Read The Storyteller by Aaron Starmer Online


The extraordinary conclusion to the critically acclaimed Riverman trilogy.Keri Cleary is worried about her brother, Alistair. As the one witness to a shooting, he has been shocked into near silence. But Keri--and everyone else--needs to know the answers to three questions: Who shot Kyle Dwyer? Where is Charlie Dwyer? What does this all have to do with the disappearance ofThe extraordinary conclusion to the critically acclaimed Riverman trilogy.Keri Cleary is worried about her brother, Alistair. As the one witness to a shooting, he has been shocked into near silence. But Keri--and everyone else--needs to know the answers to three questions: Who shot Kyle Dwyer? Where is Charlie Dwyer? What does this all have to do with the disappearance of Fiona Loomis?Perhaps the answers lie in stories. As Alistair makes strange confessions to his sister, Keri becomes inspired. She tells stories, tales that may reveal hidden truths, fiction that may cause real things to happen. In the concluding volume of the Riverman Trilogy, readers are asked to consider the source of inspiration, the borders of reality, and the power of storytelling....

Title : The Storyteller
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374363130
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Storyteller Reviews

  • Jonathan
    2019-05-19 23:54

    As a child, I really loved book series: at my peak, I think I was following 10 or 11 at once. What I learned is that a series is hard to finish--authors feel the temptation to wrap everything up in a series of gaudy bows that give the fans everything they were hoping for, or they panic under the pressure and do something totally goofy. But I trusted Aaron Starmer--he had amazed and enchanted me with the previous two books, so I had no doubts he would wrap up this trilogy beautifully.And he did! This book switches perspectives, which might seem like a risky move (and certainly has failed in the hands of other authors, notably Stephenie Meyer and Veronica Roth), but it works (duh). Now, we're reading Stella, the diary that Alistair's older sister Keri keeps. There are two levels to this that make such a narrative switch so engaging--the first is that Keri's voice is spot-on. She's a teenage girl, and she's perceptive and aware. She's not vapid, but is self-interested (I wanted to say self-obsessed, but that word seems too strong and negative): for instance, though there are tons of crazy things happening with Alistair, Keri still finds time to talk about her boyfriend woes and friendship struggles, just like any teenager would. I was incredibly satisfied by this complex, nuanced depiction of a teenage girl. Bravo.The second reason this narrative switch is so interesting is how it affects our relationship with Alistair. The Riverman was told in first-person; The Whisper was told in third-person, but it was a close third, still focused through Alistair's perspective. The Storyteller is first-person again, but we're in someone else's mind, someone who doesn't and cannot know the intricacies and intimacies of Alistair's thoughts. In essence, as the series goes on, we become more and more removed from Alistair, who changes and separates from the identity we establish in book one. As Alistair loses his identity, we lose touch with Alistair. It's a brilliant device with a wonderful execution.Speaking of identity, it's one of the things this novel--this series--explores so well. In this final volume, one of the questions at the heart of the identity theme is "who am I when I am special?" Starmer explores this idea in two parallel tales: the Alistair/Keri story, of course, but also through the tale of a magical, glowing wombat. It's like the phrase "it's lonely at the top," except that these aren't stories of success separating people, but inherent being (i.e., who they are) that sets them apart. It was true of Fiona in the first book, who is lonely and called to Aquavania, and it's true of Alistair in subsequent books, first because he is sucked into Aquavania and becomes the Riverman and later because he is the boy involved in a mysterious shooting and disappearance who doesn't behave like he used to. How does being special, set apart in some way, alter the person you are? In Keri's case, the question might even be "how does living adjacent to special change you?"Starmer also masterfully crafts a razor-sharp balance between melancholy and wonder in this story--for starters, Alistair is transformed into a character entrenched in sadness, and the author smartly employs the use of the startingly-wise-child trope (as we, the readers, know that Alistair is actually many, many years older inside than he is outside) to create this contradictory, uncanny, fascinating character of a young boy who is world-weary. The story never tips into uncomfortably depressing, which is a feat in itself, but Alistair definitely reminds us that the world isn't a bright, shiny, beautiful place, even for children. But there is wonder, too: perhaps it's Keri's unwillingness to accept Alistair's bleak outlook, for perhaps it's the idea that life goes on, or maybe it's that Alistair doesn't give up, even in the face of his despair.This balancing act happens in Keri's diary, too. Sure, we get entries about the things going on in her life, but it's not all we get out of Stella. There are these weird, interesting short stories, too, magical realism oddities that are at once wondrous--a story about a couple who builds a child out of peppermint, or the aforementioned glowing wombat--and bleak, full of surprising emotional turns (I won't spoil you) that effectively mirror the constant battle the Cleary family faces in trying to adjust to their new normal. In The Whisper, I said that the interwoven stories were reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. If that's true, then the stories in this third volume are like the work of Angela Carter: brutal and sad and true, capable of tearing your heart out and taunting you with the still-beating mass of muscle. I said the one word that described The Riverman was "creepy." For The Whisper, it was "lonely." For The Storyteller, it's "marvelous," in the etymological sense--full of marvels, both joyful and sad.So what's the final product? A novel that never, even for a second, stops demonstrating its exacting wit, its Technicolor vivacity, and its careful, well-planned narrative structures. A novel that soaks you in its briny lifeblood, then wrings you out delicately but without mercy. A series that is strange, sad, surreal, and satisfying. A must-not-miss. A victory.My rating: 5/5

