Book Review: The Keeper Of Night by Kylie Lee Baker
Set in the late 1800s, this dark YA fantasy moves from London to Japan as our protagonist, soul collector Ren flees an untenable situation and tries desperately to find somewhere to belong. Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren’s status in the hierarchy of London Reapers is precarious at best. Attacked by three (bratty) High Reapers who delight in torturing her but are untouchable because of their rank and connections, Ren’s suppressed Shinigami powers break free to defend herself. Left with no choice but to flee, accompanied by her half brother Neven, Ren makes her way to Japan and seeks an audience with the Death Goddess, hoping to be accepted in her mother’s homeland. Assigned apparently impossible tasks, Ren has to use all her skills and cunning to accomplish them, helped by local fisher spirit Hiro.
Wow. I’m still a bit stunned a full day after putting this book down; the worldbuilding is absolutely spectacular, with a ton of Japanese mythology incorporated into the story as we learn about it through Ren’s eyes. There are also some amazing twists and turns I really didn’t see coming, including something of a cliffhanger at the end (this is apparently part 1 of a duology).
Be aware: it is dark. Ren is sometimes hard to feel sympathetic for, and there are moments when she’s actively cruel. There’s a lot of death (including an awful animal death early on) and at least one major character death which came as quite a shock to me. Go in understanding that this delves into the darker side of death mythology and Japanese legends, and I think you’ll be absolutely fascinated, and hanging out for book 2, just as I am! Five stars for an amazing read.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.