Lainey is a sixteen year old girl finally coming to stride with her teenage years. After years of moving around the country with her Uncle Gareth, they settle down in a rural Georgia town. She's able to make a lovable if not crazy best friend. She works hard in school and plans to graduate early. There may even be her first boyfriend on the horizon. Everything is going Lainey's way. Until she starts being haunted by a ghost, finds out she's a witch and becomes the last Keeper of an ancient and powerful magic book called the Grimoire.
In Keeper by Kim Chance, we're thrown into a new kind of Urban Fantasy. One where not just witches and warlocks are real, but so are Fairies, Lycans, Seers, Shifters and a whole other slew of magical creatures you've probably never heard of. The story is fast paced, exciting and inviting even to readers who are new to the genre. Chance also does a great job of infusing humor and pop culture references into the story,
I was intrigued by the plot of this book from reading the synopsis. I always love a Fantasy book about an average person who finds out they are something extraordinary. Maybe it's the small part of me that is still bitter she never got a Hogwarts letter but enjoys feeling that thrill through characters on the page. The plot of this book definitely did not disappoint. I was flipping through quickly, pulled along by the thrill of the internal conflict Lainey goes through as she discovers who she is and also the mystery of the ghost following her. Additionally, the historic element through the flashbacks shared by the ghost were intriguing and a unique feature in the story.
Only near the end of the book do we get to see a real glimpse into the magical world living in the shadows of our own. Much of the story takes place in the real world, with average people, and Lainey and her group being the outliers. There is some fun scenes of Lainey discovering her powers through interacting with the real world, but Chance's writing really comes to life and take on a new quality near the climax and following resolution as we shift in to this new dark world Lainey has to navigate. Perhaps because it's Lainey's first time seeing this world, as it also is for the reader, but these scenes were vivid and memorable, especially compared to the world we've left behind.
The central characters of this book are Lainey, our narrator and fledgling witch, her best friend Maggie, an enthusiastic comic book addict, and Ty, a mysterious new comer to town that has Lainey's stomach doing flips. They are all realistic, flawed and likeable characters. Maggie certainly stands out the most, as she plays the "go-get-em" sidekick to Lainey's uncertain and often unwilling hero. Many of the other characters, our antagonist called "The Master" included, we don't get to know well enough for them to be memorable after putting down the book. The plot really pulls the reader along in this story more than the characters do. Part of this is because the book is so fast paced we don't get to slow down and get to learn more about them as we might in a longer novel, but the ending does set up a potential sequel for Chance so this might be remedied going forward.
Kim Chance's debut novel, Keeper, is a fun and quick read great for readers of all ages. The plot is exciting and will keep you flipping through the pages quickly, like I did. There's even a few twists in there that may through you for a loop! The story, characters and the setting come into the clearest focus at the end of the book as the open ending promises a sequel.