The Apprentice Storyteller by Astrid V.J. #review #fantasy #fiction #Alchemist #spaceopera #fiction


The Alchemist meets fantasy with a splash of space opera. Viola Alerion, a renowned storyteller in the Haldrian Empire, wants to be left in peace. For years, she’s been hounded by her past, never to find a moment’s rest. Then she meets a boy who wants to become her apprentice. He refuses to take no for an answer, and she reluctantly yields, even though she knows taking him with her could endanger his life. As their journey progresses, Viola begins to understand she’s not the only teacher in the equation. The nameless boy also has something to teach, but Viola makes for a reluctant student.

Can she give way to possibility and embrace a future in alignment with what she’s always wanted? Can she find the courage to embrace the principles that will transform her life? Can she overcome her circumstances and face her past? Or will she keep on running with nowhere to hide?

And what of the boy who guards untold secrets and exhibits mysterious powers that defy belief?

The e-book of The Apprentice Storyteller also includes exclusive access to “Viola’s Guide to Achieving the Impossible”. This workbook to help guide you through the first steps towards achieving your own dream is based on key transformational principles from the DreamBuilder™ Course and is not intended for publication. The workbook is only accessible through The Apprentice Storyteller e-book. The link to Viola’s Guide to Achieving the Impossible is embedded in a concealed place. This is a treasure hunt. 

About Astrid V.J.

Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Author, Astrid V.J. was born in South Africa. She is a trained social anthropologist and certified transformational life coach. She currently resides in Sweden with her husband and their two children. In early childhood, she showed an interest in reading and languages—interests which her family encouraged. Astrid started writing her first novel at age 12 and now writes fantasy in a variety of genres, exploring her passion for cultures and languages. When she isn’t writing, Astrid likes to read, take walks in nature, play silly games with her children, do embroidery, and play music.

Astrid writes transformation fiction: incorporating transformation principles in novels, rather than writing another self-help book. She loves exploring the human capacity for transformation and potential to achieve success in the face of adversity. Astrid is interested in minority group questions, considerations on social standards of beauty and the negative consequences these have, and would like to make the fantasy genre accessible to people of non-white, non-Christian backgrounds. Astrid feels the fantasy genre has become too restrictive with limited representations of race, ethnicity and culture. She seeks to explore other paths on this writing journey, incorporating her background in anthropology and psychology to create engaging experiences, which also provide food for thought on the diverse topics she finds most important. These include: racism, minority rights, cultural diversity, culture change, intolerance, humanity’s environmental impact, the representation of people on the autism spectrum in among the general populace, the human capacity for transformation, and much more.

My review

The Apprentice Storyteller by Astrid V.J.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is book 1 in the Wishmaster series.

Such a beautifully written almost poetic tale. The strengths lie in the perfect placement and beauty of words, the thoughts (philosophical, considered,) and the growing relationship between the Storyteller Viola and her young apprentice who has supernatural powers.

Viola has been a loner on the run for twenty eight years and her mysterious background is hidden until much later in the book. Now, in mid life she longs to settle down and live a simple life: “she dreams of a life living in harmony with her purpose as a storyteller, but where she can also stay in one place. She sees herself sitting in a window, her fingers flying over the keys as she records new tales onto a device.”

Her apprentice is just thirteen and spiritually wise for his years, but there is a vulnerability about him too. In some ways, roles are reversed as he becomes a teacher to the older storyteller. In time, the two, (who surprisingly have much in common,) learn to trust, teach, appreciate and value each other.

The first half of the tale is perhaps a little slow, giving details of both the characters but speeds up towards the end with more ‘action,’ and a magical portal!

Overall, I would say this is not so much for readers who like action packed stories. This is more for those who love the wonder, magic and beauty of storytelling, secrets, and thoughtful reflections of life. And for those who appreciate a beguiling story which is focused on two main characters with less emphasis on secondary characters.

The Apprentice Storyteller also has a planetary futuristic aspect, with spacecrafts, and different lands. Jo, the apprentice, comes from his home planet Mshrali. There are deep discussions about the damage humans do to the world, to the peoples, “We have marginalised, killed and driven to extinction all the other beings such as elves, kobolds, and trolls,” and the rainforests: “the serpent in the forest,” which is referred to as “a levianthan.”

I am sure there are many more revelations to follow. A beguiling and interesting start to the series. I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended.

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My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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