Cover Image: The Keeper of Night

The Keeper of Night

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Member Reviews

This book is 12.5 hours long, but you would know that once you dive in, it full throttle going forward, with a couple spots that let you catch your breath for only a moment. 
This is then turned past 10 in the last quarter of the book, so much so I found myself re-listening to chapters and segments over and over again to make sure I really understood what happened.

I loved Ren as a character, she felt a lot darker then the typical protagonist. Paired with her relationship with her brother, Neven. Their deep love for one another is beautiful, but also how he works as her own Jiminy Cricket.

While I can't comment heavily on the end of the book without revealing all to much. But it is like Baker took everything that could have been stretched out into a second book and folded it into such a tiny package that it really does jump out at you when you're not expecting it.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!

Disclaimer: There may be spoilers ahead.
Wow wow wow. What a journey this book has been. From cute sibling bonds, a handsome stranger being kind for no reason to darkness, despair and sorrow. I absolutely loved every single thing about this book and that was what astonished me most because never have I ever felt this way for a book before. It was more dark and eerie than light and fun but it was bit of the latter in the begining of the book. Other reasons why you should pick up this book is because it has a solid beginning and I guess a few of you, like me, could relate with Ren not fitting anywhere. She was an outcast, an in-between like some of us and this fact was so accurately described I was on the verge of tears. The plot twist? Why is no one talking about it? And can we also talk about Neven? He forever deserved better. Spoilers: Yes, I kinda liked Hiro at the beggining but what is a relationship with secrets? Nothing, for me. And he was abusive towards the end so yeah I hated him and didn't feel sorry for him. Okay, I may be lying I did feel him for having an abusive mother but that didn't excuse HIM for being abusive. So back to Neven, I hope he's alive in book 2 or else I will never live in peace. All in all, go read this book folks if you wanna have your heart broken! And also, if you're reading this Kylie, thank you for this book even though it broke me!

4.5 stars!💖
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4/4.5 I enjoyed this dark adventure about death. I have no read much on Japanese folklore but I really enjoyed this telling/retelling. Made me I terested in more from this author and this type of mythology
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I was really disappointed in this book. I am usually really into books like this with that sort of darker undertone but for some reason this just didn't work for me. I know a lot of other people really loved this so maybe I am just missing something but I was just bored during a lot of this book. There was no solid reason why either. I would still recommend this book cause I'm sure anyone who enjoys this sort of fantasy would love this book.
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Listen, I don't think this book is bad. I am just not in the mood for it, despite it being a book about reapers and shinigami and it's currently October. I've read the third chapter 4 times as I wasn't able to focus on it. While I made it past the third, I find myself easily loosing focus on the following chapters as well. I'm lost again in the 5th chapter.

I think this book will hit the mark for many readers. Some have commented on the heavy info-dumping in the first few chapters of the book, which I think is what is mostly causing a struggle for me. I can't get over this hurdle right now, and for those who get through it will find a refreshing and original YA fantasy. The blend of British reapers and Japanese Shinigami with a focus on Japanese folklore in Japan sounds wonderful. But I need to set this book aside. I hope one day to return to it, but for now I need to move on.
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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.
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The story is fantastic. Dark, but fantastic. Really, really enjoyed the combining of different mythologies and reimagining of Japanese folklore beings. The way that the author showed Ren's confusion and frustration at not seeming to belong anywhere was really well done. The violent bits were a little more graphic than I generally like but they made sense for the story. 

One note about the audio, there is a lot of background noise. I assume that the narrator (who was very good) was recording from their home. I often had the volume turned way up so that I could hear the story over the noise of the rooms I was working in. In the background I could hear a man clearing his throat, water running, dishes clinking together, etc. I could clearly hear the narrator turning the pages of the story on several occasions. It was very, very faint, but if there is any opportunity to do so, I would recommend somebody go back and scrub the audio to make it cleaner.
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The Keeper of Night provides a vivid world of death and fantasy.  Kylie Lee Baker does an amazing job at building this world that perfectly intersects with our world while also taking place on another plane of existence.  This is all complimented by several characters who have a great amount of depth and complexity.  The three main players (Ren, Hiral, and Neven) of the story continuously add intrigue and depth up until the very end. The narrator also provides the perfect level of immersion ad helps illustrate the dark undertones of the story,
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The premise of this as a dark YA fantasy steeped in Japanese mythology sounded right up my street and wow did it deliver. This is easily one of the best YA books I've read this year and I cannot believe it is a debut. 

