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The Storyteller's Daughter

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His shadowed face lit by flames, Rumpelstiltskin is my name... For as long as anyone can remember, every child in Westfallen has been born with a Gift, and these Gifts defined them. Then Cosette is born, Giftless. An attempt to hide her misfortune brings her before the King, who entraps her to use her Gift as a pawn in his war. Caught in a lie, Cosette desperately sear His shadowed face lit by flames, Rumpelstiltskin is my name... For as long as anyone can remember, every child in Westfallen has been born with a Gift, and these Gifts defined them. Then Cosette is born, Giftless. An attempt to hide her misfortune brings her before the King, who entraps her to use her Gift as a pawn in his war. Caught in a lie, Cosette desperately searches for a power strong enough to free her. Intrigued by whispers of an old king and a dark curse, she calls upon Rumpelstiltskin and finds him trapped in a magic deeper than she bargained for. Now, Cosette must fight to reclaim her freedom from the King and break Rumpel’s curse. When time runs out, she’ll lose more than her heart. She’ll lose her life. THE STORYTELLER’S DAUGHTER is the perfect introduction to YA that will satisfy fans of Gail Carson Levine’s ELLA ENCHANTED, as well as Jessica Day George’s DRAGON SLIPPERS and PRINCESS OF GLASS, and Cameron Dokey’s THE WORLD ABOVE.


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His shadowed face lit by flames, Rumpelstiltskin is my name... For as long as anyone can remember, every child in Westfallen has been born with a Gift, and these Gifts defined them. Then Cosette is born, Giftless. An attempt to hide her misfortune brings her before the King, who entraps her to use her Gift as a pawn in his war. Caught in a lie, Cosette desperately sear His shadowed face lit by flames, Rumpelstiltskin is my name... For as long as anyone can remember, every child in Westfallen has been born with a Gift, and these Gifts defined them. Then Cosette is born, Giftless. An attempt to hide her misfortune brings her before the King, who entraps her to use her Gift as a pawn in his war. Caught in a lie, Cosette desperately searches for a power strong enough to free her. Intrigued by whispers of an old king and a dark curse, she calls upon Rumpelstiltskin and finds him trapped in a magic deeper than she bargained for. Now, Cosette must fight to reclaim her freedom from the King and break Rumpel’s curse. When time runs out, she’ll lose more than her heart. She’ll lose her life. THE STORYTELLER’S DAUGHTER is the perfect introduction to YA that will satisfy fans of Gail Carson Levine’s ELLA ENCHANTED, as well as Jessica Day George’s DRAGON SLIPPERS and PRINCESS OF GLASS, and Cameron Dokey’s THE WORLD ABOVE.

30 review for The Storyteller's Daughter

  1. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    Fairytale retellings are one of my absolute favourite things, so I was super keen to finally have a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. THIS is what we need okay. (We love you, Cinderella/Beauty & The Beast but we've seen you enough 😂.) It also does some variations on the original tale too, so you see the inspiration but we get plot twists to keep us guessing. I just really enjoyed myself here!! the story It's set in a traditional fairytale type kingdom where everyone is born with a Gift ...except Cosette. Fairytale retellings are one of my absolute favourite things, so I was super keen to finally have a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. THIS is what we need okay. (We love you, Cinderella/Beauty & The Beast but we've seen you enough 😂.) It also does some variations on the original tale too, so you see the inspiration but we get plot twists to keep us guessing. I just really enjoyed myself here!! the story It's set in a traditional fairytale type kingdom where everyone is born with a Gift ...except Cosette. She's 19 and daughter of a storyteller and works in a tavern and is genuinely a pretty under-appreciated life. Her family is lovely, but she's really isolated by her Giftlessness. Plus her boyfriend is in love with her and she is really not in love with him. When she starts working for the local seamstress, her dad tells a story about how she can spin straw into gold. Well guess how helpful THAT turns out to be when the king's men come demanding this girl. The world building is simple but lovely; it draws you into this kingdom where there are wars and kings with strange names and beautiful dresses and winsome princes. While Cosette is trapped in the palace (in the familiar "spin gold or be executed" line from the fairytale) she meets Rumpelstiltskin who's not quite human (sort of half a ghost and trapped under a curse) and he spins the gold for her to save her life. He does announce his name straight away so I was REALLY curious if it would bring in the hidden names later. And it does!! But in a really different way!! It just made me smile. a little bit of love You know what I really loved? Cosette. She was soft and gentle, kind and warm. She gets treated as a princess for supposedly "spinning gold" but you know what she falls in love with? BATHS. Delicious pastries from the kitchen. The whole library!!! The prince? Not so much. I just loved that this book was about a girl who didn't fall in love easily, didn't appear to really have crushes, was sick with anxiety at the thought of being forced into a marriage. It felt like such a good commentary on boys who pursue girls who say no, on girls who have to spare a boy's feelings just to protect herself, on how everyone (if they want it) deserves a deep and true love story. (I also kind of headcannoned Cosette on the ace spectrum 🥰 which made my ace heart happy. Not on page rep, just me wishing!!) Also I really loved Rumpel?! He was soft after being arrogant before his curse. He was kind but flawed. His character arc just left my heart aching. Prince Conrad? A prince charming who had nothing "wrong" with him, and didn't understand why Cosette couldn't love him. He also was so spineless while pretending not to be. And a moment for Cosette's little sister, Anika, who wasn't in the story much but honestly perfection with her little snark moments and eyerolls. Anika for queen okay. The whole book is engaging and sweet, captivating and magical. It's full of soft characters who learn to face their insecurities and failures. I loved the twists and even though it wasn't action packed, it keeps you flipping pages to see if Cosette can spin her doomed lies into a fairytale ending.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Victoria McCombs

    I'm the author, so I'm biased! This book was so fun to write, I've always loved fairytale retellings such as Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball series, and A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I wanted to rewrite a tale not done as often, and I found myself drawn to Rumpelstiltskin's story and how I could change the villain's role to something unexpected. Alright, I won't spoil anything! I hope you enjoy. For the parents, while categorized as YA, this book is clean and a I'm the author, so I'm biased! This book was so fun to write, I've always loved fairytale retellings such as Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball series, and A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I wanted to rewrite a tale not done as often, and I found myself drawn to Rumpelstiltskin's story and how I could change the villain's role to something unexpected. Alright, I won't spoil anything! I hope you enjoy. For the parents, while categorized as YA, this book is clean and appropriate for younger audiences.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jules ✨

    i see rumpelstiltskin retelling and i floor it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish // YA Book Blogger

