Author: Ann Dávila Cardinal
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Oct. 4, 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller
Source: Sourcebooks Landmark
Book Rating: 9/10
From International Latino Book Award-winning author Ann Dávila Cardinal comes a gorgeously written family saga about a Puerto Rican teenager who finds herself gifted (or cursed?) with a strange ability.
There was always an old woman dying in the back room of her family’s house when Isla was a child…
Isla Larsen Sanchez’s life begins to unravel when her father passes away. Instead of being comforted at home in New Jersey, her mother starts leaving her in Puerto Rico with her grandmother and great-aunt each summer like a piece of forgotten luggage.
When Isla turns eighteen, her grandmother, a great storyteller, dies. It is then that Isla discovers she has a gift passed down through her family’s cuentistas. The tales of dead family storytellers are brought back to life, replaying themselves over and over in front of her.
At first, Isla is enchanted by this connection to the Sanchez cuentistas. But when Isla has a vision of an old murder mystery, she realizes that if she can’t solve it to make the loop end, these seemingly harmless stories could cost Isla her life.
Nostalgic, memorable, and intriguing!
The Storyteller’s Death is a captivating, mysterious tale that takes you into the life of Isla Larsen Sanchez, a young eight-year-old girl who, after being sent by her mother to Puerto Rico for the summer while her father is terminally ill, continues to happily spend every summer there with her extended family until things take a little turn when at eighteen she begins to have visions of events that have happened to her deceased ancestors in the past, and when those stories begin to turn violent long-buried family secrets that some would prefer to stay hidden will finally need to be unearthed and confronted.
The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are multilayered, conflicted, and curious. And the plot is a compelling blend of life, loss, love, family, friendship, secrets, surprises, heartbreak, culture, community, magical realism, and resentments.
Overall, The Storyteller’s Death is a hopeful, immersive, multi-generational saga by Dávila Cardinal that reminds us that when it comes to family life is a combination of all the messy, challenging, heartbreaking, complicated moments, as well as all the lovely, wonderful, touching times that happen in-between.
This book is available now.
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Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.