Cover Image: Story Magic

Story Magic

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Member Reviews

Book Tour Review : 


Listeners, I have a tale for you...
Are you a master storyteller. Welcome to Verdan, the land of story magic. Kaya, a 12 year old girl learns the basics of story magic from her brother Hob, a guild apprentice. But, girls and non-guild members are prohibited from performing story magic. When Hob goes missing one fine day, Kaya has no other choice, but performing the same to find him. How far will she go to rescue her sibling? 

The Good :
The world building is beautiful and intriguing.  Though a middle grade fantasy, it explores deeper concepts of feminism and equitable distribution. The main character is a 12 year old child, who unlike most fantasy novels, is  portrayed as a normal child of the same age. 

What could have been better:
The narrative seems to lag at places. Otherwise, it is an interesting piece of art.

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I want to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for giving me the opportunity to review this book.  I admit in my joy at joining NetGalley I may have been overzealous in my requesting numbers.  As this book has already been published, I am choosing to work on the current upcoming publish date books in my que.  As I complete those I will work on my backlogged request and will provide a review at that time.  I again send my sincere thanks and apologies.
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This book was a fun and easy read for the middle grades. Kaya is a strong protagonist who finds herself throughout the story. This would also be a useful book to reach parts of a story as she has to invent numerous stories, some short and simple while others were longer and more complex.
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Story Magic sounded like something I would really like but, I don’t think it’s for me. It’s not this book but me. It just wasn’t what I have been looking for lately. I don’t have anything negative to say about this book. Just that it wasn’t for me.
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This was not for me at all. I had so much problem with the telling of the story and had a hard time to keep my eyes on the text for a longer period of time. I really wished that I liked it, but it was just not for me. I just felt that I wanted so much more of the story, maybe this just didn't fit me. Or maybe this type of middle grade is too young for me, as an adult.
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We follow Kaya on an adventurous journey to help get her brother, Hob, out of jail. But she’s only 12 and has no one to help her. Fortunately, her brother Hob has taught her how to use story magic. 

Story magic is magic that the Listeners use when you tell them a story. She realizes that she is going to need the Listeners’ help if she’s going to save her brother.

This was a good story...I think 3-5 graders might enjoy this but I don’t think that older students would be invested. I just think there could have been more to do with the story. More action, more conflict....just more.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Story Magic is an empowering tale for young girls that can teach them to break the boundaries and limitations placed on them by society. In this story, we follow Kaya who loves to tell stories, in her world stories are for the listeners and only boys are allowed to summon them. However, all of these changes for Kaya when her brother goes missing and she is forced to make decisions that will change her world forever.

Overall I thought that this book was well done and a magical tale for its intended audience. The magic was unique as could only be performed by the user's ability/imagination for stories. I also liked that it had limitations and restrictions on how it could be used.  I found that the story had some info-dumping throughout character dialogue that could have been introduced in a more fluid manner. I think that the characters' relationships were beautiful but could have been built up slightly more to really feel the pain of betrayal.  I really enjoyed the writing style and would highly recommend it for a middle-grade audience.
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A very sweet story about a girl journeying to find and rescue her brother. Begins a little stilted, but soon explores a unique magic system and themes that resonate with middle grade readers. Thank you for the e-arc!
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This was an absolutely delightful middle grade book! It was perfectly feminist, and had great themes surrounding the magic of story telling. I'm also a sucker for an orphan storyline, and I just loved our protagonist. Such a great one to dive into if you need a bit of magic in your life!
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This book is an adorable middle grade fantasy that I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes the genre. If middle grade isn’t your thing, I think you would probably find it a little ‘too young’. Truly anyone could read this, but even as a fan of novels in this age group, I found that it was very clear that younger kids were the expected audience of this novel. 

That being said, the plotting was very satisfying. I didn’t know where the plot would end up at any point of the story, which was amazing since sometimes I find myself guessing the endings of books for middle graders. Another thing I loved about this story was the themes and the magic. Both were things I hadn’t ever seen in a fantasy story before and the author executed them very well. Overall, this was a lovely middle grade novel and I’m glad I had the chance to read it. Thank you so much to @netgalley and jollyfish press for the e-copy!
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I loved the premise of this book. Probably because I’m a teacher and I think my students would really enjoy this type of story. What a magical world with listeners and people telling story magic and a little adventure added too! Definitely adding to me classroom library.
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Kaya is a girl who tells stories. Those stories bring Listeners to her that could do her bidding and make things happen. In her world, that is a very dangerous and illegal thing. Bad things happen when girls try to tell the Listeners stories. But she can’t help it when she’s being attacked by a group of bullies. The Listeners send a group of birds to attack the boys and rescue her.

When her brother is arrested, Kaya believes that he is being punished because she told a story. She sets off to the main city in order to free him. Along the way she will learn how to rely on herself and her storytelling magic in order to change her family and her world.

I really enjoyed Story Magic. Kaya is a fantastic character who is smart, resourceful, and quick to learn. She goes on a fantastic adventure that readers will love to go on with her. Lauren Gale’s writing style is beautiful and I loved all the twists and turns as Kaya learns about the Listeners, how their power works, and how she can work along with them. For anyone who loves a bit of fantasy and a lot of adventure, I highly recommend Story Magic.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Kaya A’Dor longs to learn how to do story magic. The only problem? She’s a girl, and girls are forbidden to practice this magic. But when twelve year-old Kaya’s older brother is captured and held as a prisoner in the faraway capital city, Kaya decides to break the rules in order to save him. She embarks on a journey across the country, facing dangers and running for her life, but also learning things about herself and her magic that she never would have realized otherwise. To make it to the capital and rescue her brother, Kaya will have to leave behind everything she’s ever known and venture into a new life. 

