The Keeper of Night: A Review
Updated: Oct 18
The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker is a dark historical fantasy YA novel, inspired by Japanese mythology and folklore. It tells the story of Ren Scarborough, a half-Shinigami and half British reaper, who escapes London after one fateful night of losing control over her Shinigami powers, injuring some High Reapers. Knowing she will be punished, she flees to Japan with her half-brother, Neven, hoping to find her true identity and be accepted by other Shinigami. To prove herself worthy, Ren accepts an impossible task from the Goddess of Death and embarks on a journey with Neven, together with an intriguing new ally.
Baker effortlessly introduces us to a world that’s vibrant with intricate introductions of Japanese mythological creatures, folklore, and culture -- all seamlessly weaved with magic into the storyline. The imagery is vivid with an entrancing prose that will have you glued to its pages. Coupled with a perfectly-paced storyline, Baker establishes morally-grey main characters with intriguing personalities and depth.
Among the many themes that this book presented itself with, I love how Baker emphasized Ren’s struggles with being biracial and how she’s constantly caught between two cultures while figuring out where she belongs, with no one to show her that she can embrace both. With that said, the book also touches on racism, ableism, self-acceptance, and self-identity.
All in all, The Keeper of Night will surely engross readers for its prose, morally-grey characters, captivating world, and unexpected twists and turns. The climax is something that you should look out for, and readers like me will surely look forward to the sequel! 5 stars to Kylie Lee Baker's debut ♥️
All thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours and Inkyard Press for the complimentary print ARC in exchange for an honest review, as part of my tour spot.
Make sure to grab your own copy in any of the links provided below!
Title: The Keeper of Night
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Publishing date: October 12th, 2021
Death is her destiny.
Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.
When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.
Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her work is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, & Irish) as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a BA in creative writing and Spanish from Emory University and is pursuing a master of library and information science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she plays the cello, watches horror movies, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.