Cover Image: Story Magic

Story Magic

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Member Reviews

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Jolly Fish Press/NorthStar Editions for the earc copy to read and review of Story Magic written by Laurel Gale. 

I had my 10-year-old daughter read this book and report back what she thought. She reads a lot and is typically very choosey about the books she reads, and Story Magic did not disappoint. 

Transported on an adventure of fantasy, this story is told in a way that captures and holds the reader's imagination. It is a beautifully written story, my daughter insists she will come back to.
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The hands down best thing about this book is it’s unique magic system. In order to perform “spells” or magic, people tell stories to “the listeners.” The listeners then decide to grant them magic to accomplish their purposes or not. It was such a unique idea that really worked well. I loved finding out more details about this magic system later on in the book and seeing how different groups of people reacted to this magic and tried to harness it. We all read books and feel their certain brand of magic as the reader. I couldn’t help but feel like I could be the listener to each story I read, helping to fuel its magical tale.
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I enjoyed this story. What I liked most about it was that Kaya had a lot of doubts and believed the propaganda fed to her.  It was very realistic that she had to overcome that conditioning before she could grow.  She also had to learn to see the people she cared about for what they were, and not what she thought they were.
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Story Magic is a fantastic middle grade read.
It has a cool magic system, magic is granted by the Listeners, unseen beings, in exchange for an interesting story.
Kaya is a 12 year old girl who is told that girls that can do story magic bring misfortune. But when her older brother gets into trouble, she decided she has to save him no matter the cost.
I really like how well the story is written, Kaya is clearly the hero, but can also accept help if needed. 
It was a fun read, and it has a grand, but very fitting ending. And also - no cliffhangers, this is a great standalone novel.
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Story Magic by Laurel Gale has one of the more unique magical systems I’ve read about in a long while. In this world, spells are cast by calling upon invisible creatures known as “listeners” and enticing them to use their powers in exchange for a story. The “words” to the spells are generally a single line, in the form of a request, pulled from the story itself. It’s a novel approach to magic that I really enjoyed, and I found the way this society views stories in general to be fascinating as well. People see stories as a means to work magic but few see them as sources of entertainment or bonding. With her fairly limited worldview at the start of the book, Kaya wonders why anyone would simply tell a story just to tell it. This was something else Story Magic pulls off well: Kaya comes off as a character who was believably raised in this world and holds to its norms and ideas–including the idea that women and girls shouldn’t practice magic–until she’s forced to confront conflicting world views.

The book opens with Kaya being encouraged by her brother to try magic against the ban. This introduces a slow but authentic journey as her confidence in her abilities grows, and her ideas about magic are challenged by the larger world. The quality of her stories improves with time as well, and even though there are quite a few mini stories told within the book, I loved seeing how they evolved, and I was often curious as to how Kaya was going to connect the story back to what she needed in the moment. The listeners quickly became fascinating characters in their own right, and their relationship with humans was developed well.

If I had to offer any criticism, I’d say there were times when Kaya felt a step behind the audience. Often when an event seemed off or strange, the reveal for Kaya would come after it had already been shown, or heavily implied, to the audience. I don’t doubt young readers enjoy those “a-ha!” moments and the chance to figure things out before the protagonist. Nevertheless, I also wanted to give Kaya a bit of a nudge sometimes and say, “No, X already mentioned what’s going on! Listen to them!”

Overall, the world of Story Magic was a lovely place to spend some time in, and I’d look forward to returning to it in the future.
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Story Magic is set in a world where girls are forbidden from practicing story magic. Only bad things happen when they do it. But that doesn't stop 12 year old Kaya from trying to learn it from her older brother Hob. One day Kaya tries to impress Hob with her story magic. But soon after Hob ends up being taken prisoner. Kaya believes that it is her fault, and she is bent on doing whatever she can to save her brother, but on the journey she slowly realises that maybe she isn't the cause for Hobs imprisonment, maybe it's something much bigger.

So I normally don't read middle grade, I don't have anything against it, I just never seem to pick those sort of books up. But the description really interested me. Off the bat we learn about the gender discrimination against women, and I'm not really into those kind of stories.

And I know that I can't really fault Kaya for her thoughts and fears, and I can't blame her for her bad decisions and choices since she is only 12 years old. But it still kind of annoyed me a little. I guess I just find her too innocent and naive, which of course isn't strange she is 12. I mean everything that Kaya does is pretty reasonable, due to her young age and lack of knowledge, but it grinded my gears.
Honestly Kaya annoyed me a lot at times, even though I completely understand her reasons for acting that way.