    This cover could punch me and I would say thank you

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    ‪ ⁣ ‪I loved this book and read this in one sitting! I love a great retelling and when I found out it was about Rumpelstiltskin I was so excited to read about this. The story is centered on Cosette from the land of Westfalen where everyone is born with a special gift, except for her. Her father, gifted with storytelling weaves a tale about a woman who can spin straw into gold. The story spreads quickly until it reaches the King. Cosette is taken as a prisoner to spin gold or she will be executed. ‪ ⁣ ‪I loved this book and read this in one sitting! I love a great retelling and when I found out it was about Rumpelstiltskin I was so excited to read about this. The story is centered on Cosette from the land of Westfalen where everyone is born with a special gift, except for her. Her father, gifted with storytelling weaves a tale about a woman who can spin straw into gold. The story spreads quickly until it reaches the King. Cosette is taken as a prisoner to spin gold or she will be executed. A mysterious being helps Cosette and spares her life by spinning gold for her. In a tangled web of love, Cosette is caught between the love of a prince, her best friend or the mysterious savior who comes in the night to continue saving her life. ‬⁣This is a great story, well written and with a plot twist too! McCombs creativity and imagination in writing this book is her Gift to all of us! ⁣ ‪The Storyteller’s Daughter is classified as a YA read but could also be enjoyed by younger readers. I enjoyed this one!‬⁣

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fizah(Books tales by me)

    Every child in Westfalen is born with a gift, small or big, practical or not. Except for Cosette who is the only girl with no gift. She works in her family tavern, helps her family, reads books or listens to her father's amazingly-woven tales, which is his gift. A seamstress has taken her as an apprentice, Aiden her childhood best friend is courting her. Until one day when King locked her in castle and demand to spin straw in gold or she will be killed. When years old spirit decided to help her. I Every child in Westfalen is born with a gift, small or big, practical or not. Except for Cosette who is the only girl with no gift. She works in her family tavern, helps her family, reads books or listens to her father's amazingly-woven tales, which is his gift. A seamstress has taken her as an apprentice, Aiden her childhood best friend is courting her. Until one day when King locked her in castle and demand to spin straw in gold or she will be killed. When years old spirit decided to help her. I loved the writing, it was so simple yet engaging. The plot wasn't twisted but a solid one. The character development was beautiful, though I have a few reservations with both Conrad and Cosette. Cosette has good traits but also the annoying one, She is ignorant about many things and can't face reality. Conrad is always laughing while throwing his head back (so repetitive), his character was sketchy and I don't think he got a perfect closure. I loved Rumple's character, his character was developed perfectly, his backstory and action make sense. I haven't read Rumplestiltskin's real tale, what I've read are only retellings. I liked this one the most. The pace of the story was perfect and kept me hooked throughout. Though Ending felt a bit abrupt. I'd love to get a little more details. Overall I really liked this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (thereaderandthechef)

    **Huge thanks to the author & MTMC Tours for the review copy. All thoughts are my own.** Check our tour stop + an intl giveaway over on @thereaderandthechef! My review: I’ve been a fan of Rumpelstiltskin’s tale ever since I was a little girl, and I’ve always looked forward to reading retellings. And although my reading list is tragically short, I can safely say The Storyteller’s Daughter will be one I will be forever recommending. This story about magical gifts that define your value within society **Huge thanks to the author & MTMC Tours for the review copy. All thoughts are my own.** Check our tour stop + an intl giveaway over on @thereaderandthechef! My review: I’ve been a fan of Rumpelstiltskin’s tale ever since I was a little girl, and I’ve always looked forward to reading retellings. And although my reading list is tragically short, I can safely say The Storyteller’s Daughter will be one I will be forever recommending. This story about magical gifts that define your value within society and where a sole girl is born without one, was such a wonderful take to read about. Cosette is smart and hardworking, desperately trying to make up for her lack of magical Gift. But she still dreams about discovering she does have one, though she wishes for a practical one that would provide for her family— like magical cleaning, or cooking the best food a tavern could ever provide. But one she never imagined to have, was the ability to spin straw into gold, like the Gift her father gives her in one of his latest tales. Cosette is soon dragged into the King’s castle after whispers of her Gift reaches his ears, and despite all her best efforts to set things straight (for she absolutely cannot spin straw into gold!), she’s thrown into a room full of straw, and that’s when Rumpel shows up and offers to do it for her night after night, at no cost. There are so many things I loved about this book: * How fairytale-esque it is, to start with! I felt as if I were discovering an old and magical tale, the kind that survives for centuries. Every page is full of soft and gentle magic, the kind my mom would spin into her own tales and I would fall asleep hearing to. Victoria McCombs is a true storyteller! * Cosette. Oh, how I adored her! She’s quiet, kind, and with so many insecurities that made her super relatable. I love how she doesn’t settle. She has the opportunity to marry her “best friend” and yet, she knows she doesn’t love him and thus doesn’t let herself be pressured into entering a lifetime commitment. * And I loved how she is open with her family to even talk about this. How they have her back and let her trust her instinct. Her sister, Anika, even warns her when she’s about to get a proposal, and it’s something I even would be grateful to get (the warning, I mean). And it’s not as if Cosette is not a romantic, it’s just the matter of: what if this is not true love? * And those are sort of the themes about this book! True love doesn’t mean it being a Happily Ever After or Fairytale love, but more about a relationship feeling RIGHT. (And if love doesn’t come along, no one should be pressured into love. It’s okay to live without one.) * Oh, but I must speak about Rumpel! A cursed young king who has been forced to live for hundreds of years out of one mistake that brought magic into Westfallen, has now only a few months left before ceasing to exist as just a magical essence. Seeing Cosette in such a tight spot, he decides to help her as his last mission. He is a soft character with a good heart, who offered his magic and friendship to Cosette when she needed it the most. And ACK, it was unavoidable to fall for him! I’m sure many will come to love this Rumpel. 🥺 The Storyteller’s Daughter is definitely a new favorite and I am excited to follow the companion novels! I only hope to get a glimpse of my faves since I will miss them, but I know the next book will be just as magical!

  8. 4 out of 5

    J.

