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"Storybound" by Emily McKay - Review

by Mary Knutson 2 years ago in literature

Why it's your next great read...

Book review Besides having brilliant world-building and phenomenal characters, McKay wrote a fantastic story that challenges the idea of destiny and builds unique relationships. I absolutely loved this book! It made me laugh more times than I could count, it pulled me into the world and didn’t let me go. The main character was fierce and formidable while still being realistic and relatable. One of the biggest things that annoys me in fiction is secondhand embarrassment and while the main character may have done embarrassing things, I never felt the need to walk away and take a moment to process, the story moved on and didn’t dwell on the situation.

I was also in awe of the way McKay wrote about the characters’ past traumas and made them haunting while not being overwhelming for readers. It’s a fine line to walk and I think she did it brilliantly.

Something that also really struck me was the unparalleled worldbuilding that had to go into this book. She built the world of her main character, then of the side characters, then built a way for them to cross between the two worlds. She created a stellar novel about a world within a book within a world within a book. Her world-building techniques were impressive without being distracting from the story. The only times I got lost were when some new creature arose in the fantasy realm, but it was quickly explained and she moved on with the plot. She didn’t create info dumps or vacuums but still managed to keep readers up to speed on everything happening in the new realm.

Another thing I see a lot when explaining a world to readers is making the character unfamiliar with the world and explaining everything to both the main character and the reader, all at the same time. However, McKay did something interesting by making Edie familiar with a world she had never been to, she had only ever read about it. However, by reading about it she had an outside perspective on things in the story, often giving insights that may never have occurred to the other character.

The creatures she created were like nothing I had ever seen before. Whether it was the Kellas cats (that look suspiciously like my cat and freaked me out for a minute) or the unique twist on hellhounds, something new was always showing up and causing the main characters trouble.

A common trick writers use to keep the story interesting is asking themselves, “What can possibly go wrong?” then make it happen. In the novel, nothing the characters intended ever went according to plan and it was constantly upping the stakes and increasing tension in the story. McKay kept a perfect balance of tension without snapping it too early or letting it slack off and losing reader interest. I couldn’t put the book down for two days.

The plot was interesting and didn’t end where I expected it to, which can be difficult to do since I’m a writer and I make it my job to try to figure out what’s going to happen or how I would write it. I loved where the story took me and the subplots always had something more to offer and were sometimes so subtle I didn’t realize they were there. This is definitely one of those books someone could read, reread, and re-reread and always find something new. I absolutely cannot wait until my next read-through of it to see what else it has to offer.

You all know I’m honest about the books I read and if you are interested in Fantasy, Romance, Plot twists, and Humor, this is absolutely the book for you! I cannot recommend it enough! It was a fantastic escape from reality that kept me entranced for two days straight. If you have even the slightest inkling that you may be interested in it, I would highly recommend that you go check it out. This book absolutely comes with my recommendation.

literature

Mary Knutson

Read next: Down Goes the Duke

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