The Keeper of Night

Inkyard. (The Keeper of Night: Bk. 1). Oct. 2021. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335405661.
Gr 8 Up–A Reaper of London, a servant of death, Ren’s duty is gathering human souls; she’s aware of her place, below the High Reapers. Since Ren is both Japanese and British, she looks different than other British Reapers. She is a Shinigami (Japanese Reaper) who can control light. Her own father, though part of the High Council, fails to recognize her. Unable to control her light, she scorches the eyes of the High Reapers who mockingly call her “Half-Breed.” Her only solace is her kind half-brother Neven, who risks his life to journey with Ren to Japan. Baker has created a chillingly dark fantasy set in London and Japan during the 1800s, with elements of Japanese and European myths. Adding thrills, action, and a bit of scare, Baker makes good use of metaphors and similes with captivating language and depiction of scenery. The characters are equally interesting; the High Council is reminiscent of the Volturi and the London Reapers similar to the vampires from the Twilight saga. Ren is an undeniable heroine; though she is an outcast, forced to suppress her true emotions and seen as inferior in darkness, on the flip side, she is light—a formidable warrior ready to sacrifice her life for Neven. Ren risks it all to forge a rightful place where she is respected and accepted.
VERDICT A triumphant debut, this thrilling fantasy tackles death, clad with a heroine unafraid to wrench a soul from the depths of a being and venture to the darkest of underworlds. A must for those in search of a place to call their own.

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