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Lisa T. Cresswell lives in the wilds of Idaho where few souls dare to tread, with her family and a collection of critters that includes way too many llamas. In her day job, she's an archaeologist; by night, she writes fanciful stories for children and young adults. Come visit the blog www.lisatcresswell.blogspot.com
on Feb. 16, 2014 :
Exciting and magical.
Storyteller is the first book of the Storyteller series. The hero is Lily Lightfoot, a middleschooler with a not-so-secret ability to tell stories that come true. Rather than getting her ahead and making her well-liked, the disasterous outcomes of some of her stories have made her somewhat of a social outcast, leaving her with only one friend, Peter. The story opens with Lily letting her rivalry with former friend, Heather, get the best of her and retaliating with one of her stories.
Now, this plot would be pretty good if this were a story about Lily trying to get a handle on her ability and perhaps earning the peer friendships that it has cost her, but this story is much more than that. When Lily finds a strange book in an abandoned house, she begins to suspect there's more to her history than her Gran is telling her. Soon, she, Peter and Heather find themselves caught up in a struggle for survival against a shapeshifting monster, an evil king, and his minions.
This story blew me away. As a middle grade story, it's a success with plenty of social strife and a little innocent romance. But what really gets me is the world building, the fantasy and the adventure. Plus, there is an element of danger that soon builds into quite a gripping story, nothing at all what I expected in the early chapters. The writing is smooth and easy to read without being simplistic. The plot development is solid, and I really enjoy the unique way Lily learns about her mother.
The character development is also noteworthy. Each person, friend or foe, is unique and believable. The good guys aren't perfect and the bad guys are scary, but not invincible.
Overall I loved this story because it's exciting and reminds me of The Neverending Story. It's one I know I'll read again and again. I recommend this to young and old, anyone who loves fantasy and modern fairy tales.
I was lucky enough to win all three books in this series in a contest.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Oct. 01, 2011 :
A fun middle-grade book. This is the story of a girl’s attempt to find her mother and discover who she truly is. This is always a terrific theme for this age group, but Cresswell takes it one step further and put it into a wonderful world where, in an alternate universe connected to ours, live fairies, elves and all sorts of magical creatures, both wonderful and nasty. Characters are almost always more than they appear to be and relationships are intricate with a twist that makes the whole story interesting.
Although the pacing is a little slow, I kept coming back to read more, wanting to know what happens to the heroine, Lily. The story of her mother, Eleanor, which Lily reads about in a books she finds, is even more compelling than Lily’s own story. Cresswell has a few problems with point of view (giving odd points of view here and there for a paragraph at a time), it wasn’t a big enough problem to jolt me out of the story completely. Less savvy readers may not even notice.
This is definitely a book into which any kid, and many adults, would be happy to disappear.
By guest reviewer Meredith Bond
(reviewed long after purchase)