Guest Review: Keeper by Kim Chance

Title: Keeper
Author: Kim Chance 
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Publisher: Flux Books
Paperback, 408 Pages
Published January 2018

Summary: When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother. After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic. With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.

Today on the blog we have a guest review from Lucia over at her self-titled website, Lucia BrucoliThey were kind enough to stop by and review Keeper and share their thoughts on it, and we couldn't be more excited to have them here as our guest reviewer for today! So without further ado, let's get into it!

So. I just finished KEEPER and am a mess of emotions, which is good because I love that in any book: The ability to leave me wanting more and wanting it to stop, confused but fully understanding, both happy and sad, and of course heartbroken. 

From the beginning: Lainey is a studious bookworm with a close friend called Maggie, who is absolutely hilarious and loves comic superheroes. First off, this duo is stunningly like one of my close friends and me, which already made me love the story. The plot is that Lainey starts seeing a bleeding woman, a ghost calling her name. After a bit of digging, she finds out she is her ancestor. The woman was a Keeper, as was Lainey’s late mother and Lainey discovers she is one as well. Keepers are witches with the power to unlock the Grimoire, a magical spell-book that is especially treasured in Lainey’s family, because it has a spell which The Master, a powerful evil warlock, wants. Lainey’s line of Keepers all gave their lives to preserve the book to save all magic. In all of this comes a boy called Ty, a handsome street fighter which Maggie rightly nicknames ‘Pretty Face’. The trio was priceless. 

The plot was very well-rounded, but at times, the pacing could be a bit too slow. This was due to the fact that the first half had internal conflict, while the last half had external. The first was great for character and setting development, as I could go into the characters’ minds and discover the world around them. However, it lacked action which was then included in the second half, which was my favorite. 

One of the things I loved most were the mind-blowing plot twists at the very end of the book… but one of them, the most ‘twisting’, wasn’t explained. Personally, I couldn’t find enough foundation and foreshadowing in the rest of the book to provide support for it, and it seemed to come out of nowhere. I hope this loose end will be elaborated in the sequel, SEEKER. 

The character dynamics, as I mentioned before, were amazing. All characters had depth, but I had a slight problem with Maggie. As much as I love the friendship between her and Lainey, I felt that she didn’t have a life outside Lainey and her adventures. Maggie’s motivation behind following Lainey was elaborated a bit when she said she was living her superhero dream, but this was revealed near the end and so for most of the book, it was like she was doing it all for friendship: which is great, except she always put herself at risk and in life-and-death situations without a second thought. She also seemed to know more than she could, given the circumstances, which brings me to my next point. 

There were numerous unrealistic instant-realizations throughout the story, in which the characters were aware of things and events without enough backup. They moved the plot forward, but left me re-reading the page, wondering how the characters knew something they hadn’t known before.

I also had a few doubts about the language used in the novel as well, for example words such as ‘panty-dropper’. It was clear that the author had done this to give the characters more ‘teenage voices’, but those words aren’t popular anymore, and there wasn’t any evidence of the novel being set back then. Fortunately, they decreased as the story developed.  Another problem with language use was that there was a lot of passive voice, strained prose, info-dumps, and filter words such as ‘realized’ and ‘felt’ that I mentally rephrased as I read. 

Then why do I give this book a rating of 4/5 stars without second thought? Because there were so many qualities that outweighed the rest. For instance, I simply loved Lainey. She is a relatable, dynamic, well-rounded character and I see so much of myself in her that it made me invested in the story. Contrary to many unrealistically-perfect MCs I encountered, Lainey was humane and felt fear, anger and sadness. We are shown her weaknesses, and that is why she felt so alive and real throughout the story. It is also worth noting that the writer included POC rep, which is shown with pride. 

What stood out to me most in the story which I loved was- love. There was a great romantic subplot, but also non-romantic love, from Lainey’s familiar love for her uncle Gareth, to the strange love she has toward weird psychic aunt, to the friendship-love she has for Maggie. Each character relationship was carefully crafted and made the characters feel alive because the reader could relate to the feelings they had for each other. The book displayed how staying by someone’s side through both good and bad times proves they really love you, and it was clear that the author put much work into cultivating those relationships. This made me cheer for the characters and develop empathy for them. 

Something else I loved about this book was that the prose was rich and vivid, transporting me into the scene, which was a major reason why I kept reading it. Chance skillfully appealed to the senses in her writing and made me feel many emotions throughout the story. She showed consistent themes such as ‘family’ and ‘destiny’, and created a gripping climax which was a real page turner. She’d put clues and foreshadowing before it, which made the experience all the more amazing when emotions peaked around the end of the story: I couldn’t stop reading! 

On a side note, I’d like to briefly mention the cover, which is gorgeous and really a work of art!!

In conclusion, even though there were some weaknesses throughout the book, I believe it was worth reading because the story and characters have stayed with me and I really can’t wait to read SEEKER. I recommend this book for fantasy and magic realism readers :)

We'd like to once again thank Lucia for stopping by The Book Bratz today to post this guest review. Don't forget to check out their website!

** Psst! Interested in guest reviewing on The Book Bratz? Shoot us an email at or DM us on Twitter (@thebookbratz) and we'd love to have you!

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