29 April, 2016

#BookReview :: The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier

The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 8th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Rate: 3 out of 5 Stars

A lush new fantasy about finding the will to lead against all odds, perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone.

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 will 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.

With a spunky main character, lyrical storytelling, and hidden romance, The Keeper of the Mist is an engrossing story that is full of adventure.

The Keeper of the Mist is the story of Keri, who has been tumbling through her life trying and struggling to run the family baker. When she is appointed the Lady of a new land by some magical decree, Keri has enough to handle. Yet there are people who are conspiring against her and she also needs to find a way to restore the mist that has failed because of her father’s mistakes. With the land now visible to everyone, Keri has very little time to catch up on everything so as to be able to fulfill what is expected from her.

The blurb intrigued me and I will admit that for some reason it gave me the impression that this would be something like putting a fantastical twist on The Princess Diaries – which was both satisfying and disappointing. While the book gave us a different world and plot, I was disappointed by the lack of ‘fun’ element that I was expecting. The author has cooked up a new concept where lands are kept isolated and hidden from each other by the Mist which is kept up by the Lord or Lady of the land. A magical world where politics and conspiracies are waiting for Keri at every corner she turns. The character of the protagonist is fleshed out well – I especially like the way Keri handles herself at the beginning when she is thrown into this new world. I also liked the character of Lucas even though I did wish for a bit more depth to him. The author’s language and narrative style is charming and easy going. It was really easy to get lost in her words.

What did not work for me was the basic concept of the Mist and what it meant for the different lands. In a time when the world seems to be getting smaller and closer, I really did not like the idea of whole clans isolating themselves from the others completely. Even though I am quite an introvert myself, I somehow just cannot get my mind around the fact that people would like to live like that. The world of fantasy is so inviting to me because of all the possibilities it represents. The never ending potentials are limited only by the imagination of all those who the story touches. And in this book the whole concept seemed limiting itself. I kept expecting Keri to bring a change. Also, the way magic is dealt with was a bit disappointing… I wished for more details on the concept and how one can master it, instead of it being just a predisposition in people.

Overall, it turned out to be an average book for me. It sure has its highs and its lows and I would leave it upon individual readers to choose whether the book appeals to them or not. 

Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.

She now raises and shows dogs, gardens, cooks, and occasionally finds time to read. She works part-time for a tutoring program, though she tutors far more students in Math and Chemistry than in English Composition.

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