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The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

“A dark fantasy with rich Japanese lore, The Keeper of Night will devour readers into an abyss of death and destruction, hoping for a glimmer of light when this story concludes.”

Sheaf & Ink

The Story

From the Publisher

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.

My Review: The Keeper of Night

I instantly felt swept away by Kylie Lee Baker’s story.  The rapid current of the story pulling you under like a rabid creature lurking in the dark with claws and a maw of sharp teeth, wrenching you deeper into a nightmare you didn’t know existed.

What I thought most compelling in The Keeper of Night is the feeling of belonging. 

When you are not seen as whole, but having two separate identities.  Being of mixed ethnic backgrounds, in Ren’s case half-Japanese and half-British, is always a challenge of who does she identify with most?  And when the world has you under its ever judgmental microscope, debating your worth by your features alone, it’s no wonder Ren wants to tear the world apart and watch it burn to ash. 

As the reader you feel the cruelty inflicted on Ren. Those cruelties, like tiny incisions repeatedly imposed over and over and over again, making you wonder, when and if Ren is ever going to snap.

A Few More Thoughts

And after everything Ren goes through my hope is the next novel is more of a redemption book. 

Because towards the end there is such a cutting betrayal.

In the beginning, Lee Baker sets up this perfectly erected and stable bond between Ren and her brother, Neven.  That he would do anything for her and vice versa.  But that relationship is tested to the brink of collapse when they make it to the shores of Japan. 

As the story progresses, Ren is set on a path that her brother begins to resist. We see over time, their once strong and unbreakable relationship begins to erode.  And I feel they both are at fault. That because of their circumstances they lost the foundation they so carefully built over the centuries and forgot what was truly at stake.

There’s this utter devastation and loss in the end that I hope is reconciled in the next book.  Where perhaps (me just speculating here) Ren will be unmade in order to find what she’s looking for. Reunited with the love that she lost as well as being forgiven for her seemingly selfish choices.

Epic in scope, Lee Baker’s world building is mesmerizing.  You feel the cold depths of the underworld and blinded by its colorless landscape.

Readers will be equally transfixed by the lore and characters Lee Baker brings to life on the page.

I am anxious to see if we step back into London and possibly dive into Ren’s British heritage. Where we experience the landscape of that underworld and who we may encounter.

Happy Reading ̴ Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blotink blot – Exceptionally Inked


  • Death and violence.

The Keeper of Night Photo Collage

Publication Details

Pub DateISBNPage CountPublisherAge GroupReview Posted Online
12-Oct-21978-1335405661400Inkyard Press 13+September 21, 2021

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