    Idk if it was adult or YA. That is why I put it in both. actual rating 2.5... Plot: A loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Cosette is born Giftless in a land where people are born with magic in their veins and have Gifts. When her gifted storyteller father weaves a tale of her being able to spin straw into gold, the kingsmen whisk her away to the castle. The king orders to spin the gold, or end her life. Scared for her life, and locked away Cosette begs to anyone to help her. There in a room full Idk if it was adult or YA. That is why I put it in both. actual rating 2.5... Plot: A loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Cosette is born Giftless in a land where people are born with magic in their veins and have Gifts. When her gifted storyteller father weaves a tale of her being able to spin straw into gold, the kingsmen whisk her away to the castle. The king orders to spin the gold, or end her life. Scared for her life, and locked away Cosette begs to anyone to help her. There in a room full of hay she meets Rumpelstiltskin, who agrees to help her with her daunting task. Along the way Cosette has to face difficult challenges of living with the King and prince, and discover what love really is. *drums fingers* Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ehhhhhhhh. *glances at book* *deep sigh* I liked the first 100 pages of this book. It was between of Cosette explaining Gifts/her simple life to discovering Rumpelstiltskin and meeting the prince. I liked the start of the potential world building, I liked Cosette's family, and the current external conflict that Cosette was facing in the village (being Giftless and her relationship with her boyfriend). I like the sudden build of mystery of Rumpel and the curse that he has. I liked Prince Conrad. Who was he? What did he bring to the story? However as the book continued, it started to decline...the plot, the characters, and the world building started to collapse. Let us go to the characters! Cosette was a quieter/introverted/not necessarily kick butt protagonist compared to other YA/NA heroines. Which I totally don't mind. Sometimes people have other strengths and use that to their advantage. I did like her in the beginning of the 100 pages, I really did. She was naive, dumb, and helpless a majority of the time, but she had a very charming personality. But like its the first 100 pages...so what, there is something called character development. BUT 237 some pages later she is still the same person...but whinier, annoying, and a dumb know it all. Oh, also I AM A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN, AND I CONTROL MY OWN DESTINY type of attitude...which was kinda hard to believe based on her actions and her thought process *roll eyes* Cosette acted helpless through out the whole book. She didn't have a spine (and when she did it mostly back fired, and I honestly got second hand embarrassment). She barely helped to fix Rumpel's curse. All she did was read about the history of Westfallen (which did not help at all besides like winning some King's test..lame), engage with idle talk with Prince Conrad, and flirted with Rumpel. Literally this Rumpel was gonna die in like 4 months, and this girl was like "oop...i love him so much...and I have to cherish my time with him cause he's going to die...wooo is me, I can't do anything about it *sad face*" Like this man was the LOVE of her life and she was just going to accept that he was going to die to something THAT is preventable and can be cured! Just have to think outside the box... I could go on about Cosette, and like how she views things unrealistically (despite claiming to be "rational"), immature (despite being 20), did I say naive, yet????, and gives up sooo easily. They list is endless, but I will end it here...I have more things to cover...(*whispers* also HOW DID SHE GET THREE FREAKIN GUYS TO WANT TO MARRY HER....like dude there is nooo way I could put up with that girl for the rest of my life) Ok. Ok. I’m done with bashing Cosette. Moving on. The characters in this book had so much potential to be more interesting and complex... but they felt two dimensional as it was more tell than show (back stories would be rushed, and summarized through Cosette) Rumpel was this unknown magical spirit, and he had a very generic tragic back story(and unexciting)..that felt incomplete, and didn’t add any depth to this character. It was glazed and nonchalant...there was nothing that made me pity him, or anything to grasp more of his character. All I understood that Cosette was his new love. (All of a sudden...) he also didn’t have much of a personality besides being the love interest...like I can’t name one thing that stands out. Prince Conrad was the same. He had potential. He really did. But again, he felt two dimensional, and ruined by the lack of any character development. For example (view spoiler)[ Rumpel warned Cosette that he doesn’t trust Conrad. She basically takes his word, and treads lightly around the prince...the prince has only shown us that he is gentle and kind. Later Rumpel tells Cosette that he forces boys to go to war. Like that’s the only bad thing about him(that we know of through out the entire book!), and Cosette becomes weary of that. Like come on...doesnt this universe heard of the draft?! Like yeah, that’s not good...but come on...it was literally 15 boys that he forced. Does every leader have to be perfect, kind, and a push over?? Like there is no visible hints of any other badness in him besides forcing boys into war...like the only proof that he is doing it is a piece of paper that Cosette found on his desk and asked him about it. And her “instincts” just told her that there is more to his story that he isn’t telling...*roll eyes*. So there is no other proof that he deserves to be the “bad guy” of this book... (hide spoiler)] Those are our main players. Now onto the plot! Again, like I said before the 100 pages really were leading to a possible good plot... But where’s the plot? Once Corsette meets Rumple, it is literally her playing dress up and being spoiled. Her walking with the prince, and dreaming about Rumple. Boring boring boring. Even her trying to break Rumple’s curse is boring! It’s her reading books all day, and not even trying anything >:( Oh and also crying for being forced into marriage...when there’s an obvious plan to get her out :/ which spoiler she ignores the plan. Why? BECAUSE SHE IS AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN THAT CONTROLS HER DESTINY. You can be that strong person whether male or female, but seriously, be smart about it at least?????? Even when Cosette went back to the Village to visit family it was boring. They only thing useful she was able to get was talk to some old man (view spoiler)[that had connection to the Sorceress that gave Rumple the curse (she gave the old man a letter to send to the Sorceress). How does this old man have connection? I don’t know...we will never know...like wtf. (hide spoiler)] That is plot hole The overall conclusion of the book literally made me roll my eyes. You know what it was to break the curse? Do you? (view spoiler)[ it was literally some silly frog foot thing that literally cures anything that Cosette came across that she thought was funny. And like they didn’t even need to even do that because the Sorceress was soo, I mean sooo, touched by Cosette’s letter that she lifted the curse anyway...LIKE WHAT (hide spoiler)] And do you know what’s worse?? This whole breaking the curse thing was not even experienced by Cosette! Rumpel explained it all very nonchalant about this whole ordeal at the castle after she was freed to go to back to her village. Like huh????? You know what be really cool. If Rumpel is actually evil, and all this stuff he literally just made up. Like please, make this story More interesting. Finally the world building! There was a little bit of history, and lore...not much tho. I don’t have much to say about it. It could have been done better, and more elaborate. But overall very mediocre..however like the magic of it wasn’t mentioned that much. The Gifts that everyone had were rarely mentioned at all...it was like it didn’t even exist. And the writing... The writing was fine, couple critiques is a lot of tell and not show. Like it’s ok, but I didn’t feel immersed into this book. And also the transitions to scenes/next chapters are not fun. The chapters start off usually with dialogue, with no context whatsoever, and doesn’t really relate to what the previous chapter was. Then the dialogue is explained through Cosette who explains the situation. This is good in some instances, or here and there. But McCombs used it after every chapter, and often times it was awkward and took me away from the story. It made me confused in some areas because I had to place myself back into the story. Ok. I know this was a long review/rant...but this book gave me some problems. Overall it had potential but it was executed poorly. The main character did not grow, the plot was slow (and non existent), and well this story could have been better with Cosette’s sister Anika. I might read Anika’s story because I loved her. But I’m not sure...I have think about it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paula M

    Another 2020 release I love!! Review to be posted.