  • Suad Shamma
    2019-04-24 21:53

    So, the Riverman is written in first person, the Whisper is written in third person - but still from Alistair's perspective - and then there's the Storyteller, written from the Storyteller's perspective, in first person. The Storyteller being Alistairs teenage, but older, sister, Keri.One book at a time, Aaron Starmer manages to completely distance us from Alistair, to the point where we remain completely on the outside, as we are forced to go through his sister's journey and see things from her perspective, completely oblivious to what her brother had experienced or Aquavania's existence. This is interesting...but also, strange. Interesting, because it gives us, readers, the upper hand. We know things Alistair's family don't know. We know what's wrong with him, we know why he's different, but they don't. It's strange because, we are reading things from his sister's perspective as she writes in her diary, which takes us on tangents as she talks about school and friends and her boyfriend. Things we really don't care about, as readers, because we just want to get on with the story. Then there are Keri's short stories, stories that sound weirdly familiar. Almost like she's been to Aquavania. It makes no sense, but these stories just come to her and she writes them down. I enjoyed this book because it took us out of Aquavania and back into the real world. We finally know what's happened to Charlie and Kyle, Fiona is still missing, and no one knows what's going on. However, a lot of questions go unanswered. A lot of things go unexplained. Starmer is brilliant, the writing is good, but I feel like we've gone so far off topic.

  • Danielle
    2019-05-01 20:59

    My reaction after finishing this book:This was SUCH a terrible ending to this trilogy! I absolutely loved The Riverman and The Whisper, so I was eager to find out how it would all end. You'd think with how The Whisper left off, and this being the final book, that it would be most crucial here to have the story told from Alistair's perspective, that it would make the most sense. But no, the final book is told from Alistair's sister, Keri's, perspective, which is pretty much useless to us because she knows squat about Aquavania, and so it feels like we're only getting one side of the story from someone who isn't really knowledgeable. Even when Alistair attempts to explain things to her (which he does a terrible job of, and it just comes across as very vague and ambiguous), we're still not given access to Alistair's thoughts to give us a clearer idea of what's going on in Aquavania or what his experiences are like as the new Riverman. For example, throughout the book I kept asking, "So, does this mean that Alistair's evil now or..? Is he to be trusted?" because you really don't know what's happened after Alistair became the Riverman and it's not explained clearly, between Alistair being vague as hell and Keri being like, "Wow, my brother sure is acting weird," through like 80% of the book -__-Because Keri is narrating the book, we're forced to suffer and listen to her side of everything, which unfortunately means that a vast chunk of the book is devoted to things that I couldn't have given a flying eff about, like Keri having a boyfriend who she sort of/not really likes, but she decides she needs a boyfriend anyhow. LIKE, I LITERALLY DO NOT CARE ABOUT STUPID GLEN, CAN YOU PLEASE GET BACK TO THE REAL STORY, PLEASE? In comparison to what's going on in Aquavania, everything else just seems trivial. Oh, and Keri is also narrating the story through her diary, which he has named Stella and which only makes the writing even more intolerable and juvenile-sounding. In between telling about her life, her brother, and everything else that's going on, Keri also has gotten into writing stories. This is nice, I guess, but I honestly didn't really care. I felt like these stories didn't really contribute much, if anything, and were just a waste of time to me. Or maybe I was already impatient with the story by this point. Who knows? Regardless, I ended up just skipping over these parts, which fortunately made getting through this book a lot quicker.I was extremely dissatisfied with the ending. I still don't feel like there was really a great explanation given for how Fiona found her way back, for how Aquavania was saved..? Maybe..? I'll be honest, I still don't really know what the eff happened. Alistair apparently "absorbed them" and somehow everything turned out okay, but again, what the hell does that even mean? Like I said, everything was explained in such a vague way. It would've been extremely helpful for this story to have been told through Alistair's perspective. I don't know what the hell the author was thinking by having it told from Keri's perspective, a character who, let's be honest, we don't really care about at all and who was never a major part of this trilogy. So I felt like I didn't get the ending or the closure that I needed, and I really did just want to throw the book out of frustration and out of feeling like I just got jipped from a trilogy that I was really beginning to love and that made me hopeful for a good ending.