This was a short, sweet, and fun read. I enjoyed the story-telling elements and loved watching Kaya become increasingly more creative with every story she told. The characters—especially Kaya—and the magic are really what drive this story. Kaya is a wonderful heroine: brave, persistent, and immensely loyal to her brother. Her curiosity and ambition are very relatable for readers, and the themes of overcoming obstacles, fighting for what’s right, and never giving up shine through. I especially loved the feminist message, and I think this story will be well-received with a younger crowd. Fans of adventure, fantasy, and magic will love this middle-grade novel.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change.)
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This book was so fun and adventourous. I was so grateful to see that I was accepted for this book, and it turned out to be one of my favorite middle grade books of this year. I normally don't read middle grade, but this was so fun. 

I enjoyed the concept of the listeners and how they involved the MC. I also loved the explored concept with the gender discrimination in this book. as girls are not allowed to learn magic, and how Kaya wants to learn it. 

I liked it quite a bit.
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This book was painfully repetitive... It took me almost a month to get through this VERY SHORT book because I'd only manage to read 20 pages at the time before I'd get annoyed with constantly being beaten over the head with the same information. I know children are the target audience but trust me, they will understand what you're trying to say after a couple of times. I found the magic system to have a few holes in it as well, but it was good enough. 

I was hoping it was going to be one of those magical middle grades that makes you feel all cozy and safe but it ended up being very average and simple.
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Very different story with a great message to the youth of today. Really enjoyed the concept of story magic & it was a easy read. What a wonderful strong female lead too.
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I just wasn't able to get into this one. DNF'd at about 50 pages in. The pacing was sort of awkward and it felt like things were happening around the main character but not really to the main character. I think I should've been more concerned that her brother was in trouble, but I thought he was kind of a jerk, so I wasn't. I thought the concept of storytelling magic was super cool though and I had an easy time figuring out how it worked.
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I liked this, but it didn’t completely stand out for me, I think because I didn’t really like some of the characters it was hard to connect or empathise, it felt a bit slow but it did pick up towards the end of the story and improved a lot and got far more interesting. I don’t often read middle grade and although a nice read, wasn’t sure some of the themes or villains were really middle grade, a nice read, but not memorable for me.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Story Magic is about Kaya, and how her brother, who was illegally teaching her how to do story magic (people not in a special guild or is a woman are not allowed to learn or perform it), gets arrested for something not entirely certain yet. Kaya sets out to save her brother with only her wits and the help of magic.

The Characters

I thought that the main character was annoying at times. I think the author had her misunderstand things a lot of the time for some extra drama. This tactic is used a lot in books, but I felt like that was overused in this book. Also, yes, she was worried about her brother, but she was still so rude to a bunch of people who were trying to help her. And she was a downer on herself, which I can get, since her brother was quite critical, but after all she’s done, she still kept saying about how she was a terrible story teller, or how her brother was better. I also didn’t really like the aunt (at least in the beginning). Yes, she was nice, but she barely seemed surprised or worried when Kaya told her that her brother was captured; she acted as though Kaya knew about everything that she talked about; and she also lived in a way in such stark contrast to Kaya’s upbringing and didn’t seem to be that understanding of how Kaya saw things, even though the majority of the world saw things the way Kaya did. But this is just nitpicking, and the characters weren’t that bad. Actually, I think I liked the listeners as characters. It was nice to add that magic had its own personality. While we as readers don’t get to read much about the personality of the listeners, it kind of came through at times when the characters used story magic. I think it would have been cool to explore the listeners a little more, but the story wasn’t about them, so it made sense that they were still mysterious in some ways.

The Magic

I really liked the magic in this book. It was a cool, original concept, and it actually had some limits, so there wasn’t always some magical answer to everything if you had the ability to perform it. And, to have the ability to perform magic, you actually have to learn it and everyone can do it, given the right education and materials, which is something that is not included in a lot of books. Often, you have to be born with the ability to do magic, and even then, you have to be born with the potential to actually be powerful, and other people will never have the potential to reach your level, or vice versa.

The Writing

I thought the writing style was a little sloppy at times. Like when we meet the Kaya’s aunt, she just begins spouting crucial information all at once like it is nothing. I thought this was a strange way to convey all of this information. As for the betrayal, I felt that to write a really good and emotional betrayal, the reader has to actually care about the character who betrayed. In this, it was just a character in the story that cared about the betrayer, and I think that this was a missed opportunity to make this book better. I’m a little conflicted about the ending. The ending seemed a little unresolved, but it wasn’t that much, so in fact it strengthened the storyline for me because I think a little uncertainty is good for a book’s end. But it was so abrupt about how everybody is more or less happy. I really liked these little mini stories that were told now and then when characters were doing story magic. Through these, it was cool to see how Kaya progressed as a storyteller, though it did seem a little abrupt of how Kaya suddenly stopped hesitating in her stories (but the story did have few-day gaps every now and then, during which Kaya supposedly practiced her storytelling).

I really liked the concept of this book, and I thought the magic was cool in how it wasn’t super easy to perform and also had some restrictions. I did have a few problems with it, like Kaya’s aunt and sometimes Kaya herself, but I did like this book. I think the cover and the map were also pretty great. I would recommend this book to grades three through six.

Thank you to NetGalley and North Star Editions for the DRC (Digital Review Copy)
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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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