The gist of the story is interesting, and I do like the thought of it but the execution was lack luster.
So I mean this book isn't bad, I think for a middle grade it might even be good. The book is short, and I'm sure that people in the target group will find this book enjoyable, it just wasn't for me.
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This is a sweet and simple middle grade about a girl who can do magic by telling stories. It has strong themes of kindness and self-belief, and it’s really easy to read, with good world-building and an interesting, compassionate main character. I loved the concept of the listeners, magic beings who love stories, and the magic is well explained. It’s perhaps a little linear, but this should appeal to younger kids and reluctant readers. Very enjoyable!
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**I received 'Story Magic' through NetGalley and Jolly Fish Press, in exchange for an honest review**

'Story Magic' by Laurel Gale tells the tale of what could happen when superstition takes the place of reason in daily life. The main character Kaya longs to practice Story Magic like her brother, yet is led to believe to do so would mean dire consequences. It isn't until she goes on a quest to recover her brother that Kaya learns the history of Story Magic through complicated challenges. 

'Story Magic' is a middle grade tale, and Laurel Gale writes Kaya's perspective as a young child would view such dire circumstances. While Kaya is learning valuable life lessons on her quest, she is venturing the rough journey as a 12 year old child. Up until this point, the only lessons she's acquired in life about the 'Listeners' come from her elder brother, so she still absorbs her life experiences and magical episodes through a limited lens. Kaya confronts the cruelty and compassion of humanity in her journey to Prima, and discovers that there is more to the Listeners' power than she realized. 

'Story Magic' is entertaining to read, and this story kept me interested until the very last page! I would recommend this book as a fun and adventurous fantasy read for both children and adults!
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In a world where females are banned from telling stories and stories are never told for entertainment, we have the Listeners. If they are told a story and they like it they can help you with magic. 12 year old Kaya knows that she isn't to tell stories or something bad will happen, but after feeling the tingle on her neck telling her a Listener is nearby, she takes a breath and shares a story. The Listener repays her story with a little bit of magic. But when her brother is taken to a nearby city to be interrogated, she knows deep down that this is her fault and that she must do everything she can to save him.

Story Magic was a book full of wonder, beauty and magic. I sat down and read the whole thing in one sitting. Kaya is a fantastic character, she has spent so long believing she isn't capable, watching her blossom and see the outside world was wonderful. She is full of hope, intelligence and kindness. Her strength isn't that she can fight or pick up heavy things, it's that she keeps moving forward, she never lets her hope die. Even in the darkest of times it burns bright and pushes her forward. 

I love that Story Magic doesn't shy away from the dark nature of people, it's all there for readers to see. While the book isn't particularly in-depth and the ending wraps up a little to nicely for my personal taste, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 
Story magic is an engaging, magical read, that made my heart smile.
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I finished this book last night, & I really loved it! I loved Kaya as a protagonist. She really is so much braver than she knows. This is a good story showing just how little credit women used to be given for their abilities...or anything really. We’re better nowadays...but still have a way to go there. The magic in this story is such a unique concept & I really enjoyed it. I loved the listeners so much! I was surprised how much I wanted to give them all a big hug! I do recommend this book. I will be buying a copy when it comes out on August 4th(well I will if life has gone back to normal lol).
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Suitable for elementary school readers, Story Magic takes place in a world where only men are permitted to practice magic (conducted via telling stories). The usual fantasy tropes are in place: a desperate orphan, violation of the social norms and stations, and an adventure that tests the MC's assumptions and preconceptions. Overall, however, I found it a bit...dull. Just not for me.
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I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. Thanks to NetGalley and Jolly Fish Press for providing me the opportunity to review.

This was such a fun book! I love the idea of stories within a story. I really enjoyed the concept of the "listeners" and their connect to the main character. 

Defiantly recommend if you enjoy the middle grade genre and are looking for fun adventure!
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I read this book over the last two days. It was a quick read with lots of twists to keep me interested. The world building was done well and the main character was very likable and I enjoyed her development throughout the book. As the title states it is about stories and magic. I definitely cheered for Kaya as she grew and learned that she was capable. She started feeling that she was helpless and that her brother was the only reason she was alive. Overall this book was great. It is appropriate for kids in upper middle grade. I look forward to read more from this author.
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I wanted much more from this book.
I was really interested in the book description but when I actually read this one, it surprised me. It is darker and heavily based on gender discrimination. I was expecting more magic and spells. I wanted more magic while reading this. The main protagonist, Kaya, is a 12 year old girl living with her brother who is years older to her. I just didn't like their sibling chemistry. It was somewhat intimidating and not the ideal kind you would want it to be. But this one I can understand considering the timeline of the story based during somewhere historical where women and girls weren't regarded as equal to men and boys. But again, I do not like the brother at all. Kaya tried her best to learn the ropes of magic (which was forbidden for girls, the means to get it as well was forbidden). The magic described is something dark and I am simply not a fan of it. Somehow it seems like it's rather misused for personal gains (of course!). It's just not about misusing the magic, it's something that just doesn't click. The story starts when her brother gets taken away, hidden away. She gets on a quest to make things easier, to save her brother from execution. It's more about the adventures she embarks upon one after another meeting all kinds of personalities.
As the chapters progressed, it becomes a bit dull and hopeless for me as Kaya keeps struggling and getting herself into dangerous situations. This went on and on until the end.  But Kaya found something precious for herself in the end going through all these struggles.
And the ending is somehow conclusive. 

