Tanwen has a gift–when she tells stories, magical strands come from her hands and weave the colors of the tale into a beautiful glass picture…which she can then sell to a member of the audience. Tanwen’s lifelong ambition has been to become a royal storyteller and weave her stories for the king and his court, but it’s an unlikely chance for an orphan raised in a little village who doesn’t even know who her parents were. Ever since the reign of the current king, story peddlers have only been allowed to tell certain tales, and they must tell them in the approved way. Anything else is sedition or blasphemy.
But as Tanwen continues to tell stories, a strange white light begins to appear in them and the story strands take on a life of their own. Soon, the king’s soldiers are beating down her front door to take her dead or alive while at the same time a mysterious band of renegades hurries her out the back door to save her life and initiate her into their company. It’s time for Tanwen to learn just how powerful her gift really is and just why the king wants to suppress it….
This young adult novel has a beautiful cover and an interesting premise. It illustrates how story and all forms of art must reflect truth and shows how disaster will follow for the individual and society if we try to suppress that truth. The story had overtly Christian themes with the priests of a goddess-based religion trying to suppress knowledge of the real Creator. The dialogue was awkwardly written in many places, and Tanwen as narrator was at points annoying and immature. Parts of the world building were unique, but some of the phrases and descriptive language pulled me right out of that world and back into the twenty-first century. All in all, The Story Peddler is a credible start to a fantasy trilogy that many young people will enjoy.