Sunday 4 March 2012

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

Pages - 402
Published by Amulet, an imprint of ABRAMs, in February 2012.

There is blood everywhere. On his hands, on her hands, on his shirt, on his face, on the tiles, on the small round carpet. The carpet used to be blue; it never will be blue again.
The blood is red. He is kneeling in it. He hadn't realize it was so bright...big, burst droplets, the colour of poppies. They are beautiful, as beautiful as a spring day in a sunny meadow...But the tiles are cold and white as snow, and it is winter. 

Goodreads Summary
Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she 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 fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father 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 has fallen for a murderer. Has she? 
Oh this book is full of surprises! And not nice ones at that. This book makes you sit up and think. It rips out your heart strings and ties them in knots. It is just so heartbreaking and poignant, it stays with you long after you finish reading it.

The book began at rather a slow pace, but I really didn't mind that, because it allowed me to get to know Anna and Abel. I felt the characters were so well written, that I could picture them amongst people I know. It is definitely a case of good and bad uniting. Anna is the good girl; she works hard at school, never gets in trouble, still finding it hard to leave the last remnants of childhood alone. Whilst Abel is the bad boy; the drug peddler, who lives under difficult circumstances. Anna can only see the good in him; how he will do anything to keep his sister safe. You cannot help but feel some of Anna's attraction to him, as she paints such a beautiful picture of the Abel she sees at first. 

I loved the story that Abel tells his sister and Anna. Based on the people in his life, he invents a magical, yet dangerous adventure which takes them on a journey very similar to the one they are experiencing in reality. You cannot help but want to protect  Micha too; she is so innocent yet surrounded by evil, which Abel works so hard to protect her from.

The red herrings in this book were remarkably well written. By the time I reached the last fifty pages of this book, I was stunned by the progression of the story. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I wanted to show 'NOOOO!!' and throw the book. It was just such a shocking and unexpected ending. 

This book is a translation and I do think the translator Miriam Debbage needs a little shout out too. On reading this book it didn't feel like a translation at all, I felt that it flowed beautifully. 

This book swept me along in a wave of emotions and left me a little sad at the end, but this book reflects reality and sometimes we don't always get what we want in life. This book shows how the things that don't kill us make us stronger. Anna experiences a rather harsh coming of age, but I felt it definitely made her a stronger person. 


  1. I've heard this being mentioned on Twitter a couple of times, and it sounds very intriguing! Thanks for the fab review, Viv, I'll have to check this out!

  2. A great review! I'll have to keep my eye out for this book as it sounds like an excellent read, thanks :)

  3. Awesome review Viv. I agree with everything you've said, I knew you'd love this one! :D

  4. Rips out your heart strings and ties them in knots. It is just so heartbreaking and poignant, it stays with you long after you finish reading it....... I can't think of a better recommendation, this sounds like a great read.

  5. It's so refreshing when a red herring is totally surprising. So many books are too predictable. Sounds like a good read.


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.