Cover Image: Story Magic

Story Magic

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Member Reviews

Sorry for the late feedback - not sure what happened. This was an enjoyable MG fantasy adventure I'd be happy to recommend, and would look forward to a sequel.

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3.5 Stars.
This was enjoyable. I wish there were a bit more to the story, more to the magic and Kayla. I felt like it all kind of happend so fast and sometimes Kayla did not feel like a child? or she wasn`t upset when things that should upset her happend, yknow? But overall very enjoyable nontheless.

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Cute , fun engaging novel. I feel like the characters we’re fleshed out well and it had excellent worldbuilding.

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Story Magic by Laurel Gale, 224 pages. North Star, 2020. $12 (paperback)

Content: G (mild danger)



12yo Kaya’s brother, Hob, belongs to the Story Magicians Guild. If a magician tells a great story, the listener (an unseen magical being) approves of the story, the listener may grant a wish. While girls are forbidden from telling stories and accessing the magic, Kaya thinks she is very good at it. When Hob is arrested and hauled to far off Prima, the capitol, Kaya will use more story magic and make the quest to rescue him. And each times she flexes her story-telling abilities, the better, and more powerful, she becomes.

While Gale has a fresh spin on the lengths men will go to suppress women, the story is of medium interest. Thankfully the book is in paperback, so the price is commensurate to its value.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

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This started out really good, I loved the concept of storytelling magic and invisible creatures who loves stories so much they might do magic to help the storyteller, depending on what they ask for. But the main character acted a lot like a young adult, rather than the 12-year old she was written to be. An example is this train of thought:

"The guild had no legal authority to execute people – but who was going to stop them? The king? He never interfered in their affairs, which was probably wise.”

This, to me, did not feel like it belonged inside the head of a 12 year old girl, who had grown up pretty sheltered and away from other people. This continued all the way to the end of the book, with the main character feeling like a young girl and a young woman at the same time, which threw me off so much that I was struggling to enjoy the story.

I really enjoyed the concept of storytelling as a way to use magic, but this book sadly didn't quite deliver a story I was able to believe in. Nonetheless, it was a fun read! And I might be in the wrong here as well, since I am outside of this book's intended audience of middle graders.

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So fun and incredibly imaginative!
I absolutely love reading middlegrade fiction and read this title as well as "The Gilded Girl" and they both were filled with classic "girl power" vibes with magical elements & magical realism thrown in for good measure.
Kaya was a worthy heroine and one you cannot help but root for and become very attached to by book's end.

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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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