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The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night duology, 1)

by Kylie Lee Baker

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1716132,014 (3.53)4
"Sharp and seductive...a fantasy with teeth." --Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns A girl of two worlds, accepted by none... A half Reaper, half Shinigami soul collector seeks her destiny in this haunting and compulsively readable dark fantasy duology set in 1890s Japan. 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. Don't miss the must-read sequel coming in 2022!… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
In The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker, Ren Scarbourough is a girl caught between two worlds. Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, she and her brother, Neven, are never accepted in Britain. When things fall apart and she decides to go looking for her mother and a place among the Japanese Shinigami she finds an adventure and fairy-tale horror awaits in the dark.

Read the rest of my review - https://bythecoverreview.com/2022/02/28/review-the-keeper-of-night-by-kylie-lee-... ( )
  bythecoverreview | Mar 1, 2022 |
*E-book ARC received from the publisher through NetGalley - thank you!*

Ren Scarborough lives and works in London - as a Reaper, collecting souls at the moment of death. But she's never been accepted there, because she's only half Reaper. Her mother was a Shinigami. She's managed to make a life despite being an outsider, but when bullies hurt her and she reacts, exploding a light and blinding them, she knows she has to leave before she's killed by the High Reapers for her actions. With only her brother, Neven, with her she leaves for Japan to try to find acceptance there.

I loved the premise and the elements of Japanese mythology that were included in the book. It's truly original, and the only similar book I could think of was [Grave Mercy], but the comparison is superficial. [The Keeper of Night] is much darker and descriptively violent. Ren has always felt like, and been treated like, and outsider and she's angry about it. Her brother, Neven, was my favorite character: a soft heart, despite being a Reaper, and someone who truly loves his sister, though she can be cold and calculating. The love interest was a little forced, but the author does a good job of creating tension of should she or should she not trust him. ( )
  bell7 | Jan 30, 2022 |
A dark story with a unique plot. Take a half Japanese, half British girl who believes her Japanese mother abandoned her. She's bullied and looked down upon by the 'pure' British Reapers. Even her father who remarried, is cold and aloof. Her only bright spot is her half brother, Neven. When other girls torment her one too many times, she snaps, using a power they don't have, to save herself, injuring the meanest of the lot in the process. This is the beginning of a desperate escape, accompanied by Neven, that ends up in Japan where she must learn to play by an entirely new set of rules with a cast of creepy and unreliable players. Following her as she does so, not always successfully, makes foe an engrossing read. I'll be eager to see what the second book offers up. ( )
  sennebec | Oct 25, 2021 |
3.5 stars, rounded up

The Keeper of Night told the story about Ren -- born half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami -- who was reminded every day that she wasn't a full Reaper, despite collecting souls for centuries. When the chance arose after an accidental altercation, she flees (with her half-brother) to Japan to find her mother and claim her Shinigami inheritance. However, she soon finds that even those in Japan don't view her as Japanese, despite that the identity is all she was seen as by British Reapers. Determined to prove herself, she goes on a quest to find and kill three dangerous Yokai for the Goddess of Death.

I was intrigued by the story immediately. I was first captured by Ren's stubborn spirit: even though the cards were stacked against her, she still fought on. She wanted so desperately to fit in somewhere, but neither half of her heritages accepted her fully, which was heartbreaking. However, Ren was resilient and tough, and I liked her character...mostly. However, she soon let her sharp exterior bleed into her interior, and she became cruel (or perhaps was always so). I liked her story arc, even though it was frustrating. I also really liked her brother, who was perhaps my favorite character; he was sweet, if naive.

I knew this was the first book in a series, but it seemed that the story line was wrapping up pretty nicely...until it wasn't. That ending. Oof. Now I'm curious to see where the next book will go. ( )
  Allison_Krajewski | Oct 21, 2021 |
I've really been drawn to fantasy stories that are based on cultural mythology this last year. The Keeper of Night is a story about Ren, a Reaper, in London, England in the early 1800's. She is a relatively young reaper, around 200 years old. Ren's issue is that she is only half Reaper. Her other half, from her mothers side, is Shinigami. Shinigami is the Japanese version of the English Reaper. Reapers and Shinigami's are what we know as grim reapers. Beings that harvest the souls and lead them to the afterlife.
Ren is hated by her fellow reapers for not being full blooded Reaper and when she accidentally hurts the three reapers that harass her regularly she knows she has to flee of be killed by those who rule the Reapers.
She decides to go to Japan to hopefully be embraced by the Shinigami. Her half brother goes with her. What she finds will push her to the limits of her love of her brother and what she thinks she wants to be.
Overall a masterfully told story that really brings the mythology of the Japanese Shinigami to life (so to speak). The characters are uniquely described and the tale is deeply engaging. It's a very dark tale about death and love and I cannot wait for the next book!
I think if you are a fan of Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver or Uprooted and if you enjoyed the Croak series by Gina Damico you will love The Keeper of Night. ( )
  Verkruissen | Jul 19, 2021 |
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"Sharp and seductive...a fantasy with teeth." --Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns A girl of two worlds, accepted by none... A half Reaper, half Shinigami soul collector seeks her destiny in this haunting and compulsively readable dark fantasy duology set in 1890s Japan. 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. Don't miss the must-read sequel coming in 2022!

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