Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Story Magic by Laurel Gale
on October 27, 2020
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Girls are forbidden to practice story magic. Only bad things happen when they do. Everyone knows this, but that doesn't stop twelve-year-old Kaya A'Dor from learning the basics from her older brother Hob. The trick is to sense a listener, one of the magical beings that inhabit the world, and tell it a story. If the listener is pleased and likes the story, it will allow the storyteller to work magic.
Although Kaya knows the risks, she attempts a little story magic to impress Hob. When Hob is taken prisoner in Prima, the faraway capital city, Kaya is convinced it's her fault, either because someone discovered what she was doing or because the bad luck has found her.
Desperate to save her brother, Kaya will do anything to make it to Prima, including story magic. With each story she tells her ability to wield story magic grows and she soon begins to wonder if her brother's imprisonment was really her fault or something else entirely. Each story brings her one step closer to finding Hob and leaving everything she's ever known behind.
Every once and awhile something in the Middle Grade genre will sound good and I’ll give it a try. It isn’t a genre I regularly read but there are some gems to be found in.
Story Magic is the tale of a 12-year-old girl who lost her parents and has lived with her brother for the last few years. Kaya is lonely and spends most of her time making blankets and trying to sell them, while her brother works for a Magic Guild.
In this story girls are forbidden from using magic and there is lore that bad things happen when girls use magic. Kaya’s brother says it is just superstition and teaches some of the story telling magic to Kaya anyway. After Kaya decides to use some of the magic her whole world turns upside down and her brother is taken away to be judged the main stronghold city. She must journey alone to save the only family she believes she has left.
I liked but didn’t love this story. Kaya was a little difficult for me to connect with and I never liked her brother. The tale is also a little darker than I would have thought. There are some genre issues that shine through as girls are not allowed to practice magic and some of the twisted listeners are scary. The cruelty in this I also thought was a little much for a Middle Grade book and so I’d recommend it more for 11-13 than 8-12 age ranges.
While I did like how the magic of the stories worked, I wished for just a little more magic to happen in the story. Enjoyed the last third of the story more, after Kaya found her aunt and had someone else to teach and care for her.
While this wasn’t really my favorite Middle Grade story it had entertaining side stories in it and the overall plot was good. I just wished I could have connected with Kaya a little more to make the journey better.
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