  10. 4 out of 5

    belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo)

    In exchange for an honest review, I was provided an ARC. Thank you! i don’t think i’ve read any rumpelstilkin retellings before, so the storyteller’s daughter was a refreshing read. victoria mccombs’ writing is simple yet descriptive of the characters and settings. as a debut novel, the author has the fundamentals down. the whole concept and its execution was interesting. although i couldn’t relate much with cosette, i liked her bravery. deciding to fake her ability to spin gold from straws takes In exchange for an honest review, I was provided an ARC. Thank you! i don’t think i’ve read any rumpelstilkin retellings before, so the storyteller’s daughter was a refreshing read. victoria mccombs’ writing is simple yet descriptive of the characters and settings. as a debut novel, the author has the fundamentals down. the whole concept and its execution was interesting. although i couldn’t relate much with cosette, i liked her bravery. deciding to fake her ability to spin gold from straws takes lots of courage especially with the fear of losing her life if the royals find out the truth. also, rumpel was the only one who points out cosette’s flaws and inconsistency in her behavior which i really liked. as for the romance, i wasn’t very hyped about it but the pacing was good. rumpel and colette’s romance developed gradually, and wasn’t hastily done. their feelings stemmed from finding comfort in the other person because they were both stuck in a sticky situation. unfortunately, the ending was a little abrupt and detached from cosette herself. it was wrapped up quickly and was described post-event. i would have preferred if cosette was there when everything went down and wasn’t told what had happened. the way rumpel’s curse was erased was anticlimactic and underwhelming. overall, the concept was intriguing, and i really enjoyed the plot. however, there’s some elements that didn’t do for me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hallie Christensen

    I received an eARC of this book for an honest review. So, here it is 😁 If you were a fan of Ella Enchanted, then you'll love this book. "Every child born showed signs of a special talent that set them apart from each other. Everyone had a piece of magic in their souls. Everyone except me." Cosette is born in a magical world without magic. Day after day, she works in her family's tavern, wondering if this is the life she will forever have, wanting a change. Obviously, that change occurs since she is I received an eARC of this book for an honest review. So, here it is 😁 If you were a fan of Ella Enchanted, then you'll love this book. "Every child born showed signs of a special talent that set them apart from each other. Everyone had a piece of magic in their souls. Everyone except me." Cosette is born in a magical world without magic. Day after day, she works in her family's tavern, wondering if this is the life she will forever have, wanting a change. Obviously, that change occurs since she is whisked off to the King's castle and demanded to spin straw into gold or be executed. Luckily, she finds help from a spirit dwelling within the castle... What a sweet and magical fairytale retelling! The Storyteller's Daughter had moments of raw emotion that pulled at my heartstrings. This was my quarantine book that I looked forward to reading every night and I'm saddened that I finished. I will miss the characters and the magic. This is the author's debut novel and I am excited to see what other stories she writes next. Also a bonus, the cover is GORGEOUS! ❤ Can't wait to buy the real thing!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)

    The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review. The first book in The Westfallen Chronicles is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling set in a world where almost everyone has magical talents (skilled in the violin, ability to tell what the upcoming weather is) that are called Gifts. Not gonna lie, but the Gifts are super cool and I definite The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review. The first book in The Westfallen Chronicles is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling set in a world where almost everyone has magical talents (skilled in the violin, ability to tell what the upcoming weather is) that are called Gifts. Not gonna lie, but the Gifts are super cool and I definitely walked into the book expecting more magical powers like teleportation. Almost everyone except for Cosette, who is Giftless and considered strange by most people around her, until her father tells a story of her spinning gold from straw with his Gift of storytelling. The story gets to the king, who summons her to use those gifts to aid in the war. Big oops. Except there's a problem. You can't actually spin straw into gold if you don't actually have the Gift to do so. Basically, Cosette summed up in a GIF: There are some good aspects of Victoria McCombs' novel that didn't turn this into a flop. I love Anika. She's one of my favorite characters and became an instant favorite the moment she entered the story yelling enthusiastically about pants. If there's one good thing for sure that will get me reading the sequel, it's because the book is about Anika, and I'm so excited to see her as the main character. I also adored Rumpel -- he's just trying his very best to figure out how to undo his curse that started from a pure accident. That's not to say Cosette isn't a likable character for some people, though, but again, I'm not exactly the right audience for The Storyteller's Daughter. Cosette is someone who has a good heart and wants to do good things in the world; she also wants to fit in with her surrounding world of everyone having Gifts, and she makes the occasional bad decision. Unfortunately, she's just not my type of character. But The Storyteller's Daughter turned out to be a little bit of a disappointment. The ending felt abrupt and tied up too quickly, and there are loose ends in both the story and the world. This is the first in a series, though, so I could be completely wrong in the loose ends of the world and they'll somehow tie-up with subsequent books (even though they feel like stand-alone novels). We'll see when that happens. But let's talk about the loose ends! I wanted to know more about what Conrad's deal was and Rumpel's history of observing him since his curse -- Cosette is told about Conrad... but it's really just telling than showing. I also wanted to know about Old Mr. Walters and the witch who cursed Rumpel -- we get like one appearance from one of them and the other is mentioned to have made an appearance in the abrupt ending. Am I hoping there's an entire purpose? Absolutely. Is it going to happen? I have no fucking clue. I personally was not a fan of the writing style, which felt a little... bland? along with the developing romance between Rumpel and Cosette. I wasn't too sold on it -- something just feels missing, and I have no clue what it is. It's a possibility I'm not exactly the right audience for The Storyteller's Daughter other than loving retellings, so take that one with a grain of salt. This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    Check out the review on my blog: https://sophsbookworld.wordpress.com/... This was one of my most anticipated reads this summer, however, it turned out to be the biggest disappointment. I am a sucker for good fairytale retellings, especially when it comes to stories that are not as common. I’m bored of Cinderella retellings already but Rumpelstiltskin is something new to me. I’ve recently read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which is also the retelling of the same story and I loved that one. It wa Check out the review on my blog: https://sophsbookworld.wordpress.com/... This was one of my most anticipated reads this summer, however, it turned out to be the biggest disappointment. I am a sucker for good fairytale retellings, especially when it comes to stories that are not as common. I’m bored of Cinderella retellings already but Rumpelstiltskin is something new to me. I’ve recently read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which is also the retelling of the same story and I loved that one. It was a perfect mysterious fairy tale retelling with a bit of romance in it. And this was just… meh. The first 100 pages were amazing. It tells a story of a world where every person is born with a gift. Cosette, Storyteller’s daughter, is the only one without a gift. Only when her father tells a story about how she can spin straw into gold, everyone starts believing that it’s her gift. And to save her own head from the ruthless king. she forms a relationship with magical king Rumpelstiltskin who spins all the gold for her. The premise of the book is amazing and I just couldn’t wait to read it. But in reality I had many problems. First of all, our main character Cosette is one of the least interesting heroines I’ve read of. She has this vanilla persona that makes even the most interesting thing boring as hell. Worst of all, the story is written from her point of view so I had to read her train of thoughts. I don’t know how it’s possible for such a boring person to get into a love square (because 3 men fell for her!), it’s so unrealistic. Her sister was so much more energetic and fearless that I wished she were the main character. She doesn’t know how to fight for herself and does’t even try… The other thing is the fact that the storyline is very flat. There are not really a lot of things happening besides the gold-weaving and occasionally Cosette changing her mind about who she likes. That girl doesn’t know what she wants and can’t even decide if she likes a guy or not. She acts like a stupid teenager even though she’s almost 20 and can’t think with her own head. I did like Rumpel and he was the only thing I was looking forward to while reading this book. I wish there was more about his life after the magic took him because it was only briefly described. Also, his and Cosette’s romance was so weird and it happened all of the sudden. I wish they fell in love slowly throughout the book and that it wasn’t brought on us so suddenly. The ending was so rushed and awkward, it felt like a 13 year old was trying to finish her Wattpad fanfiction and didn’t know how to wrap up everything that was started so it ended up being a mish-mash of everything. I was cringing so hard I had to skip through the last 50 pages and I glad I did because I would’ve lost my sanity. And what’s the thing with the riddle about King’s name, you could clearly find it in any book so why was it a mystery? All in all a big sad disappointment.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Riya Queen

