the story does briefly touch on issues of sexual harassment and assault. I want to thank Lindsay for finding a skillful and sensitive way of addressing this all-too-painful reality without causing additional emotional distress to those who have experienced this type of violence in their personal lives.
I absolutely love this book and I’m already counting down the days until the release of book two! Like her character Tanwen, Lindsay has a unique gift for storytelling and I look forward to seeing where her words take us next.
Jen, signing off.
Author’s note: I received a copy of The Story Peddler in exchange for a fair and honest review.