Series: The Dynasty Saga
Keeper on September 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Pages: 313 pages
Aren is ruled by magic, a skill held by few and coveted by many. Magicians are powerless, however, without their Keepers – human conduits of power nearly hunted to extinction.
Amalia has managed to keep the truth of her rare Keeper ability a secret, despite serving one of the most power hungry, reviled lords of Aren. When a desperate bid for freedom is thwarted by none other than Lord Ilyas san Merin, the Right Hand to the Royal of Aren, Lia believes her luck has run out. The handsome yet deadly Lord Merin offers her a deal - help him track down a magical tome stolen from the Royal, and he will grant her asylum.
With no other choice, Lia accepts. Ilyas drags her across Aren in a frantic search to recover the ancient book, and in the process Lia learns she is not the only one harboring secrets. She is intrigued by the man and his mysterious methods, and before long Lia finds herself struggling to abide by the most important rule for Keepers who want to retain their freedom: remain untouched.
In uncovering a treacherous plot to launch Aren into civil war, Ilyas and Lia have little time to tread careful lines. Lia learns what it means to be a Keeper in a world rife with magic-hungry madness, and in the end she has to make a decision that not only will change her life, but also the entire world.
I came across Keeper after seeing Mandi Smexybooks’ rec on twitter. KU (Kindle Unlimited) can be a treasure trove for readers, but one downside–and this can be said about book publishing in general these days–is finding the good amongst so many books. I rely heavily on trusted reviewers/readers/bloggers when using KU.
Keeper is a fantasy romance with a love-to-hate-you trope. Lia and Ilyas are first frenemies, then reluctant partners, which slides into romance with the amazing tension that builds up throughout the book. I love slow-burn romances with smouldering tension that makes the pay-off towards the latter stages worth the wait.
The worldbuilding doesn’t go into great detail between Keepers and Magicians. Runes are used but there are no descriptions of the acts themselves. There’s a sort of ether the Keepers can venture into, but what makes the world and magic work remains a mystery. Thankfully the romance more than made up for the lacklustre worldbuilding.
Lia and Ilyas are on the move constantly. This is what I personally call a journey romance within fantasy, where the romance takes place on the road. There is witty, sarcastic banter with both protagonists circling around one another. Ilyas tries his best to distance himself from Lia but he’s totally smitten. Ilyas wants magic to be ridden from the world whereas Lia learns and is thrilled with her newfound knowledge of the magic a Keeper wields. The conflict is about their positions in the world, especially Ilyas loyalty towards the Royal and there are some life-changing scenes that turn everything upside down for both Lia and Ilyas and the world itself.
There is some needless adjectives littered throughout the book, and the ending I wasn’t hugely keen on, but I understood why Lia did what she did to some extent because all her life she never had the chance to forge her own life under her own terms. The epilogue has me all excited for the next book, Reign, because if Ryan produces another awesome romance I’ll have found me a new auto-read author. I’m just hoping the worldbuilding will have more depth.
I give Keeper a B