Title: The Storyteller
Author: Antonia Michaelis
Publisher: Amulet Books
Published: January 2012
ISBN: 978 14197 00477
Price: £11.99 HB
The cover on this is very picturesque and eye catching. Both the spine and the cover have very fancy ornate lettering on them which I really like.
This is a stunning book, although not always a comfortable read because of the subject matter – it has been very well woven; making a story which I would find to be unbearable in its brutality easier to digest because of the fabulous way it is written and told.
Anna is a girl who is sheltered from most of the harsh realities of life…until she becomes fascinated by Abel, the school drug dealer. There is far more to Abel than meets the eye (and I have to admit to liking him as well). He looks after his six year old sister. To overcome his sister’s fears and to help with their day to day living, Abel is a fantastic storyteller and creates magical worlds for him and his sister to believe in and think about. As Anna is drawn into his storytelling reality and storytelling merge and it becomes unclear what the truth is.
I found this shocking in places…but without the storytelling element the book wouldn’t be what it is, and Antonia Michaelis has done a fantastic job of weaving magic with a contrast of such magnitude; making this a thriller just as much as a story about right and wrong. I can’t really explain it any better without giving any of the plot away – and this is one book you really need to read for yourself to see how masterful it has been created. I was astounded at the end, as it wasn’t what I thought would happen, nor was the perpetrator who I thought it was.
This novel shows Antonia Michaelis moving in a bold new direction: a dark, haunting contemporary novel that is part mystery, part romance, part melodrama. Anna and Abel couldn't be more different. They are both 17, in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house, her father a doctor, her mother a literature professor at university. Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in the big cage-like tower blocks at the edge of town, full of people without work, without money, without future. Anna is afraid of him until she finds a child's doll that he has dropped and, in returning it to him, realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It's a beautiful fairytale that Anna comes to see has basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father, an insistent social worker, and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his 'enemies' begin to turn up dead, she fears she's fallen for a murderer.
Source - many thanks to Amulet, a copy was received in return for an honest review.