Last week I was lucky to be invited to the Hachette offices for an exclusive look at Books with Bite blogger event. For anyone not in the know, Books with Bite promotes all of Hachette’s Children’s imprints, including Quercus, Orion, Orchard, Hodder, Wayland and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Synopsis of The Keeper
The Keeper is the second in the Vega Jane series. Having not read the first one myself I can only discuss the second novel as a standalone. In the novel, Vega Jane and Delph have just crossed the high wall from Wormwood into the Quag.
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Looking for a wish? Then this book is the exact place to find one.
This book was something I had heard a lot of hype about and was itching to get my hands on so it was only natural that I finished it pretty quickly, because once I picked it up I could hardly put it down. Laini Taylor has created a world where mythical beings take a new perspective and keeping your teeth has never been more important.
So this book follows the life of Karou who was raised by Brimstone a Chimaera and she collects teeth for him in return for wishes. Things become complicated when the Seraphs learn of Brimstone’s existence and before she realises Karou’s life is turned upside down and she has to trust the people she is told to run from. But there are other things that Karou doesn’t know that change her view of the worlds she lives in forever.
I would like to start off my saying that this book was a breath of fresh air because it combined an unusual duo of species that I have never encountered before. Chimaera are beings that have various body parts from several animals. For example, Brimstone has a ram’s head and the legs of a lion. On the other hand Seraphim are similar to angels in so far as that they have wings and they are beings of godly creation. The combination of these characters is really unique and because Karou is of a Chimaera perspective it also challenges the views that people have of angels.
The protagonist Karou is a well-developed character. She has a love of art and languages and, as well as attending art school, she also happens to be an errand girl. With eccentric blue hair, it is easy to tell from the start that she has a unique personality and I would happily spend some time with her at the Poison Kitchen at ‘Pestilence’. She is a dreamer and because of this she is always looking for more from her worlds. She is curious by nature and this leads her into a lot of perilous positions
In contrast we are introduced to Akiva a slightly obsessive, stalker Seraph who becomes infatuated with Karou but doesn’t quite know why. The plot thickens significantly when he discovers why she is so important to him and one of my favourite features of the book is the section that introduces us to his past. His character is somewhat dis-likable at the beginning but after this discovery I felt a lot of empathy towards him and genuinely felt sorry for the struggles he faced.
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This is the first book that’s taken my breath away in a long while. This book conjoined reality with fantasy in a dazzling and frightening manner. This book is awesome. It genuinely fills me with awe. The depth of research and innovation needed to create such a complex and illusive plot is perplexing. I tip my hat to Neil Gaiman and his craftsmanship.
Shadow is a grounded, humble, mucky character. Not mucky in the physical sense but his life is filled with realistic turns and twists which makes his story all that more believable to me. Compared to Wednesday’s mysteriousness that makes him so unbelievable to balance the mind.
At no point did I find myself guessing what would happen next with each page a new surprise took over and a new plot was unveiled. The plots that, despite starting off so loose, were tightly woven by the final part of the book.
I especially loved the chapters that were unrelated to the main plot. The little side stories about other Gods and humans, that weren’t anything to do with the overall book but in a sense provided evidence for all the claims made my Wednesday throughout the book.
A thoroughly delightful read. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an engrossing world to pour themselves into.