  • Dan
    2019-04-27 19:51

    Aaron Starmer's The Riverman Trilogy is without a doubt one of the finest crafted series I've read in some time. The Storyteller may have been my favorite of the series. How everything comes together left me totally satisfied. I couldn't put this one down, and I highly recommend the entire series.

  • Kristoffer Lois Tantano
    2019-05-06 00:59

    Why is a book with 12 and 14-year old protagonists so dark? The Storyteller is the conclusion of The Riverman Trilogy, the mind-bending stories that encapsulate Aquavania and the fates of those submerged within its waters. This third book was once again told in first person, however it is coming from a new voice. Kerrigan Cleary is Alistair's older sister and has pretty much done nothing big on the previous two books. That was why my reaction when I first found that this was to be written in Keri's POV was... "Why?"As I read through, I (maybe) understood why Starmer chose to have this book told in a new view. As I have reached this far in the trilogy, I know by now that this series tells not just a single story; it provides stories within stories and how these stories interweave one another. At the same time, it tells the story of our characters, how The Riverman was Fiona's story told by Alistair, and how pretty much it was also Charlie's in the later parts. How we were made to believe that The Whisper would be about Fiona and Charlie, but later on it was also about Aquavania and largely, about Alistair after all. Now, we are provided by Keri's story, and how she perceives other stories through her eyes, how she sees her best friend, how she tries to have a boyfriend to know what it would feel like, how she copes with her brother that straight out changed overnight, how she deals with the frustrations her parents could bring, and how she understands the strange disappearances of children she either knows or not. This all is told through a diary she named Stella, and crumpled up in all her daily entries we get to be in the mind of an emotionally confused fourteen year-old girl. This here is written so well it is as if Starmer has become, well... a teenage girl. But Keri is more than that, she writes stories of her own. Stories she believes comes from her imaginations, and these stories (like the ones on the previous books) always make me think. Starmer, like Keri, is a great storyteller, that I'm sure. From here on, I will tell why I didn't give The Storyteller 5 Stars:1. The style of writing is unlikely. Yes, the diary-like approach makes the dark tales funny and personal, but since this is from a diary, it can't be helped that there are some things that are better off not mentioned at all (eg. her rants about her best friend and her boyfriend). Since the final book approaches the mysteries to be solved, it would've been better if the story focused on that more.2. This book feels detached from the previous two. Aside from the different approach on writing, this book really takes you far from our original characters (Alistair, Charlie, Fiona). It focuses instead on how Keri perceives things. And this doesn't really explain much at all. Her personal life is different from that on how her brother and Charlie and Fiona were in Aquavania. The first two books, despite being mysterious and confusing at times, followed a clear timeline and set a few goals. These goals are expected to be encountered for this final book, yet it was seen from a different angle. It's like the readers are left peeking through their windows instead of actually being at the event outside. This books was very different that I can't help but feel this could be an extra, something like a 2.5 book in the series, something that could be titled "Aquavania and Other Stories".3. Everything is vague. This was supposed to be the conclusion, and what I expected was that I'd be diving deeper into the waters of Aquavania. But then Keri has little to nothing knowledge about Aquavania at all, and it frustrates me how I only get as little answers as her from Alistair. Most of the time, the readers could get "Alistair has become really strange but what is he really doing?" All the answers I hope to get would only come from Alistair's vague statements and strange actions. We don't fully see Alistair become the Riverman, which is something I really hoped for after I read The Whisper. We don't know what really goes on as he does his job because we can't get into his mind. Instead, we have stories of dead birds and joggers, of toy guns and aliens, of clouds and opposite days, of princesses and potions, of wombats and bush babies. All of these Starmer tries to relate to the world of Aquavania. It is done so brilliantly well that it becomes confusing at some point, I don't know if children who read this can really understand all of it. But this is what I like about Starmer also, because he does not underestimate the reader. He pushes them to think, to turn words into jigsaw puzzles and let them build a picture with the pieces he provided. And even with all these, I could barely get an answer about Alistair and his job. What we get instead is a story of Aquavania's own: how it began and, with Alistair, maybe how it will end. Starmer makes it so that Keri could have been someone with a deep connection to Aquavania, but whatever the connection is may be to astounding to be believed.4. What of Alistair? This may have been mentioned before. But even if Alistair was there, he seemed like a second character who is off to do the most strange things yet we are deprived of that. I didn't even know what really happened. The transitions of his personality happened so abruptly and the way he says he'd solve the problems looked promising, but what happened, really? How'd he do it, really? Did he do it, really? 5. The lack of Charlie. Though Charlie is difficult, and could even be considered the antagonist, I can't help but think he is one of the best characters in this series. There's just so much in him that we didn't see coming. I wanted more of him, despite maybe Starmer meaning to end his story in the previous book. I loved Charlie, but like Alistair, I didn't get to see much of him. In fact, whatever happened to Charlie, actually? This just seemed so unfair to him because Charlie felt like a forgotten entity in this. The writing is marvelous, as usual, but as a conclusion I couldn't quite call it one. This having told by someone who hasn't done much in the previous two books makes me wish it wasn't the end yet. But then again, Keri says she'd write more stories, and how she could always leave stories with no endings. It makes me want to roll on my bed until I fall to the floor. Starmer had introduced some characters but barely had any time to elaborate them all. He resurrected old ones (like how we go back to the very beginning of The Riverman, when Alistair saw death for the first time), but they had not given me enough answers to say if they were relevant at all. I would like to read this entire trilogy again someday, maybe after I've grown smarter and when I'd understand vagueness more. I'm sure there were a lot of gems Starmer hid in this last book. Maybe I have not been thinking more to see all of them. Maybe I need to believe more to understand. Maybe I need to be an adult with a kid's heart, or a kid with the mind of an adult. This is what these books could do to you.Nevertheless, a huge clap for Starmer. He has made a wonderful series that pushes you to the edge of imagination.

