It’s amazing how many books I find in the ‘Teens’ section of the library that I like. The back story is that there’s the ‘White Wolf’ on the island of Thira, who wants to eliminate all Keepers (literally keepers of knowledge, once based on Thira, who ‘split’ the world with words of power) so that there is no further threat to his power and expansion to rule over the Archipelago.
Nyssa is an orphan, brought up by an innkeeper called William, and his wife (now dead), living on one of the many islands in the Archipelago…. one day, she is at the docks, and curious about the strange ship sailing into the harbour. Shortly thereafter she is yanked off the street into a hiding place by someone, to avoid the ‘Shadowmen’ who came off that boat. She realises it’s Marius, one of the regulars at the inn. He takes her back to the inn, and William reveals to her that far from having no relatives, Marius is in fact her Uncle, and they are all three of them Keepers – identified by the crane tattoo on their arm. William’s tattoo is obscured by a clever design, and Nyssa and Marius depart. And then the adventure begins, and the book ends rather well, actually. This is not about spoilers, so I won’t say any more. Read it for yourself, it’s worth it.
What I like about this heroine is that she starts off having led a normal life. She doesn’t know she has words of power tattooed on the back of her head. She doesn’t know she had a twin brother. She doesn’t know she is a member of an guild that she knew of only as part of a legend. But inspite of all the things she doesn’t know, she’s no faint-hearted fool. She’s sharp, intelligent, assertive and does smart things rather than the sometimes stupid stuff fantasy novelists make their heros do; nor does she fall in love, which is a plus point.
This story has lessons woven in subtly, about honour, honesty, trust and family. I liked it. I would read it again. Apparently there’s a sequel. I want to read it.
A book designer, Arati has always enjoyed books and the world of imagination that they open up. She is extremely accident-prone, due entirely to absent-mindedness caused by thinking about books and their contents, instead of paying attention to what she's actually supposed to be doing. She reads multiple books simultaneously, and her choices range from cookbooks and design manuals to fantasy, crime and Regency romances.
She lives and works in London, UK and sells her art on paper and textiles at Etsy