But I kept wishing for more, better magic, characters which would engrave in my heart and mind. The writing style is engaging however, I feel the lack of connection with both the writing and the characters. 

Thank you #NetGalley for the copy of #StoryMagic
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I really enjoyed this middle grade novel. So beautiful written and a joy to read. The characters growth is inspiring and it teaches young people a great lesson. There is power in what we say and the stories we tell.
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This book is very much geared to the middle grade, and probably on the younger side.  It was a bit simplistic, and there were some ends that I thought needed tying up. But, it was a very sweet story.  We see the female protagonist grow, learn, develop, and find a sense of belonging.  I could see the book appealing to young girls who have lost their parents or been separated from family.

The book was really a coming of age tale, where the journey was as important as the resolution of the reason for the journey.  For me, the stories Kaya told got a little tiresome by the end, sorry!  But overall I thought that the magic and world created were unique and fun.  I would definitely recommend this book to a  young (maybe 4th grade) girl.

Thanks Netgalley & the publishers for the free e-ARC.
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I Know I am not in The age group this book is intended for. But with that being said, this book. made me fall in love with the middle grade genre. Thank you to The author for. writing this wonderful.magical book. Thank you. for. letting me. follow The Young heroine in this book, kaya. and her adventure and Journey. thank you for letting me see a strong Independent Young girl. And what a concept. storytelling for.magic.I.really hope there Will be New adventures and Journey for. kaya. Thank you to. netgalley. for. letting me. Read this book
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Thank you so much to NetGalley, Jolly Fish Press/NorthStar Editions for the earc copy to read and review of Story Magic written by Laurel Gale. 

This story is adorable! The concept of storytelling for magic was so intriguing and I wasn't disappointed. This book grabbed my attention because of my two young daughters and I cannot wait to share it with them. Following Kaya and seeing her overcome obstacles and those who are against her and to even take her own stand when it would have been easier to follow along is an example I want my children reading about. While I would have liked for her to have a spunky sidekick character to follower on her journey, ultimately this uplifting and inspiring story is one I'm glad I've read.

I do hope Ms. Gale will dive back into this world. I'd love to see more stories about story magic and possibly the next journey for Kaya.
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Story Magic was an enjoyable read.

The story is about Kaya trying to save her brother,Hob, but in doing so she finds out she can tell amazing stories to the Listeners and create magic just as well as anyone else. Not just great magic, but she can also become friends with these mysterious and gentle creatures. 

The story starts out a little stilted but grows in word flow and building just as Kaya's stories do. I loved to see her grow and change and realize her self worth and ability to shine.

What a great read.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley, Jolly Fish Press/NorthStar Editions for the earc copy to read and review of Story Magic written by Laurel Gale. 

This is the best book I’ve read so far this year, what an amazing magical adventure from first line to the last line.

I loved Kaya what an incredible protagonist, she was so brave, so talented beyond her own understanding, she did so much more than she ever dreamed she could, she was filled with determination and what an adventure she went on. Her magic got stronger the more she dared use it and soon realised it wasn’t as bad as she’d always been told.

I loved the concept of this book with stories being told to get the listeners to help, I really loved how each story she told got better and better as she learnt how to tell a story in different ways, when she dared step away from her comfort and try a new story. I really loved that within this story we got so many other magical stories. 

I enjoyed learning of these listeners, they were a fascinating creation and really hooked you as you needed to know more about them. I feel we still have more to know about them too. 

This book takes you on such a thrilling journey as you travel with Kaya to save her brother, each step she faced something or someone that tested her and scared her but each time she rose above it and showed how strong and brave she was. 

This book honestly is one I’m going to read over and over again, it’s an amazing adventure, it’s filled with magic and wonder, it a story so gripping you need to read on to know what is happening next and where the journey will take her. It’s such a wonderfully written book and I recommend that you read it, if you like adventure and magic you’ll love this book.

I do hope that we may get another book in the future it certainly seemed hinted and I would love more of Kaya’s adventure and learning more of her magic stories and of the Listeners.
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