  • Mbobrosky
    2019-04-28 03:40

    Imagine a 62 year old man just finishing The Storyteller and unable to control his tears. The ending was satisfying, not particularly sad, why the tears?First, a brilliantly written trilogy was coming to an end. Words, carefully chosen, provided me with many quotes worth saving. The last one I saved; "Because whether inspiration comes from an actual place or not doesn't matter if you don't choose to do something with it. And if you do choose to do something with it, the stories you create don't matter unless they make ripples in the world." Second, a trilogy that was brilliantly conceived was coming to an end. It was a story so imaginative, so other worldly, I was constantly in amazement that a singular person brought this story from his mind to paper. Not for one moment did I have any idea where this story was going, or how it would conclude. And if I was asked what the trilogy was about? Well its about storytelling, about imagination, but this passage really sums up its deeper meaning;"...But when you're a kid, It's different. You lose something and then there's this hole inside of you and you want to fill that hole, but you don't have the experience or wisdom to do it. So you ask for answers. From the air, from the clouds, from the stars, from anyone who might listen. And when voices finally respond and promise that there's a place where you can get what you want, where your wishes can come true, then you go. You go to that magical place and you stay and you create and you try to heal. You fill that hole. Which can be brave. Which is important. But while you're there, you realize that what you want and what you need are two different things. And that's when you're done with the place, and you leave for good. But leaving for good means you forget the place even existed at all."Third, I had the satisfaction of the end of a trilogy that answers some questions but leaves others for me to fill in, that leaves characters in a satisfactory place, but not necessarily ideal, and that left me exhausted because of the mental exercise such a convoluted plot put me through.Thank you Aaron Starmer for writing a trilogy for the reader, that exercises the reader, that doesn't pander to convention or what is currently in vogue and for understanding the YA/middle audience and knowing how smart they really are.

  • Justice
    2019-05-17 03:52

    2.5 rounded up. I can't fit the pieces together that well. I liked the stories interspersed, but in the end, it feels like they were less important. I liked Keri as the narrator, but I didn't get enough of Alistair. It's been his story.------------------------------------------------------------------------------This would have worked better as the second book, with the third book a jump backwards in time explaining what happened to Alistair. That'd give a better segway from realism to full on fantasy (although I liked the switch between books one and two, though not necessarily two and three. It felt like a step backwards in the world's development. Although, maybe it was intentional? Real world to fantasy to real world? But this one was a little too crazy to be real world, I think). I really, really like Keri, both as a character and a narrator.I'm a little confused about the wombat, Luna. (view spoiler)[ so that story basically really happened? Is this another jab at Christianity, like The Only Ones? If so, it's not well done. And is he really saying the universe has been restarted? What's so great about the rest of the series is how realistic this feels. That was not realistic feeling. Alternatively, Luna's story would be Keri yelling at the universe, in which case, what's aquavania? I could buy it being a fake place, but what would that make the second book?(hide spoiler)]Thinking more about it, I really wish this was the second book. Then The Whisper would just have a couple more chapters showing the ending of this book from Alistair POV.Also I wish Kyle was in it more. And Charlie, who's a terrifying villain because he's so darn REAL.