Ren is half British Reaper and half Japanese Shinigami and really struggling to find her place in London until she is forced to flee and ends up in Japan only to find that she doesn't exactly fit in there either. The way that Kylie Lee Baker wrote Ren's longing for acceptance and struggle with her identity as a mixed race person was incredible. 

Two other things I absolutely loved were the exploration of Japanese mythology and Ren's relationship with her brother, Neven, and really just Neven himself because he was so sweet and I think really helped balance out some of the creepier aspects of the mythology. I also really enjoyed the narrator, especially as a lot of the Japanese terms and their pronunciation were unfamiliar to me. 

There were some parts where the pacing didn't quite work for me and the insta-love was a bit hard to read in my opinion, but I finished this over a week ago and still have not fully processed all the twists in the last 20% and cannot believe I have to wait until next year for the sequel.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to listen to the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
***
Ren is half British reaper and half Japanese Shinigami. Raised by her father as a reaper she knows very little of her Shinigami side, let alone her Japanese ancestry. Bullied and belittled Ren is incredibly unhappy with her lot in life. When an incident forces her to flee her home in the UK for Japan with her half-brother/loyal companion Ren decides it’s time to see if the grass is greener on the other side. When the death goddess offers Ren a chance to become a Shinigami in exchange for exterminating three yokai for her Ren jumps at the chance to prove herself worthy of becoming a Shinigami and find her place in the world. 
Things don’t necessarily go to plan.
***
What I liked: the narrator was great, she did a good job with the story and I have no complaints about her at all. Ren is a morally gray character, I do like the chance to explore a person who is not “good.” The incorporation of Japanese folklore and mythology was interesting and fun, not many things included that I wasn’t already familiar with but it was fun to see it in the book. Neven, Ren’s brother, I adored him.

What I didn’t like: Ren. Sorry, I tried but she kept going on about how nobody respected her and with power people would have to, while conveniently forgetting she definitely never respected any of the Reapers who were like that. Or how she was an awful, selfish person and she found it disappointing that Neven couldn’t love her completely like that…. My dear sweet child, no one should. He should have run the other direction from you multiple times in this book. There was a bit of a repetitiveness in the writing too that was starting to get to me. By about the halfway mark I wasn’t really feeling this story as much anymore, and had an idea where it was going and definitely knew it was not going to be for me. 

That being said, I loved the mythology and the world this story was creating even if the story itself didn’t work out for me.
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I absolutely loved this book! I've read other books with death gods or reapers like "Scythe" but this one was so unique and different. I loved the incorporation of Japanese folklore and mythology. It was refreshingly new. I also really loved how truly morally grey most of the characters were in this and can't wait to see where it goes next after that ending!
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I love the storyline. I didn’t think he was going to be as dark as it was but I was pleasantly surprised with how dark it is. I love how the sibling realationship was portrayed. Overall I am very happy with my audiobook book. Plus having someone read to me. Helped so much when I couldn’t pick up my book.
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The audio was great for this book. I read a physical galley but wanted to taste the audiobook for the narration, and the narrator has a great way of conveying character emotion and the overall plot
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Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of this book. It was unique, dark and twisted with an ending that left me wanting the next book right away. 

The story follows a girls journey to find her place in the world. She is half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami who collects souls. 

I didn’t know much about Japanese folklore going into this book so I really enjoy. It is actually terrifying! The author paints a perfect picture of the monsters in the book. 

