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Fantasy Romance Novel Review: Keeper by Amanda Ryan

Keeper by Amanda Ryan (The Dynasty Saga #1)

Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.

Amazon kindle US/UK


* * *
 Overall, Keeper is an okay read, and there are some good bits in it I really enjoyed, but as a whole it failed to engage.

We start with a good concept of Keepers who channel the flow of magic by being bound to a Magician who actually uses all this magic through the spells. The rest of the plot is fuzzy. Aren is ruled by Royal, who united the quarrelling Lords of the estates by acquiring lots of Keepers and wielding a lot of power. Okay, it's a model of medieval feudal state where the ruler is "primus inter pares" - first among equals. But what is Aren? How big is it? What is the state of technological advancement in this world?

Ilyas, the right hand of Royal, has great influence, but his duties (apart from killing discontents) are unclear. There is no mention of carriages, just wagons and horses, but there is a concept of precise timing (for example, a woman cooking says that dinner will be ready in 40 minutes). Amalia inquires if Ilyas travelled around the world, but if it is medieval world I don't see how he could have done it and still be in his early thirties. So, you see there were little anachronisms which needled me. I think the world-building needed to be developed more carefully.

Amalia and Ilyas are good characters while they bicker and work together as partners, but as a reader I didn't believe in their deep love for each other after only a little time together.

I also didn't like how we got so little information about Royal who was a huge part of Ilyas' decision-making. The ending was also pretty anticlimatic.

There were some beautiful descriptions of magical battles, clothes and Amalia's music, but the rest needed a good editor who would have driven the author to create a more cohesive, stronger story.

I believe the author has very good potential but needs more focus, and I wish her all the best in her future writing endeavours.

* * *
Так было очень всё средненько. В некоторые моменты читала я эту книгу с удовольствием, но в  общем тяжело было переваривать авторский стиль.

Началась книга с хорошей идеи. Хранители направляют через себя поток магии, который связанный с ними Маг может превращать в заклинания с помощью рун. Амалия - не привязанный ни к кому Хранитель, которая держит свой талант в тайне, однако её секрет раскрывается когда правая рука Королевы приезжает в поместье, где она живёт в погоне за магическим томом.

Проблема, по большей части, у меня возникла с построением мира в этой книге. События происходят в Арене, о границах которого я не имею ни малейшего понятия. Страна управляеется Королевой, которая захватила власть с помощью магии, связав себя со многими Хранителями. Её окружают Лорды, живущие в поместьях. В общем, по ходу это феодальное государство с правителем по принципу "первый среди равных". О самой Королеве, истории Арена и статусе Илиаса - королевского ассассина и правой руки нет практически никакой информации. Вместо этого Илиас и Амалия охотятся вместе за магическим томом, убегают от Лордов, предавших Королеву, и друг на друга огрызаются, пока их неприязнь внезапно не превращается во влечение и влюблённость.

Я заметила пару нестыковок и анахронизмов, например, фразы "ужин будет готов через 40 минут" и "ты наверное объехал весь мир", что в рамки средневекового фэнтези не влезало. Видно, что у автора хороший потенциал, так как моменты с музыкой Амалии, магическими битвами и одеждой были яркими, однако Аманде Райан  нужен хороший редактор, который бы помог ей подчистить две трети сюжета и отточить остальное. Так что, всех благ автору и удачи, однако скорее всего продолжать серию не буду.
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