I finished The Keeper of Night and gasped aloud. To be honest, I was expecting to love this book, but what I wasn’t expecting was how much it would reach into my own soul. How deeply it would resonate and make me emotional. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I just need to start off with what ripped my heart out – the way that The Keeper of Night is so firmly rooted in Ren’s biracial identity and quest for validation. This theme, struggle, exploration reached into my soul and squeezed. While I’m not biracial, I’m a transracial adoptee, it made me feel so seen. The ways that Ren doesn’t fit into Britain and that moment when she realizes that Japan will not welcome her with open arms – punch to the heart.
The way that she feels like she has to be either British or Japanese because there’s no examples for her to understand how to embrace both? Or how she is searching for validation and acceptance without fully realizing it? Why don’t you just echo my own soul and questions I’ve been turning over in my head. And The Keeper of Night is rooted in the ripple effects of these questions, all the ways it permeates into our daily life. But beside the way that this book saw me, it’s also full of stories and action.
The Keeper of Night features a sibling relationship that made my heart so soft. I want more brother and sister relationships that explore guilt, resentment, and privilege. That feature moments that make you choke up with emotion and also shake your head. Within The Keeper of Night, Baker describes a world of mythology, folk tales, and stories. Fabulous world building will sweep you away. It celebrates the importance of stories, but also the knowledge that they have a life of their own.
If you have been intrigued by an idea of a YA fantasy which delves into the underworld, The Keeper of Night is for you. It’s also a book that so deeply explores identity, belonging, and love. I cannot recommend it more highly!
Porter Square Books: https://www.portersquarebooks.com/signed/signed-keeper-night-hardcover
Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335405661
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.
Author website: https://www.kylieleebaker.com/
Instagram: @kylieleebakerGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56030267-the-keeper-of-night