    Such an enchanting Rumpelstiltskin retelling! I wanted to read read this as soon as it came out, and the synopsis grabbed my attention the first time I saw it. The storyteller's daughter delivered the content I was hoping for, and I immensely enjoyed it. In the kingdom of Westfall, children are born with what they call as "gifts" such as music, making clothes out of fabric and such. Cosette, our protagonist, is born giftless and she hates to be the only one born that way. She's quite capable othe Such an enchanting Rumpelstiltskin retelling! I wanted to read read this as soon as it came out, and the synopsis grabbed my attention the first time I saw it. The storyteller's daughter delivered the content I was hoping for, and I immensely enjoyed it. In the kingdom of Westfall, children are born with what they call as "gifts" such as music, making clothes out of fabric and such. Cosette, our protagonist, is born giftless and she hates to be the only one born that way. She's quite capable otherwise, gaining an apprenticeship with a seamstress, and willing to work long and hard to compensate for her being giftless. When her father, a storyteller, weaves a tale about her spinning gold from mere straw, the king hears of the rumour and imprisons her, threatening to kill her if she doesn't provide them with gold. Rumpelstiltskin is probably one of my favorite characters in the whole book; he was one Charming man, albeit people might consider the romance repelling owing to the fact that Rumpel is easily a hundred years old. The magic has kept him young though. I felt that the setting was rather atmospheric, the villages and all, and I would've liked to learn more about it. Aidan and prince Conrad fell flat to me though. Both of them were represented in a very similar way and I had a hard time distinguishing them. Overall, a definitely entertaining and gorgeous rendition of Rumpelstiltskin!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Briana Cohen

    I’m really sad I didn’t like this because I was really looking forward to it. I love Rumplestiltskin retellings, especially when they make him the good guy for a twist. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get over how incredibly stupid and naive Cosette was. She barely made any decisions or thought for herself, even when everyone was throwing the facts in her face. Especially when she was trying to figure out if Conrad was a bad guy. If you love someone wouldn’t you trust their word? And yet no matter how I’m really sad I didn’t like this because I was really looking forward to it. I love Rumplestiltskin retellings, especially when they make him the good guy for a twist. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get over how incredibly stupid and naive Cosette was. She barely made any decisions or thought for herself, even when everyone was throwing the facts in her face. Especially when she was trying to figure out if Conrad was a bad guy. If you love someone wouldn’t you trust their word? And yet no matter how many times Rumple told her he was not a good person, she continued to wait until she had proof. I had assumed that she was sixteen or seventeen, but then they sort of mentioned she might be twenty, and I lost all hope for her. No twenty year old is this dense. And what was up with her having three potential suitors? She honestly really wasn’t that great, and I can’t see why anyone, let alone three, would take an interest in someone so boring and dull. Speaking of boring and dull, what even happened in this book? It felt like a whole lot of nothing. It was just Cosette and Rumple spinning the gold, Cosette complaining she had no Gift, and her reading in the library. The ending was SO anticlimactic and all this time passed without you even seeing what was going on. There was also no actual feeling like Aiden and Conrad were terrible people, and she could’ve just said she didn’t feel anything for them without having them make decisions that made them awful people so we would be forced to root for Rumple. I didn’t really see anything that made either of them too bad, and even the one thing that Cosette and Rumple were fighting about in regards to Conrad barely had any impact. When Cosette confronted him about it it was kind of just like okay well it happened the end. You never really saw consequences, and it didn’t even seem as dire as they were trying to make it out to be. I just kept waiting for something to happen or someone to die or the stakes to be raised and they never were. The only thing that kept me going was Rumple, and he was pretty cute, but honestly not even his romantic swoonness could save this. How did he even fall in love with Cosette? They never really showed it, and sure they spent a lot of time together, but all of a sudden she just decided she loved him without any merit. I would’ve loved to see how he fell for her and her have an actual reason for falling for him other than he saved my life and I’m jealous of his dead wife. I wanted to know why she felt that way instead of him being the default because she didn’t like the other two and she needed a love interest. This easily could’ve been a story about her falling for Conrad and Rumple being the bad guy he always is and it would’ve been the same story because absolutely nothing was explained. TLDR: this book is boring and nothing happened and there are better Rumplestiltskin retellings out there.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5⁣ ⁣ Everyone in Westfallen has a Gift. Everyone, that is, except Cosette. ⁣ ⁣ Seemingly sentenced to a life of insignificance, Cosette resigns herself to waiting tables at her family's tavern. ⁣ ⁣ Then, one day, her storytelling papa weaves a tale so fantastic, it reaches the ear of the king.⁣ ⁣ Cosette is hauled off to the castle and locked in a room full of straw. At the king's command, she must spin the straw into gold or forfeit her life. ⁣ ⁣ In her despair, Cosette cries out for help, complete ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5⁣ ⁣ Everyone in Westfallen has a Gift. Everyone, that is, except Cosette. ⁣ ⁣ Seemingly sentenced to a life of insignificance, Cosette resigns herself to waiting tables at her family's tavern. ⁣ ⁣ Then, one day, her storytelling papa weaves a tale so fantastic, it reaches the ear of the king.⁣ ⁣ Cosette is hauled off to the castle and locked in a room full of straw. At the king's command, she must spin the straw into gold or forfeit her life. ⁣ ⁣ In her despair, Cosette cries out for help, completely unaware that her Giftlessness is about to be the best thing that ever happened to her.⁣ ⁣ Forget everything you think you know about Rumpelstiltskin and let the magic of Victoria McComb's debut novel flow through you.⁣ ⁣ Victoria, what an honor! Thank you for trusting me to review your book.⁣

  17. 5 out of 5

    Last Book Marauder

    Rumpelstiltskin retelling?!?!?! Here for it

  18. 5 out of 5

    Linda Boelter

    The Storyteller’s Daughter is a unique retelling Of Rumpelstiltskin,with twists and turns that will surprise you. A little lie, a wrong choice, a little magic You won’t want to stop reading.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kariane Audet