Overall, I found this book very well written and a chilling adventure to take!
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I'm a mythology lover in general so when I saw this had to do with Japanese Mythology, I was super excited. Needless to say, Japanese Mythology is very different than other Mythologies I've read. I have mixed feelings about this story because I felt like everything was going well and in one direction most of the book, but then the last little bit with the ending I felt a little like I was thrown for some major loops and didn't know what was happening anymore. This is also oh so creepy in parts and I'm not one that usually does well with that kind of thing in stories.
This was very well done as an audiobook and that is, in fact, I think what made the story even better for me and more creepy in those parts was because it was audio. The narrator did a stellar job with this story. She portrayed each of the characters well and their emotions. She really helped illustrate what was happening and bringing the story and the world to life.
The story is about Ren, who is half Reaper and half Shinigami, and how she tries to do her best to fit in and do her job as a Reaper in London but is picked on and tormented by others because she's not a 'true' Reaper as it were and she has a hard time with keeping her Shinigami abilities under control so, after one time where she messes up with that, she takes off leaving London. She goes to Japan to find love and acceptance that she's been deprived of her whole life and her brother, who's the one person that's loved and accepted her, goes with her. So, Ren and her brother, Neven go to meet with the Goddess of Death and Ren has to prove herself to serve the Goddess as a Shinigami by going to hunt down some Yokai demons. Ren and Neven meet Hiro who comes along with them on their journey while they go meet with the Goddess and hunt down the Yokai demons and then when Ren comes back to the Goddess is when things go wild and the end is a bit of a cliffhanger too.
If you like Japanese Mythology and aren't bothered by some creepiness then check this one out and see what you think. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Dreamscape Audio for letting me listen and review this ALC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I love the blurbs, read it, and ended up hating it. I don't like how the story turned near the end of the book. This book will be good to be standalone. Why stretch it to be a duology?

Ren, Hiro, and Neven are fucked up in their own way and they're all selfish. The adventure started good but it turned to be even bloodier and grimmer on the way. I don't think I will read the 2nd book. 
Thanks Netgalley and publisher for the copy!
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So I really enjoyed this book… up until the last 20%. The ending just went off in a whole other direction and I didn’t love it. I felt that a lot of the character that was built up with each person was just tossed aside and it didn’t really make sense for it to end this way. 

I love a good twist but this was… not it.
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I throughly enjoyed listening to this book on audio. The narration style and voice took some getting used to for me but once I got used to it I did find the narrator to fit perfectly with the characters. I have never read any type of Japanese mythology and I have to say I’m looking forward to reading more as well as continuing with this series!
I enjoyed Ren as a main character, I know many people have issues with morally grey characters but I really like an unlikeable main character in books. My main issue with not giving this book a higher rating is the pacing. I do think it took almost 75% of the book for things to pick up and I would’ve liked it to be faster paced in the beginning. Also I would’ve loved for there to be more of the British reaper, that is a plot line I think could’ve been explored more. Maybe in the second book we’ll get a better look into it!
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DNF

I liked the narrator! I feel like they did a good job with the characters, especially the main character. They really helped make the reading experience a lot more fun and I’d recommend it!

As for the story, I decided to not finish it because I was just really bored by the halfway point. I wasn’t disliking the story or plot or writing at all, I just grew uninterested in what was happening and found myself not wanting to pick the book up again.

I plan on revisiting this book eventually in the future as I think this could just be a me issue so don’t let this dissuade you from trying it out!
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I finished this book and promptly sat down to pre-order a signed copy from Porter Square books! I was thrilled to find this story, and despite problems with the audio quality on the netgalley app :( I adored the narration as well. There is great representation here that rings true; the main character is mixed-race and spends the book reconnecting with her Japanese "side" after facing exile from England, where she grew up with a beloved brother and trained as a Reaper (in Japan, she's a Shinigami - they have different abilities and traditions.) The magic system was SO much fun (Reapers in England get to stop time using special magical clocks!) and I love how Baker incorporated Japanese folklore related to death and the underworld. As someone who was obsessed with Greek mythology as a kid, I wish I had had books like this while growing up in the US!
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