Title: The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)
Author: Kylie Lee Baker
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: October 12, 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.
1800s: Ren Scarborough is half British Reaper and half Japanese Shinigami. Reapers and Shinigami collect souls when a person is ready to die. Since Ren is half Japanese living in London, her British Reaper family and community doesn’t recognize her as one of their own. After two centuries of living like this, Ren decides to travel to Japan to find her true identity as a Shinigami. Her half-brother, and only true friend, Neven, travels around the world with her. When they arrive and meet the Japanese goddess of death, Ren is given a seemingly impossible mission, to hunt dangerous Yokai demons, that will finally give her the acceptance she has always craved.
This was an intense and wild story. Ren and Neven encountered many demons and creatures from Japanese folklore. Ren had learned about some of the demons in her studies of her culture, but some of them were not the same as the tales. Both the British and Japanese soul collectors had their own methods of doing their job, so Ren had to get used to a whole new system. Though Ren felt like an outsider at home in England, Neven became an outsider in Japan, since he didn’t speak the language and didn’t look like the residents. It was an interesting look at if it’s harder to be born as an outsider and never know any differently or if it is easier to choose to live in a culture as a visible outsider.
The ending of this story was intense and fast paced. It left me wondering if the next book will be about Ren, based on where the story left off. I’m really curious to see what the next book in this duology will be about.
The Keeper of Night is a great book with Japanese folklore.
Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
About the author:
Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.
Have you read The Keeper of Night? What did you think of it?