  • Aslee
    2019-05-11 23:06


  • Kerri
    2019-05-21 19:40

    Ach, no! IT CAN'T BE OVER.

  • Hannah
    2019-05-20 23:46

    I have to admit, I was skeptical about Keri taking over as narrator of this book. I felt like she'd been out of things for so long that she couldn't possibly be a narrator I'd care about... but I think it was her stories that really reeled me in, especially with the way that they gave so many different views about what Aquavania was, and how the Whisper/Riverman/etc began in the first place with the Una and Banar myth (view spoiler)[not to mention the overall purpose of Aquavania as a retreat from the psychological difficulties of reality, or a place to craft and build stories to then release back into the world (hide spoiler)]. I was disappointed about the distance that we had from Alistair... it felt like seeing a past dear friend from afar but being unable to get their attention. Alistair obviously has pretty weighty things on his mind, and maybe we as readers can no longer really relate to this old-man-in-a-teen's-body, so I understand why Starmer made this choice, but it was a sad one for me. Continuing the parallels between "Stranger Things" and The Storyteller, it felt like Alistair was Will being taken over by the Mind Flayer, with the way that he was so distant and with the way I was often unsettled and unsure if he was acting in the best interests of Aquavanians or not (similar to how Will's actions and words were suspect... well, until an obvious tipping point).Back to The Storyteller: I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but I surprised myself by feeling happy (or at least, not upset) when a story chapter rolled around. By now, Starmer has earned my trust as a short storyteller. The stories aren't always my favorite things; sometimes they seem random, sometimes they're downright weird... but weaving them together in the end (view spoiler)[as Sigrid's various experiences after her own visit to the creepy Dorgon (hide spoiler)] was an unexpected move. There's a lot left in this book for me to chew on mentally, a lot left that I haven't necessarily resolved for myself... but I wanted to get this book back into the library for those who might want to fly through it next. I was worried when I started this series that the ending--and Aquavania itself--might turn into something trite and pat, but Starmer did not disappoint in creating something intricate, unique, and also a bit unsettling.

  • Adam James
    2019-04-24 00:51

    The Riverman trilogy is one of the most thought-provoking young adult series I've ever had the privilege to read. I'm still sitting stunned after racing through the last half of the final novel.I'm not going to lie - after swallowing the first two novels in the series, I wasn't too keen on the prospects of The Storyteller. While waiting for the book to come in the mail, I started reading the "Look Inside!" tab on Amazon, only to annoyingly discover that the book is narrated by Keri...Alistair's sister. "What??" I probably said. "Keri?? After everything, Starmer ends this thing from her perspective??? Who the hell cares about Keri???"Well, me, it turns out. And yes, it doesn't help that Starmer beats-around-the-bush and includes so many of Keri's short stories, but you'd better believe my dumb ass was rushing back to those stories once the end of the book was coming. It takes a mountain of patience to read and digest all three Riverman novels (especially that second But, Starmer's ability to gracefully communicate the complexity of existence is impressive. The ability to communicate that same complexity to teenagers is astonishing. What began as a dark, possible-horror/mystery/coming-of-age/fantasy á la It, blossomed (exploded?) into such a beautifully twisted, masterfully nuanced allegory (metaphor?) for the endless possibilities that life has to offer. I truly hope that young people are able to sit through this series and at least try to patiently read and examine those seemingly arduous "Una" chapters in The Whisper and the short stories of The Storyteller. I haven't even dared to look at the reviews for any of the three books; I don't want anything to kill my post-Storyteller vibe. Life does not make sense. Explaining life makes even less sense. But Aaron Starmer's Riverman trilogy comes the closest.

  • Zara
    2019-04-28 03:56

    This book is deep. Really deep. Actually, the whole series was deep. It has my mind completely confused but satisfied at the same time. I'm amazed that anyone can even come up with the idea for The Riverman series. The Storyteller was a mind-boggling conclusion. It's the story of an ordinary girl and an extraordinary girl. The main character, Keri, has been through a lot of crap, but she just keeps on writing. And the stories she writes were strange at first, then I realized they were like a deeper look into her. The plot and characters were not the only cool things about this book. Themes and symbols and lessons are everywhere, hidden at first, but revealed later. I have nothing bad to say about this book. Not a single thing.

