Monday, May 4, 2009

Non Laughter Reviews: KEEPER

by Allison Sinclair
Dark Fantasy

In a city uneasily shared between the Lightborn (people active in the day who accept use of magic and slowly disintegrate in prolonged dark) and the Darkborn (people who are blind, use echolocation to navigate, active at night because sunlight is fatal to them, and who abhor magic) a Darkborn physician performs a routine baby delivery and is sucked into a mystery with ever-broadening personal and political implications involving the fearsome, mutant Shadowborn (mysterious, monstrous creatures dwelling in remote regions).

What Works
Just about everything. Apprentice Writer thanks her lucky stars that she won an Advanced Reading Copy (thanks, Nalini Singh!) because she may never have picked this up otherwise, and the story is extraordinary. The worldbuilding is consistent, detailed, and fascinating (AW was well into the book before realizing that the darkborn characters are blind, for example, since their daily routines and activities are so naturally depicted. What do seeing impaired readers think of this story, she wonders?).

The characters are compelling. Multiple edgy relationships include a friendship between the doctor and his Lightborn neighbor who is not only female but a professional assasin; the tender bond between the doctor and his wife which carries a burdensome secret; the growing attraction between the wife and a legendary hunter of the Shadowborn; and indeed the whole complex relationship between the divided cititzenry of Minhorne with the hidden layer of spy network snaking through it.

The writing pulls the reader right along. The pacing is brilliant, with a mundane opening event which becomes anything but in a matter of paragraphs, and then keeps on picking up speed right up to the end with a brief reprieve before events continue to unfold in Book 2 - which, judging by the title, will be written from a Lightborn point of view.

What Doesn't
Can't think of anything.

A marvelous start to a new series. The Gentle Reader will hopefully forgive AW for indulging in a fangirl moment: she cannot wait to see what happens in Books 2 & 3. DARKBORN releases May 5 - AW hopes you'll run out to try it, and then come back to tell her what you thought.


Thomma Lyn said...

Wow, sounds like a great concept and an engrossing read!

M. said...

Engrossing is right. If you have any affection for fantasy, or gripping characters, or intriguing plot - you won't be disappointed.

Do you have any fantasy titles you're partial to?

Julia Smith said...

Sounds tastey! I know I've mentioned the Sergei Lukyanenko 'Night Watch' books before, but he does a similar thing by telling the story of 'Night Watch' through the POV of a Light Other, and 'Day Watch' is told by the Dark Others.

And I think fan girl responses are perfectly in order when 'What Doesn't - Can't think of anything' appears in your review.