The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney

The Storyteller is a reimagining of Grim’s 12 Dancing Princesses.  For those not familiar with the original tale, every night the King locks his twelve daughters into their room and every morning when he releases them the princesses are not only exhausted but their dancing slippers have been worn through.  The king decrees that any champion who takes on the challenge and succeeds in uncovering the Princesses’ secret will not only be richly rewarded but will be free to choose the hand of whichever princess he so wishes.  Failure however will result in death – by decapitation.  Rounded up so bluntly like that you can’t help wondering why we read this as a nighttime fairytale to our children!

What I particularly liked about the story was that it adheres in format and style to the original but it manages to give the princesses more character (although given there are twelve they don’t all get equal time – otherwise this would be a very lengthy novel indeed!)  We’re also provided with a little back history into the King and the motives behind the locked door.  Is he protecting his daughters or is he in fact keeping them captive.  I think it also succeeds in making the princesses more likable.  Lets not forget that in the original tale they play a hand in quite a few champions losing their heads!  In this particular story they act quite responsibly towards these men – even though they are unwelcome visitors!  The main character of the story is Lyra.  All the girls not only look very similar but their names all start with the letter ‘A’ and so to assist with identifying each other they usually adopt the end of the name therefore Alyra becomes Lyra.  She’s a book worm who enjoys regaling her sisters with stories about castles and curses never totally putting together the fact that they’re living in their very own story!

I think the author succeeds in delivering a story that gives a bit more insight into these otherwise ‘anonymous’ princesses whilst at the same time giving them an interesting back story.  Plus managing to squeeze in a few more stories along the way.  I thought the change in tack for the last champion was a really good take.

In terms of criticisms I don’t really have anything at all other than I think this could have been shortened a little, simply to strengthen the tension a little.  I also think I could have handled a little bit more creepy darkness or more of a gothic feel but, that being said that would have changed the ‘feel’ of the book.  As it is this has more the feel of a mystery adventure and a race against time to work out a solution.

A lovely retelling of a favourite old tale.  Well written with Princesses that have a little more of a modern outlook.  Talking cats and fairy godmothers.  It will be interesting to go and read the first book by this author – The Wanderers – these books don’t have to be read in order but there is some overlapping of characters and I’d like to find out a little more about Tom.

In the interest of disclosure I have known the author in a blogging capacity for some time and was very happy to read and review The Storyteller.  The above is my own opinion.


14 Responses to “The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney”

  1. Lynn E. O'Connacht

    *waves the Team Tom flag* If you enjoyed Tom in this one, you’ll love him in The Wanderers. It’s a very different story to this one, but equal amounts of fun.

    And I’m so glad that you enjoyed this too. ^_^ I had a blast with it!

    • lynnsbooks

      Tom was a great character. I’m looking forward to reading the wanderers – it’ll be after my Halloween-athon though.
      Lynn 😀

      • Lynn E. O'Connacht

        Makes a lot of sense! It really doesn’t fit with the Halloween-season, imo. Do you have a set reading list for your Halloween-athon? (I am completely not-nosy about people’s TBR piles. Not at all. Nope.)

      • lynnsbooks

        Nothing wrong with a bit of curiosity. For Halloween I’m reading a couple of vampires stories, Generation V and the Endangered. Plus a story called The Fall which is based on the House of Usher curse by Poe and a book called the Reviver – which is about people who have the ability to revive the dead – just for a very short window – in order to question them about their deaths, for example in murder enquiries. Perfect Halloween reading really!
        Lynn 😀

    • Lynn E. O'Connacht

      Perfect Halloween reading really!

      Sounds it! The last one and the retelling of The Fall of Usher strike me as especially fitting. ^_^ I hope they’ll all be great reads for the season! Enjoy!

      • lynnsbooks

        I’ve just finished The Fall – it was really good. Told from the sisters pov which was interesting.
        Lynn 😀

  2. jessicabookworm

    I have a copy of this too and I am really looking forward to reading it 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s a lovely retelling and I enjoyed it very much. I think Cheryl manages to give a really good back story that is interesting and plausible.
      I really think you’ll like it too.
      Lynn 😀

  3. cherylmahoney

    Thank you for such a lovely review, Lynn, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! As Lynn E. already jumped in to say, there is MUCH more Tom in The Wanderers…but I’m happy that you became intrigued by him in this one!

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah – and I already have my copy of the Wanderers waiting to be read.
      A lovely retelling.
      Lynn 😀

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