    My heart melted while I was reading this! In this book, everybody has a gift that they are born with. Everybody but Cosette. She’s just the storyteller’s daughter, or the tavern girl. That is, until her father, a gifted storyteller, tells a story about his daughter being able to spin straw into gold. She is then taken by the king’s men to the castle so that she can make gold to fund the war that has been going on for a long time. Of course, she is unable to do this, so who comes to her rescue? Y My heart melted while I was reading this! In this book, everybody has a gift that they are born with. Everybody but Cosette. She’s just the storyteller’s daughter, or the tavern girl. That is, until her father, a gifted storyteller, tells a story about his daughter being able to spin straw into gold. She is then taken by the king’s men to the castle so that she can make gold to fund the war that has been going on for a long time. Of course, she is unable to do this, so who comes to her rescue? You got it! Dear old Rumpelstiltskin! And this is where the story takes a spin of its own on the classic fairy tale. I loved reading Cosette’s story because I saw so much of myself in her. When we first meet her, she is clearly a book-loving introvert. She is also a sensitive girl who feels kind of stuck in her life. She doesn’t really know what to do and is a little afraid to stand up to herself. She believes that she isn’t worthy of a better life because she has no gift. She doubts herself a lot and other people’s perception of her is fairly important. Maybe some people would see this as being an example of a weak and uninteresting character, but honestly, I have spent so much of my life feeling exactly as Cosette does. To me, she feels real. Her story is one of overcoming these things. She grows so much throughout the book and I just love that. I love a good relatable character! As for the guys of this story, we have Rumpelstiltskin, Conrad (the prince), and Aiden (a guy from Cosette’s village). At the beginning of the book, there is this sort of underlying understanding that Cosette is going to marry Aiden (this is not a spoiler btw). It just makes sense because who else would want her? Cosette struggles with her feelings for Aiden as she knows that it’s just meant to happen, and it’s just expected of her. But then, of course, she gets taken away to the castle and there she spends a lot of time with Conrad, who probably just wants her because she can supposedly spin straw into gold. His motives are pretty much hidden throughout the whole book, so we don’t really know if he actually cares for her or not. At the castle, we also meet Rumpel who is potentially some kind of old king who was trapped in a curse, but hey, he can spin straw into gold so we’re all good! I love how this book had a great emphasis on the importance of friendship and family. Throughout the whole book, Cosette is thinking about how her actions could affect her family. She cares deeply about them and doesn’t want to do anything that could harm them. Cosette does not have many friends, but she forms friendships throughout the book and it is evident that she cherishes them. While the ending felt a little rushed, this book was lovely. It made my heart so happy and I am eager to read the next one when it comes out!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Kelsen

    “..I had complied as Fate handed me twists and turns…I wouldn’t wait for Rumpel’s curse to end before I figured out how to take care of myself. I was going to fix my problems on my own.” This was definitely a book that I could not put down. As we are introduced to all the characters I found myself wanting to know more about each of them and had to keep reading to see what I’d find out. I have always been a fan of the story of Rumpelstiltskin, and I felt that this was a well done retelling. I like “..I had complied as Fate handed me twists and turns…I wouldn’t wait for Rumpel’s curse to end before I figured out how to take care of myself. I was going to fix my problems on my own.” This was definitely a book that I could not put down. As we are introduced to all the characters I found myself wanting to know more about each of them and had to keep reading to see what I’d find out. I have always been a fan of the story of Rumpelstiltskin, and I felt that this was a well done retelling. I like the author’s take on it, and felt like it was a fresh version. I would have enjoyed Rumpel to have been portrayed as a little darker, but there were other components that made up for that. Cosette was a very interesting young woman, and it took me a while to warm up to her but eventually I really admired her bravery in the face of danger and how she stands up for herself. I felt like Cosette’s character development was the highlight of the story, as we see her grow and mature and really find what she wants in life. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the love story too and one of my favorites quotes is, “He pulled back and his eyes shone like stars as he looked over me. I held his gaze as a sigh escaped my chest. This moment felt fragile, and I wanted to hold onto it for as long as I could.”. Talk about heart throb! My overall rating of this books was 5/5 stars and I based this on characters, the world building and the fact that the story held my attention from start to finish! I found myself seriously invested in the story and the fate of Rumpel and Cosette. I really enjoyed the back story of how magic came to the land, and how it presented itself in the people at present day. Truly a magical book!

  21. 5 out of 5

    iriamxx

    "It's all those books you read that paint an unreasonable expectation for love." I honestly love the cover of this bo0k, and then when I found out it was a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, I added it to my TBR immediately. It was an enjoyable and easy read. The book is set in the kingdom of Westfallen, where everyone has a gift. Cosette's father is a storyteller, her boyfriend is a singer and her own gift is...nothing. She is the first child to be born in the kingdom completely giftless. One night, "It's all those books you read that paint an unreasonable expectation for love." I honestly love the cover of this bo0k, and then when I found out it was a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, I added it to my TBR immediately. It was an enjoyable and easy read. The book is set in the kingdom of Westfallen, where everyone has a gift. Cosette's father is a storyteller, her boyfriend is a singer and her own gift is...nothing. She is the first child to be born in the kingdom completely giftless. One night, while working in the tavern, her father tells the fictitious tale of his daughter who can spin straw into gold. Upon hearing this gossip, the king sends for her: Cosette must spin a room full of straw into gold before morning or she will be killed. I loved the twist on the classic fairytale. I was surprised when Rumpel revealed his name right away, but it made me curious as to how the story would play out. The world building was well done and highlighted the sheer differences between royalty and the villagers. I liked that Cosette didn't settle for Aiden or Conrad. She knew what she deserved when it came to a relationship and Rumpel was perfect. I liked his character development and the fact that he was really sweet and loving, when he could have easily been bitter and full of resentment. In all honesty, I found Cosette's character a little dull and the idea that she had three potential suitors was far-fetched. She repeatedly mentioned that she wasn't swayed by riches, but her actions suggested different. The ending also felt slightly rushed, however there is a sequel featuring Anika, so perhaps some of my questions will be answered then. Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Annemarie

    For someone who doesn't like the story of Rumplestiltskin I read a lot of retellings. Okay, actually this is the second one (Twisted: The Girl Who Uncovered Rumplestilskin's Name being the first) and I actually liked them both. When I picked up this book, I based my choice on the cover and the title, that was all. I had no idea it was going to be a fairy tale retelling. This was a very interesting spin on the original fairy tale, and although it was very, very predictable, I enjoyed reading it e For someone who doesn't like the story of Rumplestiltskin I read a lot of retellings. Okay, actually this is the second one (Twisted: The Girl Who Uncovered Rumplestilskin's Name being the first) and I actually liked them both. When I picked up this book, I based my choice on the cover and the title, that was all. I had no idea it was going to be a fairy tale retelling. This was a very interesting spin on the original fairy tale, and although it was very, very predictable, I enjoyed reading it either way.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fifi

