cover image The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)

The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)

Kylie Lee Baker. Inkyard, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-335-40566-1

Ren Scarborough may look like an average black-haired, dark-eyed teenager, but she is in fact nearly 200 years old, her magical heritage conferring upon her an extended lifespan. Half British Reaper and half Japanese Shinigami, Ren’s task is to reap human souls for the master of death in Britain: Ankou, Father of Death. But her existence is a lonely one. Disinherited by her British father, with only her younger half brother Neven daring to show her kindness, Ren is easy prey for the High Reapers who taunt and torment her. When she loses control of her powers one night and injures several High Reapers, Ren decides to flee with Neven to Japan, where she will be beyond the Reapers’ reach. In order to join the Shinigami there, however, Ren must face a deadly task: destroy the Yokai, the soul-devouring monsters that haunt Japan. Baker’s vivid prose seamlessly blends Japanese mythology with a Victorian setting. Though the romantic development would benefit from a slower speed, an action-filled plot ensures that this debut rarely lags, and the relationship between Ren and Neven additionally infuses the duology opener with a core of warmth. Ages 13–up. Agent: Mary Moore, Kimberly Cameron & Assoc. (Oct.)