The Storyteller – Antonia Michaelis

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 will never be blue again.”
Lurking mysteriously by the bike racks, with his black woollen hat and the plugs of an old Walkman in his ears, she notices him and she is intrigued. Anna shouldn’t be intrigued by Tannatek, Gitta tells her so, but she can’t help it, there’s just something about him. When Tannatek becomes Abel and she gets to know more about him it turns out he is more than just the school drug dealer. Abel is caring for his six year old sister, Micha, since their mother has disappeared, and Anna becomes a character in the story Abel is weaving to his sister. A story which features a little orphan queen with a diamond heart is trying to reach a mainland, away from a scary black ship with horrible people on it, a story that mirrors reality.
But when reality starts to mirror the story, and people are found dead, Anna starts to worry, what is going on and will she be the next in the story to go? Has Abel got something to do with the murders or is it just a coincidence?

When I saw the synopsis of The Storyteller I was so intrigued, I knew I had to read it and I had to emerge myself entirely. So when I sat down to read it I planned on not being able to put it back down. It’s a good job I planned this because let’s face it, if I’d have picked it up with only a few minutes spare I would have been running late. The Storyteller grabs you and doesn’t want to let go until the very end.
Anna lives in her own little bubble, she has her friends and she is oblivious to a lot of life that goes on around her. She doesn’t even understand why Abel’s nickname at school is “The Polish Peddler” until her best friend tells her. She decides she needs to see more perspective and that I believe is where Abel comes in. I didn’t much like Anna in the first 100 pages or so, I thought she was too naïve and too wrapped up in her own little world to even be able to understand Abel’s but she grew on me a lot and was a much more stronger character than I thought she was going to be.
Abel’s life is messed up, his mum was a waste of space when she was around and now she’s disappeared, life is just crazy. He balances school with looking after Micha and working nights as well as drug pushing. He does it all because he loves Micha and wants her to have a better life than he has. His true talent lies in story weaving though and his words are beautiful and magical. I loved every second that Abel was on the page, he seemed real and 3D and raw, oh so raw. He loved Micha and to be totally honest, I did too, there is not a person on the planet who could not love that little girl!
One of the things that made The Storyteller an amazing book for me was the writing. I’d always heard of translations coming across wrong or being badly written because they can never capture the right feel as the original but The Storyteller was amazing in English and I kept forgetting that it was even translated. The writing was so beautiful for me that I ended up reading the book really slowly because I had to take in every little detail, I needed to.
The other aspect I loved was the story inside the story. The tale that Abel tells to Micha about the little orphan queen was beautiful and added an element of fantasy to the overall story. It felt like a true fairy-tale and one that I would love the have thought of myself. I loved the boats name in the story too and the way they had to leave the boat behind was so symbolic.
The Storyteller has so many great elements, it’s full of amazing characters, beautiful writing and an amazing storyline, however it’s not the easiest of books. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under 16 unless they were mature for their age and understanding of the world. The Storyteller features harsh realities, murder and sexual encounters which are really not something that you would want to encounter yourself. It is also a little hard to get into but the second half of the book far outweighed the first so I would keep with it if you start to struggle in any way!
Do not let these negatives get to you though and if you love your love stories and aren’t scared to face the realities of less fortunate lives then The Storyteller is for you. It truly is an amazing yet sad, sad tale. The ending totally crushed me, I mean I saw it coming but in a way that I knew what was going to happen but it was still just incredible and I think in my head I didn’t want to believe where the story was going.
The Storyteller is due for release by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, on February 1st 2012. My copy was sent for review from the publishers, this has had no reflect on my review but please note that any quotes have been taken from an ARC copy and may differ from final edition. 


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