    Gosh, I loved this book so so much. Something about fairytales make me happy in a way that other books can’t. They feel like home, and this book was just the kind of fairytale that I like to read. I usually speed through my books so I can move onto what’s next, but I didn’t want this book to end.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    Review on blog soon!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    "Every child born showed signs of a special talent that set them apart from each other. Everyone had a piece of magic in their souls. Everyone except me." The Storyteller's Daughter is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling with some fun new twists. Everyone in Westfallen has a magical Gift. Everyone that is except for Cosette. However when her father - with the Gift of storytelling - tells of her spinning straw to gold, she becomes the most valuable person in the kingdom to the mad king. Cosette either has "Every child born showed signs of a special talent that set them apart from each other. Everyone had a piece of magic in their souls. Everyone except me." The Storyteller's Daughter is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling with some fun new twists. Everyone in Westfallen has a magical Gift. Everyone that is except for Cosette. However when her father - with the Gift of storytelling - tells of her spinning straw to gold, she becomes the most valuable person in the kingdom to the mad king. Cosette either has to make him gold, or he will kill her. Desperately, Cosette searches for some help which may come to her in the form of the mysterious being called Rumpelstiltskin. This was such a fun book! Rumpelstiltskin is a fun fairytale, and I really liked how McCombs both kept the most important elements while also creating a whole new and original story. I flew through this book in less than 24 hours, and it helped me out of the beginnings of a reading slump, so I can only recommend this book. The plot is fun with a sweet romance that you couldn't help but smile at. But what really shined was Cosette. She was the perfect main character! She was soft and gentle and clever and all of the great characteristics we are used to in a YA heroine. But she was also so rational: Why shouldn't she appreciate the fine things in life at the palace even though she is essentially a prisoner? Baths, desserts, and nice clothes are things that should be appreciated and not be sneered at like so many other protagonists sometimes do. And her reactions to things are so believable! She wants to be bask in the attention, but immediately knows that she excuses bad behaviours in order to feel appreciated. She wants to be free, but the king does not appreciate her ultimatum, and she kind of saw that coming. She's in the wrong in an argument and apologises. I could read so many books with Cosette as the main character, I really loved her. I did have some minor quibbles with the logic of the story. It had only been 100 years since magic came to the country and Rumpelstiltskin was cursed, but it kind of felt like ancient history the way the characters spoke about it. 100 years is really not a long time, and it kind of felt weird that everyone treated it as legends and mythology. Also Prince Conrad and his main flaw was so random and not really handled all that well - I almost thought that we all just forgot about it as it was brought up so seldom. But what I really didn't like was the ending. It felt very rushed. (view spoiler)[And Cosette wasn't even there for the climax - she had to be told about it all later. That felt really awkward in that she felt unnecessary to the story. (hide spoiler)] But all in all, a really fun story with a great heroine that I absolutely adored!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Permanently_Booked

    I have a fairy-tale problem. It’s official. I just cannot say no to a retelling and this one is based on Rumplestiltskin. In Westfallen everyone is born with a gift. Everyone except for the Storyteller’s daughter, Cosette. Her family owns a local tavern and Cosette spends her days working there as her mother cooks and her father tells tall tales. One day he spins a tale about Cosette, giving her the ability to turn straw into gold. McCombs has definitely created a unique twist I have not seen do I have a fairy-tale problem. It’s official. I just cannot say no to a retelling and this one is based on Rumplestiltskin. In Westfallen everyone is born with a gift. Everyone except for the Storyteller’s daughter, Cosette. Her family owns a local tavern and Cosette spends her days working there as her mother cooks and her father tells tall tales. One day he spins a tale about Cosette, giving her the ability to turn straw into gold. McCombs has definitely created a unique twist I have not seen done before with this story. The way she fashioned the character of Rumple will probably be my favorite to date. I loved his character to the point that I almost pushed Cosette to the side in my eagerness to know more about his history and curse. Cosette has her good points and her bad points but I think that is part of what makes a fun flawed MC. Some of her actions are naïve and at times I found her inner monologue a bit immature and slightly all over the place. She makes up for a lot of this with her big heart and kindness. Though this story isn’t full of action it has a well paced plot with twists and turns along the way that keep you entertained. Did I mention Rumple? Seriously…. I could read his birth record I was so stuck on him. Some areas go a little quicker than expected but the ending was beautiful and I am looking forward to more from McCombs. Thank you to Victoria McCombs and Parliament Press for the opportunity to read and review this novel for an honest and unbiased opinion. For lovers of retellings I recommend this one for your tbr.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kittin

    this was awful. it was written like the author has never had a real grown up emotion, or even a kiss. I did finish it, if only to see how shit the end was. was as shit as I thought. bizarre.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Harrington

    This book! 😍 Right from the start, McCombs took me on a fairytale I wasn't expecting. I've never read a Rumplestiltskin retelling before, but it was a masterpiece. Well-written and inspiring, every chapter I read made me want to keep writing (author problems 😂). I loved the Beauty and the Beast vibes too. And the romance! Wow, just wow! It was so wholesome my heart was squealing

