Saturday, 2 January 2016

The Keeper's Vow

The Keeper's Vow

by B.F. Simone

3 out of 5

From the day he showed up on her front porch, he desperately needed three things: a new beginning, a place to belong, and someone to stand beside him.

By the time she figured that out, it was too late.

In a world where being half-vampire is a dark secret that tears families apart, 16 year-old Katie Watts must untangle the web of lies that is her so-called life. No one is who she thought they were. Her father is keeping secrets and everyone knows the darker truth except her. She has no direction, no answers, and—when she searches for the truth—no home.

As the web untangles, the truth pulls Katie and Tristan closer together, and they find themselves connected in more ways than she can believe. But—is honesty worth more than blissful ignorance? Can she live with the truths that begin with her dead mother and end with The Keeper’s Vow?

When a strange new guy starts stalking her, Katie suddenly realises that not only is the world more complicated than she could have thought; but her friends and family have been lying to her for years.

Katie is now aware of the guardians, and their duties; and the vampires and werewolves in the world.
After her rather forced decision to become a guardian, she is thrown in the deep end with training. There is a lot to learn, and as her friends have a three-year head-start, Katie has a lot of catching up to do.

I really liked the world that Simone has created, with its histories and prejudices. The school with the secret extra courses. The vampires, werewolves; the untouchable guardians. It was all wonderfully creative!
I liked the plot as well, I'd say that it's at the older end of the Young Adult spectrum; dropping the f-bomb and scenes of graphic violence. It nicely balances the danger of the fantasy world; and the realistic issues and stresses between family and friends.

I felt very sorry for Katie, she has put her trust in Lucy (basically her surrogate mum); and her best friends Allison and Brian. But it turns out that all of them have been - if not lying outright - hiding the truth of the guardians from her.

I loved the romance between Katie and Tristan, it is slow to develop and questioned throughout. It is so refreshing to read something where the guy isn't immediately infatuated and over-protective. If anything, Tristan goes overboard in pushing Katie to reach her full potential.

Which is all great, but I wish it had been executed a little more smoothly.
The first thing I will admit, is that I did not like Katie. She is very selfish, blind to whatever problems even her closest friends are going through. On the one hand, her selfishness is done in an intentional way, and is resolved by the end, and I'd rather her keep that personality flaw. I dunno, maybe if her personality didn't bleed so much into the narrative, it wouldn't hinder the story, for me.

I was often confused, in the first half of the book, and had to keep going back and re-reading. There were sections that were disjointed, going in one direction before jumping track, or being constantly blocked by Katie not wanting to know and/or other people refusing to tell. I suddenly felt like Tristan (the mind-reading vampire), overwhelmed by the unconnected thoughts being thrown at you.
There were parts that I never worked out:
((Minor Spoilers))
Why did Brian shoot Katie?
Why wasn't everyone more concerned about that?
Why didn't Lucy help rescue Tristan?
Where did Mercedes disappear to when Katie faced Eshmael?
Why did the "untouchable" thing pop up in some scenarios, and not others?
This got smoother in the second half of the book, as the story and plot picked up pace.

There were a few typos that made me pause. It only bothered me because I had to concentrate on the text so much because of the above point. There was probably one error per page - there were a variety of homophone errors, that wouldn't show up on a spell-check, but I'd hope an editor would spot.
The one that pestered me most: being "a part" of something, is very different than being "apart".

Overall, it is a creative world with an enticing plot, and I will be continuing with the series.

Goodreads link

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