  • Stephanie Dolph
    2019-05-08 21:56

    This was a very strange conclusion to a strange trilogy. There was a lot that I liked about this but a lot is left intentionally vague and unanswered. Not entirely satisfying, but sometimes it's good to let the reader to come to their own conclusions. Although the characters in this series are young (12-13) I think the dark tone and the writing style of this book are more YA/adult than children's.

  • Scott
    2019-05-07 02:06

    The absorbing and satisfying conclusion to a complex and fascinating series unlike anything I've read before. With this series, Starmer has become a favorite author. Can't wait to explore more of his worlds.

  • Sam Musher
    2019-05-18 23:04

    A perfectly melancholy, inconclusive ending to one of the weirdest trilogies I've ever read. I only recommend Riverman to my favorite weirdos, and no one who's loved it has been disappointed by the sequels.

  • Jensen
    2019-04-30 01:02

    Good book, but surprised me by having a different narrator after the other two books with her brother as the storyteller. I liked the wombat sections, and liked it when Carrie connected all her stories. However it took a long time to get to the action, and that was aggravating.

  • Aggie Kopp
    2019-05-03 21:43

    Oh, gosh. Once again, Aaron Starmer drew me into the plots never ending grasp on my mind. I followed the characters (even related to them), and followed them down the whirlpool of just plain awesomeness. The final book of the series? Just a new beginning to my thoughts. An inspiring novel.

  • Kathy Heare Watts
    2019-05-08 02:08

    I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. I am paying it forward by passing this book along to a friend or family member who I think will enjoy it too.

  • Maggie Hillman
    2019-05-19 02:43

    I'm so confused might read rest of series later. Good story with deep meaning.

  • Megan Robison
    2019-05-01 03:01


  • Chris
    2019-05-01 23:46

    Now, as I read it all over again, I wonder . . . They call that literary analysis, Stella, and I'm not particularly good at it. My job is to write. Your job is to figure out the deep stuff.And there is deep stuff going on here, isn't there? For the love of Luna, I hope so.Oh, there is. There definitely is deep stuff going on here. You know because you feel it. Sometimes, though, feelings are hard to pinpoint. Hard to analyze. That's how this is. It doesn't necessarily need the literary analysis because it creates a depth of feeling not dependent on explicit definition.That's been the nature of the entire trilogy. Each book is a surprise, a departure--a deviation--from what has come before. A new layer that revisits the earlier stories even as it adds entirely new ones. I find I must reflect that layering in order to describe the experience by revisiting what I wrote about the two previous books in my review of The Whisper:This series. Wow. So different and unexpected than most everything else out there. And this second book that is so unexpectedly different than the first, that reframes and deepens and changes The Riverman as it expands that book's universe exponentially.In my review of The Riverman I wrote, This is a mystery book. But is it a fantasy book? That's the mystery. That's because Alistair was an observer in the first book, slowly drawn into caring about a strange world that might have been a fantasy horror and might have been a psychological thriller--with drastic consequences either way.Now Alistair knows which it is, because he has gone from observer to participant, from watcher to doer. He has entered the fantasy horror. His role has changed, his perspective has changed, his setting has changed. . . . With this third book we have come full circle, back to the real world setting of The Riverman, a small town in New York, with normal people dealing with normal situations. Except the circle has spiraled to a new level, because it is no longer Alistair's story. Though this book picks up chronologically right after the others, he is now a side character in the story of his older sister, who narrates it in her diary.Keri is maybe spurred to begin writing because of unusual and dramatic events involving her brother, but after recording her initial reactions to them she writes about herself. About her friends and her efforts to negotiate the changing social landscape of eighth grade, about the changes in her family as its members struggle to deal with the repercussions of Alistair's actions, and about her efforts to reconcile reality to the strange, fantastical explanations Alistair confides to her.Keri also fills her diary--interspersed with her journalistic entries--with fantastical stories of her own. Odd, unsettling, possibly allegorical tales she feels compelled to write as a way of expressing her feelings at levels deeper than analysis allows. They begin with an image of a phosphorescent wombat and go through everything from a trapped princess to baby birds dying in exponentially increasing numbers, anthropomorphized clouds and knock-knock jokes and guns, a girl made of candy canes and a social network made of pasta tubes, and the expanded ramifications of opposite day and an inability to disbelieve. They are as compelling and moving as they are incomprehensible and baffling; confounding and insightful at the same time.Just like the rest of the book. Just like the rest of the series. These books--the entire saga and all the little tales contained within--are about learning to live through the reality that life offers far more questions than answers. That some things, even as we feel them and express them and react to them, we'll just never understand. That some things just are, and always will be, mysteries. That we are, even to ourselves, even as we embody our emotions and enjoy engaging in pursuit of self-understanding, largely unknowable mysteries.How this book accomplishes that is equal parts unpredictable, exceptional, unexpected, and astounding. And it is entirely wonderful.This story is about . . . well, it's about how God is a wombat, because why can't God be a wombat? . . . When I first came up with the story, that was the first thing I thought about. A wombat who becomes God. A wombat who destroys and resurrects our universe, but who in the end only wants to feel the pitter-patter of rain on her head. A wombat who loves and makes mistakes like any of us. A wombat who glows, but doesn't know why. A perfectly fine wombat.

