30/05/2014

Review: The Storyteller {Antonia Michaelis}


★★☆☆☆
Written by Antonia Michaelis
Amazon | Book Depository 

A good girl. A bad boy. A fairytale that's true. A truth that is no fairytale. It begins the day Anna finds a child's doll on the floor and Abel, the school drug dealer, claims it. Determined to learn more about this reclusive boy, Anna follows him and discovers his secret: he is caring for his six-year-old sister, alone. Anna listens as Abel weaves a fairytale for his sister, of a little orphan queen pursued by hunters across the oceans for the treasure she carries: her pure, diamond heart. Anna can't help but notice how the fairytale parallels Abel's reality: the social services, the abusive father that could take his sister in an instant, and the mother that may never return. Despite her friends' warnings, Anna is drawn into Abel's world and falls under the spell of his story. But when the people Abel has woven into his tale turn up dead, Anna begins to wonder: is she in love with a killer?
 
This book elicited the most swearing from me that any book before ever has. And it made me swallow my tea the wrong way. Which is just unacceptable. 

I don't know what I expected when I picked this up, but I know it wasn't what I got. This was devastating; it combined beautifully flowing sentences with harsh violence, and the entire thing felt like a contradiction. But I couldn't admire the refined prose or the gorgeously mirrored fairytale, because that was all overshadowed by a whole load of absolute rubbish.

The story started at a turtle's pace and then Antonia Michaelis flipped a switch and everything started moving at a thousand miles an hour; plots bouncing around and smashing into each other. Everything went from zero to sixty faster than a bloody Bugatti Veyron.

And then the characters . . . I don't even know where to start. Mostly because no character was consistent enough for me to form an opinion

Anna went from strong-willed to naive and boring. To someone who was unable to cope without Able; a guy who she hadn't really had two conversations with. A guy who she mostly interacted with by following him and listening in on the stories he told his little sister. And do not (really do not) get me started on her victim-blaming and her forgiving people for unforgivable things.

And Able? A tortured loner, devoted to caring for his sister in the face of their absentee and abusive parents. Someone kind, considerate and . . . what's that? Oh, right, it's chapter 12 when the character gets completely chewed up and spat back out. When he becomes something unrecognisable and commits the most horrific and random act. And I do mean random. Because that came out of nowhere and I had to go back and re-read that section because I was so sure I'd missed something.

The plot twisted itself so much it couldn't keep up with itself and there were far too many irrelevant characters lounging about doing nothing or confusing the heck out of me. I understand this is a mystery, designed to keep the true antagonist hidden, but Antonia Michaelis didn't keep the mystery by crafting characters who were a mix of good and bad, and whose motives you could never be sure of. She did it by making her characters change their personalities every five seconds. People went from boring to batshit in one paragraph and then back again

I will say this though: The Storyteller was compelling. I was more than curious to know what was going to happen, and despite this being one of the most frustrating books I've ever read, I'm glad I read it. It was new, it was different, and even though it drove me damn well crazy, I know it's a book that'll stick in my mind for a long time.

I'll end with this:
"If we lose each other, we'll meet where it's spring."

 


Allie has planned out a trio of marvellous desserts for Valentine's weekend. She'll be baking up a storm for love day! And that's not just a metaphor, because when she bakes, the kitchen ends up looking like it's been hit by a hurricane. But hey, the sugar makes the clean-up all worth while.
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16 comments:

  1. Even though the characters were bland, I'm glad in the end you still found it compelling enough to continue on. Inconsistency in characters is a tough one. Lovely review Allie! <3

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    1. It's one of those that, even with it's thoughts, just completely sucks you in!

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  2. I am intrigued to read it just because of your "live blogging" while you read, sounds like it really throws you off!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. It totally did. One moment I was yawning and the next my eyes bulged out of my head!

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  3. I kind of hate you right now because now I am completely intrigued. But I don't think I can put myself through that, your Goodreads updates had me laughing. I can see this is the type of book that would make me want throw it across the room. I will just have to hunt down some spoiler-filled Goodreads reviews to find out what the fuck did happen ;)

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    1. I did and now I am confused. Now I am even more inrigued to read this and see why it has so many 5 star reviews that proclaim it's beautiful. Especially since she forgives it. Nope. I feel I'd have rage quit at that point.

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    2. WELCOME TO MY WORLD!!!! I was genuinely screaming and my family were like 'uhm . . . are you okay? Are you dying or something?'
      My response: No. But my faith in this author is

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  4. "This book elicited the most swearing from me that any book before ever has. And it made me swallow my tea the wrong way. Which is just unacceptable." Haha...LOL! ;)

    Even if the characters were underdeveloped and inconsistent, it says something about the story if you're still willing to continue. I'm debating on whether or not to read this as characters are what make or break a book for me. What would you recommend?

    Nonetheless, this definitely has an intriguing plot and I'll admit I'm interested in seeing what happens. Thanks for sharing Allie, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. It was Thai Iced Tea too, which is my absolute favourite and so therefore it was an even greater crime!

      Honestly, I'd say to read it. Just remember that my review warned you of the 'WTF' moments and so you cannot throw things at me for 'recommending' it :P

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  5. Dang, I was getting rather excited reading the blurb because it sounded SO DANG GOOD. But nooooo. Swallowing tea wrong is absolutely unacceptable and a great book-rating-system also. x) I don't think I'll touch this one with a ten foot pole, which stinks. The random act makes me cringe. I LIKE characters to make dumb but realistic decisions, but random? Not so much. It needs to FIT with the story!!

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    1. Right? I read the blurb and was all 'MUST HAVE IT IN MY HANDS THIS INSTANCE'.

      The random act was just . . . I think if you read it your jaw would drop and you'd lose faith in the world :P

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  6. I remember when this came out and I saw so many positive reviews but I never ended up getting a copy, and now I'm partially intrigued and partially glad I didn't bother!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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    1. There are genuinely masses of reviews kissing the ground this book walks on. I UNDERSTAND IT NOT. I'll wear my 'odd one out' shirt with pride on this one though because, seriously . . . *shakes head*

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  7. I've been going back and forth on whether or not I should read this book. The description for the book sounds pretty good and I love the cover, but it just hasn't sparked my interest enough to add it to my tbr shelf. A lot of people did seem to enjoy it, but I still don't think I'm interested enough to read it any time soon, especially after hearing about these main characters in your review. I think I would have issues with them too.

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  8. It sounds like there were some amazing things about this book that gave it a lot of promise. It is too bad that it just didn't mesh. Love your GR updates. Thank you for your helpful and honest review.
    -Flirting with Fiction

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  9. I have no idea what to think. I totally would have picked this one up but now I'm just torn to pieces trying to figure out the horrible random act....

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