Narrator: Rebecca Yeo
Series: The Keeper of Night #1
Published by Dreamscape Media on 2021-10-12
Length: 12 hours and 22 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook from Audible
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2023, 2023 Audiobook Challenge, 2023 Backlist Reader Challenge, COYER 2023
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.
The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker is the first in a dark fantasy duology that focuses on one Reaper’s determination to find where she fits in the world. Ren Scarborough is a Reaper of London, taking souls to meet Death night after night. However, she is only half Reaper. Her other half is Shinigami, and for that she has been shunned and picked on during her 500 years of life. Until one day, she’s had enough. With her brother, Ren flees London for Japan in the hopes she can find what has been missing.
I really enjoyed this story. Ren is an anti-hero, morally grey, and really had me questioning my own sanity in rooting for her. She’s determined to find her mother at all costs. The longer she is on this path, the less she remembers her brother, the one constant in her life. This isn’t a happy story, this is like a villain origin story as it will only get darker.
The world-building is great! I loved the blend of eastern and western mythology as Ren herself is a product of the two. Reapers are exactly what one might expect. They slip between the seconds, pausing time, to take the soul from the body of someone who is dying, “reaping” them for Death. As much as I identified and understood this mythology, it was learning about and seeing how the author blended Japanese mythology into the story. I loved how this added to the fantasy and magic of the story.
While I had an eARC of this book, I wound up purchasing an audiobook copy. I loved the narrator! She was fantastic. I got lost in the story, completely engrossed in her storytelling. I highly recommend this format if you are a fan of audiobooks.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Keeper of Night, so much so I almost immediately dove into book two. Dark fantasy fans and fans of anti-heroes will enjoy this one. Highly recommend!