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anne (The Reading Life)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received a free copy of an honest review. YES. I FINALLY READ A GOOD ONE. Okay, sorry for screaming. But as book bloggers, I think ya'll can understand my pure joy of reading an ARC that is actually a good read, right? Let me get on with it. This book is an adaptation of the famous Rumpelstiltskinfairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. For a quick refresher, it's about how a village girl's miller dad so helpfully spread a false rumor that she can turn straw into gold to the king. In desperation, the I received a free copy of an honest review. YES. I FINALLY READ A GOOD ONE. Okay, sorry for screaming. But as book bloggers, I think ya'll can understand my pure joy of reading an ARC that is actually a good read, right? Let me get on with it. This book is an adaptation of the famous Rumpelstiltskinfairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. For a quick refresher, it's about how a village girl's miller dad so helpfully spread a false rumor that she can turn straw into gold to the king. In desperation, the girl to live made a deal with Rumpelstiltskin that in exchange for him to helping her, she would give Rumpelstiltskin her future first child. The thing is this child would be the girl's child that the had with the king (because the king would wed her as a reward, which is...so not creepy but that's off-topic). Either way, she didn't want to later on, and Rumpelstiltskin said that if she can tell him his name he'll let her off the deal. And she did (yay!), and everyone lived happily ever after. Obviously, the biggest difference we can see right from the beginning was how this book had a lot more references to magic. Everyone in this kingdom has gifts except for Cosette. This flaw would become the core of her "tragic background story" element that makes her worthy of a protagonist. Either way, I personally think this book did a great job as a retelling book, because although you can see the clear inspiration behind the original fairytale, it also had its own creative elements and basis in the story enough to make it not feel like too similar or too different from the original story. Regarding the "villain" in this book, I really appreciated how there wasn't a "one explicit villain". Even up till the end of the book, I wasn't sure of who the true antagonist was. The king was too stereotypical to be the true villain (it's kind of those decoy villain vibes I was getting from him). Conrad was in this awkward situation where everyone is warning Cosette of how "possibility dangerous he is". But he is a really nice guy, and the fact that we know what "made him dangerous" from Rampel so early on made me doubt whether he was the "true antagonist" (although I never trusted him completely). And then we got Aiden. I liked Aiden in the beginning - he cared for our protagonist and was a perfectly nice guy, there was no reason to dislike him. But any sort of positive feelings I've had for him had diminished into nothing as his behavior started to mutate into something almost disgustingly toxic. I originally felt really bad for him because even if we know that Cosette wasn't interested in the Conrad (and hence wasn't rejecting Aiden for the prince's wealth and status), we can still perfectly understand why Aiden would see otherwise. But where any guilt I had for him left when he started to try and talk down to Cosette, to make her feel miserable and worthless, in a desperate attempt to get her to choose him. "'I know I can't Compete with a rich prince.' Suddenly my heart hurt from a new angle, and I took a step back. 'A simple village girl? There's nothing I'd have to offer a prince?' Aiden raised his eyebrows at me. 'Really, Cosette? What could you offer to the heir to Westfallen?'" Okay, okay, let me get this straight. As someone who had been reading this entire book from Cosette's perspective, I can tell you that from my observation, Cosette is a character who has a great balance between self-awareness and dignity. She is perfectly aware of her position as a magic-less, average village girl, but it also doesn't stop her from standing up for her own rights and dignity as a girl and as a human being. This is why for Aiden, her childhood friend, the person who should've known her better than anyone to say something like this to her is just so...ridiculously, almost disgustingly, offensive. And this is also my personal preference, but I loved it when Aiden tried to sabotage her by "exposing her truth for her own good" to the prince, it ended up completely backfiring thanks to Rampel's help. It's just a beautiful slap across his face (I absolutely loved it ahahaha). But I'm not going to lie, I hated Aiden now but he made this book more interesting for me to read. Firstly because hew as a character who transformed throughout the story and secondly, the "slap across his face" I just mentioned...ah. That satisfied me to the bone. I also really enjoyed how the romance between Rampel and Cosette was written. I loved how the "true love's kiss" was written into the story and the way it was foreshadowed. The fact that they actually kissed (worth a shot haha) before their relationship truly solidified was a really refreshing way to tell the story, especially when we kind of know that they are the official pairing. A even more interesting dynamic is created when it's heavily foreshadowed that a true love's kiss may be the solution to his curse, and yet both of them are holding back because he was dying and they were afraid of hurting each other by losing one another. They were literally afraid of falling in love while their love may best resolution to their problems...it's almost a bit of a paradox at this point. This book is not perfect though, and I feel like it's one of those books with a weak ending that may have ruined the book for me a little bit. The ending felt quite rushed and there were several logical flaws in the decisions made (and the direction the story went) that I...don't really understand or agree with. In fact, the ending of this book was what dropped my original score from 4.5/5 to 3.8/5. Either way, although I would recommend this to all YA readers because it's a good book in general, I would highly, highly recommend this book to retelling fans specifically. You may need to throw your brain out the window and forgot what the word "logic" means toward the end...but overall I really you should be able to enjoy it for the most part. Rating: 3.8/5

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Dawn

    I was recently offered an advance copy of The Storyteller's Daughter by Victoria McCombs in exchange for my honest review. This book is a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin," a story I've read a couple other adaptations of. This version was more similar to the way it was presented in ABC's Once Upon a Time than the loose interpretations I've read in the past. The book also seems more appropriate for younger audiences than some of the ones I've read in the past. It is marketed toward fans of Gail Cars I was recently offered an advance copy of The Storyteller's Daughter by Victoria McCombs in exchange for my honest review. This book is a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin," a story I've read a couple other adaptations of. This version was more similar to the way it was presented in ABC's Once Upon a Time than the loose interpretations I've read in the past. The book also seems more appropriate for younger audiences than some of the ones I've read in the past. It is marketed toward fans of Gail Carson Levine and Jessica Day George, which seems appropriate due to the simplistic storytelling style and first person narrative. There were aspects of it that bugged me as an older ready, but I think it's a great book for teenagers who love fairy tales and princesses. It will be released by Parliament Press on July 14th. The Storyteller's Daughter is set in a world where everyone has a magical power except for the main character, Cosette. The world reminded me of the anime My Hero Academia, though it never quite reached that level of creativity. Most of the powers listed were mundane such as singing, storytelling, and a hilariously bizarre ability to turn apples into peaches on Saturdays. I would have loved to see more about how these powers are incorporated into the kingdom of Westfallen, but there is little mention aside from needing the abilities to help with the war effort. However, the soldiers' abilities must not be enough for the kingdom to win the war or the king wouldn't have needed someone who can spin straw into gold so he can end it through monetary means. The only character whose magical abilities have any relevance to the story is Rumpelstiltskin, who has seemingly limitless magic despite being under a mysterious curse. No matter how hard I tried, I found that I had trouble relating to Cosette. She was supposed to sympathetic because of her insecurities over not having a superpower like the rest of the people in her kingdom, but she came off as a Mary Sue regardless. Every eligible man she met seemed to be madly in love with her, and her rejections of them seemed to come from a place of arrogant elitism. Aside from that, she had all of her problems solved for her by Rumpelstiltskin, even at times when it didn't seem feasible for him to be able to help her. I appreciate that he briefly addressed the issue of Cosette getting too spoiled after being taken from her parents' tavern to live in a palace with a maid, but that was never brought up again after Cosette decided that he was wrong. There was no point in the book where I felt as though she earned any of the things that were offered to her as a result of her father's story that she could spin straw into gold. She reminded me of Bella Swan from the Twilight books. Rumpelstiltskin, on the other hand, was more flawed and interesting than Cosette, but calling his situation a curse seemed like a gross exaggeration. Sure, he couldn't leave the castle, but in exchange, he had unlimited power at his command and an extended lifespan without any of the detriments of growing old. It seems like the author wanted to build him up as a tragic Phantom of the Opera/"Beauty and the Beast" figure, but he was often described as handsome and didn't require Cosette to look past any sort of gruff exterior to see his true self. It's no wonder he was attracted to someone as young and lovely as Cosette at his age, but making him a love interest bordered on creepy territory for me. He came off as a father figure, giving her sage advice from his long life and helping her stay out of trouble by keeping up the guise that she could spin straw into gold. Rumpelstiltskin had a difficult life and lost his first wife, but it felt more appropriate to me for him to want one last reprieve than to start over again as though his past never happened. The Storyteller's Daughter was a nice light romance that was a quick and easy read. It would be great for teenage readers who enjoy paranormal love triangles like the Twilight series. In spite of all the king's threats to kill Cosette if she didn't succeed to spin straw into gold, I never felt worried for her because Rumpelstiltskin was there to save her at every turn. If I could make a suggestion to the author, it would be to include a situation where Rumpelstiltskin was unable to help Cosette, forcing her to come up with a way out on her own merit despite not having a superpower. I also wished she had chosen a different love interest because I think she would have had more to offer to a relationship with someone her own age. Overall, The Storyteller's Daughter is a nice starter book for young readers who want to break into the fairy tale adaptation genre. Look for it at your preferred bookseller on July 14th.

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