The Keeper by David Baldacci
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Oof, this book.
So, a caveat first and foremost. I read this for a specific reason, and I was not familiar with the first book in the series outside of the basic plot. Also, this was my first real exposure to David Baldacci, being, again, familiar with his earlier work for adults from my old bookselling days.
I read one Brad Meltzer book back in the day. I know his comic stuff is good, but I found his prose lacking for a traditional novel. It's not to say I love a lot of flourish, but a more workmanlike, dialogue-heavy prose doesn't always work for me. Baldacci, at least in The Keeper, is very similar to that and to books like James Dashner (for this age set), where solid descriptions take a backseat to a more workmanlike prose.
This is unfortunate, because The Keeper has a lot going for it, including some solid worldbuilding and interesting magic structures. Even coming in during the middle of the story, there's a lot to be engaged with in terms of what it offers in a fantasy about a girl and her companion trying to escape from an evil town. The action is good, but at 400+ pages, the whole thing just feels tiring as opposed to epic. It can be a difficult line to walk, but on a whole, it just should be better.
Obviously, start on book one. If the writing in that is anything like this, you'll know very quickly whether it's a book you'll be into or not. For my money, there are a lot of better fantasy books for this age group out there worth your time.
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