cover image The Keeper of the Mist

The Keeper of the Mist

Rachel Neumeier. Knopf, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-553-50928-1

Neumeier (The Floating Islands) begins her delightful YA fantasy with Keri, who grew up as a working-class baker. However, as the illegitimate daughter of the Lord of the country of Nimmira, there was always a chance that Keri might be the heir. When a surprised Keri becomes Lady of Nimmira, she finds that the magic that protects Nimmira from the outside world—a mist that both not only keeps outsiders from entering the land, but also from remembering its existence—has faded almost entirely away. Keri is soon contending with an embassy from the South, a troop of soldiers and a prince from fierce Tor Carron, and a mage from the northern land of Eschalion, the country of the ancient Wyvern King who has spent centuries trying to conquer the world. After a slow start, Neumeier delivers intriguing political problems, complicated and charming personal relationships, and magic running the gamut from the domestic hominess of Nimmira to the terrifyingly gorgeous enchantments of Eschalion. The book’s rewards make up for its initial hesitations. Ages 12–up. Agent: Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. (Mar.)