  • Abby
    2019-05-03 00:41

    I'm worried that I'm dumber than I think I am, and that's why I didn't love this book like I did the first two in the trilogy. There are only two options: I'm dumb, and didn't "get" this book, or, this book wasn't the masterful ending to the trilogy that I had hoped for.

  • Sherri
    2019-05-02 21:04

    This third and final book in the series starts with Alistair’s return from Aquavania as the new Riverman. The voice in this story belongs to Alistair’s 14-year-old sister, Keri, in the form of her diary. Keri enjoys writing short stories--but she struggles with the endings. She uses her diary, named Stella, to record her stories in progress and to help her process what’s going on around her for the past few months: Fiona Lewis has disappeared, Kyle Dwyer was shot in the stomach and his younger brother Charlie (the old Riverman) is missing too. Alistair was found dripping wet and bloody but he will not talk to anyone. There’s lots of unanswered questions in their small town of Thessaly, but Alistair, 12, isn’t talking--even though the whispers around town accuse him of being involved with the shooting and missing kids. The book alternates diary chapters with short story chapters that seem unrelated--at first. Somehow, the stories Keri writes are intertwined with Alistair and Aquavania. Keri starts realizing there are similarities between her stories and what Alistair has told her about Aquavania. Is Alistair telling the truth or has he read her short stories and twisted them into something new…like Aquavania? Or has she absorbed Aquavania from Alistair and incorporated it into her stories? Keri’s writing takes her on a journey of self-discovery that most readers will enjoy--IF they’ve read the first two books. Her writing is a way to process all the craziness surrounding her. Any Aquavania events happen off the page as this book’s focus is squarely on Keri and her relationship with Alistair (and her new boyfriend and best friend). Teens who enjoyed the first two books of this series will have to find out how all it ends, yet the previous two books should clue in readers that this resolution may not be as neat, clear, or rationally believable as one might hope. The joy of this final book is in the journey--not necessarily the final outcome. Especially when this journey includes the short story of the radioactively glowing wombat named Luna and a story that gives Daphne Du Maurier’s The Birds a run for its money.

  • Bluerose'sHeart
    2019-04-22 01:08

    I LOVED the first two books in this series so much that I pre-ordered this one. That's a huge deal for me! I immediately dived in, and spent every spare moment I had within the pages. (I'm a stay at home(school) mama to 3 little ones. My spare moments are super precious to me.)By the end, I hated it so bad I seriously wanted to burn it. Even if the remark that is completely insulting, rude, and disrespectful to any believers in God doesn't bother you, the rest of the book was infuriating, too. The first two books contained some of the best writing I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It was creative and simply amazing. This book seemed as though it had no idea where it was going, and I was left without an ending, and entirely too many loose strings. What little ending I did get was just plain depressing. This last book just went in a completely different direction from the other two, and I didn't like it. As much as I hated this book, I'd most likely keep my opinions about it to myself, since it wasn't a review book, but I've made such a big deal about how great the first two books are that I feel the need to give a warning about this one. I was left HUGELY disappointed! It contained probably the worst ending to a series that I've ever experienced.

