The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker is a YA fantasy novel inspired by Japanese folklore that hooked me from the very first page.
Ren Scarborough is half British Reaper and half Japanese Shinigami. For most of her life, Ren has, at best, felt like she hasn’t belonged, and at worst, hated because of her mixed heritage.
One fateful night, Ren loses control over her powers and accidentally injures three High Reapers. Rather than suffer severe punishment, Ren decides to flee to Japan with her brother Neven, where Ren hopes to find her identity. In Japan, things do not come as naturally as Ren had hoped, and she ends up going on a quest to carve a place for herself among the Shinigami of her birth country.
Thoughts on The Keeper of Night
This novel incorporates plenty of dark and fantastical elements of Japanese folklore, including Shinigami (death spirits), yōkai (supernatural spirits), Yomi (the Underworld), the nine-tailed fox, and much more. Before reading this, I knew relatively little about Japanese folklore and mythology, but now I am very excited to learn more.
This novel is set in the late 1800s and due to that fact, Ren endures a lot of racism and Othering. There are discussions on belonging, white fragility, identity, and family.
As I mentioned, this book hooked me from the first page. My one critique would be the insta-love relationship, although I will say that it goes to very unexpected places, places that were shocking and wickedly delightful.
I cannot wait for book two in this incredible duology.
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Thank you to Inkyard Press for the ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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