Ren has lived as a Reaper in London, but has she really? Ren is an outcast. Half Shinigami Half Reaper. The Reapers of London would rather she didn't exist, even Ren's own father ignores her. The only light in her life is her half brother Neven who she would do anything for. When Ren accidentally uses her Shinigami magic on another Reaper she is forced to flee London. She travels to Japan in the hope of finding her mother and finding a place she truly belongs. What Ren finds is darker than she could imagine and a curse weighs heavy on her soul. Will she be able to complete her task to become a full Shinigami before the curse take complete hold of her?
Disclaimer: This book features death. Lots and lots of death. I mean, the main character is basically a grim reaper so that would make sense. I have had a fascination with death as a character in books since I picked up The Mediator series by Meg Cabot and then as an adult The Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones. It's always so interesting to see how writers portray Death. This time is no different. What makes The Keeper of Night stand out amongst the many other stories that are out there is how well Kylie Lee Baker stitches Japanese myth and folklore into Ren's journey.
I am going to be completely honest, I do not like Ren's character at all. She is selfish, cruel and dumb. Even when there is a bright neon light pointing at the "DO NOT MOVE FORWARD" sign, she does it anyway, because it's all about her and what she gets and not about the one person she says is the only one that matters. Ren seriously has no redeeming qualities at all, until the end. When everything has gone too far and there is no way to turn back Ren finally sees herself and all her mistakes. The thing about not liking the main character in a book though, is that it really opens you up to everything else the author is showing you, and Ms. Baker reveals an extraordinary landscape of places and characters that intertwine and exist over centuries. While I may not have cared for Ren, my heart ached for Neven and everything he gave up so that his sister would never be alone. Neven is the true main character of the story for me and I will be reading the next book in the hopes of finding his destiny.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Japanese folklore or mythology, anyone who enjoys Death as a character or who appreciates books where the scenery and the secondary character wind up center stage. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who doesn't like violence or struggles with death.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars for the world of Keeper of the Night
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