  • Suzanne Dix
    2019-05-15 00:57

    Fourteen- year old Keri Cleary has a journal named Stella and it is a good thing too because where else can she share all the strange coincidences and insane events that have been happening in Thessaly and within her own family? People are already shaking their heads at the strange shooting of a neighborhood boy and the disappearance of two children. Keri's brother Alistair is keeping silent on many secrets and oddly it is through Keri's writing that she begins to decipher just what is going on…that Alistair is now The Riverman of Aquavania. Unfortunately due to several mistakes on Alistair's part, the two children are lost in this fantastical realm. Keri is a witty narrator and makes the reading entertaining though this is a very difficult novel to follow. There are threads here and there which the reader is expected to weave into a tightly knit story but it is a struggle to understand where the many plot lines are going. This is the culminating novel of the trilogy and should be treated as such rather than a possible stand-alone. The imagery and imagination of author Starmer are stunning and also disorientating. A very unique book to add to your collection if this series is in hot demand.

  • Chumofchance
    2019-05-05 03:06

    An extremely satisfying ending to a weird, weird series.Makes up for some of the slack from the second book, The Storyteller returns to what made the first book in the series so great, namely, the realism and the authenticity of the 1st person voice. Unlike the first book, the Storyteller is narrated by Alistair's rarely-seen, smart aleck older sister Keri. And she's excellent, funnier and more prone to wisecracking than her brother, but with the same intelligence and sweetness. Not much fantasy here, the weirdness in this book is mostly relegated to Keri's stories, which are quite bizarre and creepy, with a sense of unsettling naivete that has become the hallmark of the series. What's best about this book is the personal drama though, a believable depiction of a family in crisis that is realistic, compelling, and compassionate, but also at times rather disturbing. And the ending was excellent, maybe as much for what isn't wrapped up and explained away as for what is.This series bears some remarkable similarities to The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Does that make Starmer the middle grade Philip K. Dick? If so, that's a compliment.

  • Deanna Pina
    2019-05-13 00:44

    Literary Merit: GreatCharacterization: GreatRecommended: OptionalLevel: Unclear, but best suited to early high schoolers"The Storyteller" by Aaron Starmer marks the end of his Riverman Trilogy. As a warning to readers of this review, I was given a copy to review and hadn't read the first two in the series. Readers with no background on this series will still be intrigued by Starmer's mastery of the literary elements. Foreshadowing has great pay offs in this story, which is somewhat meta as the story is partially told by the main character writing their own short stories in between her diary entries. While I enjoyed reading this story, which felt very mysterious and strange as I had no clue what actually happened previously in the story, it is unclear who the intended audience is. The characters are between the ages of 12 to 13, but the style and depth of the writing mark it for later high school reading levels. I recommend this series for late middle school/early high school aged teens who have an advanced reading level and enjoy fantastical mysteries in which the line of reality and make belief blur.

  • Anne
    2019-05-15 20:47

    I highly recommend this series to readers of all ages. Aaron Starmer writes fantastical stories that blend imagination with darkness. It reminds me of Roald Dahl, and I think all readers will find something interesting in these pages. This is a strange book (to say the least) because it is narrated by Alistair's sister, who we know of but haven't heard from before. I did miss Alistair's voice, and I desperately missed Fiona, but Keri was an excellent narrator who left just the right amount of space for the reader's imagination to fill in what she wasn't telling us. Her voice was engaging and honest; I really enjoyed reading it and often missed her wry humor in the alternate chapters when the stories Keri herself was writing were taking place. That said, I did particularly love the wombat story and how important it became to the plot. The series ends with a lot of unanswered but thought-provoking ideas about the origins of storytelling, imagination, and mythology—making this a great book for both readers and writers.

  • Sarah Hay
    2019-05-02 01:01

    I only read this because I wanted to know how the story was going to end. That did not really happen and I had to stop myself from flinging the book into the wall upon finishing it. I gave it stars because Starmer can create imaginative worlds and compelling settings. I like how eventually the stories wove together, but I feel the over arching plot of Alistair, Fiona, and Charlie did very little - at least as far as we are told because, hey, they may have spent eons in Aquavania, but we get Alistair's sister's narrative.If you like dark, twisted stories that leave more questions than answers then by all means you will enjoy this. If you like ending a book series and wanting to scream and rip apart a book have a go (please don't rip your library copies).I honestly don't know who I would recommend this to. 14 and up?

  • Barbara
    2019-04-26 19:52

    Aaron Starmer knows how kids think and did a wonderful job of telling the story through the eyes of the adolescent characters in this trilogy, and the gross and funny things and even the dark and violent things are so "kids". I don't understand some of the comments about the trilogy, especially The Storyteller. It HAD to be told from Kerry's perspective. Her stories were intertwined with the stories of the previous books. Such a clever story. Not sure if all kids would get the small clues and nuances... from some of the comments, even some adults didn't get them. A huge question remains at the end about one of the characters. I wonder if there will be another book.