Monday, July 25, 2016

The Keeper of the Mist

by Rachel Neumeier

Story summary: Summary from Goodreads:
"Keri has been struggling to run her family bakery since her mother passed away. Now the father she barely knew—the Lord of Nimmira—has died, and ancient magic has decreed that she will take his place as the new Lady. The position has never been so dangerous: the mists that hide Nimmira from its vicious, land-hungry neighbors have failed, and Keri's people are visible to strangers for the first time since the mists were put in place generations ago.
At the same time, three half-brothers with their own eyes on the crown make life within the House just as dangerous as the world outside. But Keri has three people to guide her: her mysterious Timekeeper, clever Bookkeeper, and steadfast Doorkeeper. Together they must find a way to repair the boundary before her neighbors realize just how vulnerable Nimmira is."

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Cool magic system, of the "instinctive, inborn, just feel it" kind.
  • Relationships, of the family and friends sort, are important.

And Why You Might Not:
  • It was a little light. Definitely a Young Adult book.
  • In general, there just wasn't enough of the good stuff. I wanted it to go deeper.

Thoughts: This was a light, pleasant read that didn't quite go the way I was hoping. I liked everything about it, I just kept wishing it would go deeper. Perhaps I'm growing out of Young Adult books now, because it does seem like many of them are feeling like this these days. So don't judge this book because of my opinion here!

But basically my problems were:
  • I didn't grow at all attached to Cort, and since much of the plot revolved around him, this made a difference to my enjoyment. There were also hints that he was the future love interest, which I didn't really like. I got why the main character would like him, I guess, it's just that I didn't.
  • I really love family relationships. And indeed, the brothers and sister were some of my favourite parts of the book, but I still wanted more of them being awesome together as a family.
  • I also really like growing into leadership roles, and Keri was pretty good at this, but as with the family point above, I wanted more.

On the other hand:
  • The magic system was interesting, as I mentioned above. I love when characters typify some abstract concept through their personality. The idea of the land itself choosing not only the ruler, but "The Doorkeeper", "The Bookkeeper", and "The Timekeeper", is cool.
  • Although I said above that there wasn't enough family stuff for my liking, there was actually a fair amount of family stuff. I don't want to sell it short. I liked her relationship with the middle brother especially.

I want to try more Rachel Neumeier, but mostly just because I really love her blog, and the opinions and topics she talks about there. Based on this book, I'd recommend her to my younger sisters, but maybe not read more myself.

Grade: 3 stars

If You Like This, You Might Also Like:
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: Because this is how you write a new ruler, uncomfortable with the weight of the crown, learning to step up and show some unexpected spine. Not YA, though, so quite different in tone.
  • You could also try Robin McKinley's books. She has more of a fairy tale feel to most of her books, but they remind me a little of this one. They sometimes have quieter, plainer, but strong heroines (strong in more a strength of character, stand for their principles, sense than any sort of physical strength). They tend to have a similar kind of magic. And... there's just something in the feel that reminds me a bit of this. So maybe try ... Pegasus or Spindle's End?

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