cover image The Keeper of Tales

The Keeper of Tales

Jonathon Mast. Dark Owl, $16.99 trade paper (410p) ISBN 978-1-951716-15-8

Mast debuts with a clever but convoluted fantasy set in a land where stories can alter the course of history. The Storied Lands are controlled by the life stories of its inhabitants, which are kept at the library in the Fabled City of Chariis. When the monsters called Kaerun, or devourers of tales, threaten to destroy the Fabled City by stealing and altering the stories, Naeharum Adal, the Keeper of Tales, must find a way to stop them. Together with representatives of each of the five races of the Storied Lands, he confronts Garethen Talespinner, the King of Lies and the person responsible for creating the Kaerun. A fatal battle ensues, and Garethen is slain—but that is only the beginning, as Adal soon realizes that there’s more to the stories that rule his life than meets the eye. The magic system is unique and fascinating, but feels frustratingly underexplored. Though the cast is diverse and well-drawn, their adventures drag through a series of underwhelming twists and turns that add little to the thrust of the story. Fantasy readers will appreciate the setting and genuine sense of camaraderie among the characters, but will be disappointed by the bloated plot. (Mar.)