A Keeper’s Tale: Tomkin Thornhewn, youngest son of the Duke of Marshwell, has a problem: he’s not heroic. Regardless of his aspirations, the bookish, untrained young man is better suited to recording the deeds of heroes than being one himself. Which becomes an obvious problem when he finds himself clinging to a ledge above a sleeping dragon. And instead of wielding his family’s great sword with valor and skill, he drops it—onto the dragon.
The problem grows immeasurably worse when Tomkin himself falls off the ledge—also onto the dragon. And his problem reaches its peak when Tomkin, after being captured, discovers a maiden locked in a tower. But this is no sweet damsel. Not only does she refuse to be rescued, she refuses to even admit she’s in distress. It’s too bad for the people of Marshwell that Tomkin is the only thing standing – or falling – in the dragon’s way.
We often get books offered to us in our email. Sometimes they are great, but sometimes they are so very much NOT great. We’ve learned to be wary of these offerings, but we still look at every one because occasionally we will get books like A Keeper’s Tale. Great YA novels we totally would have missed out on ever knowing about if they hadn’t randomly shown up in our inbox.
It took me a long time to even open this one up and try it, because I couldn’t tell what it was like from the cover.
You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, you know.
Ha! As you well know, we do that all the time (with books, not people. Of course.) I was afraid that A Keeper’s Tale might be too high fantasy for me. That dragon’s eye on the cover is a clear sign (usually) of highbrow fantasy peoples, don’t you know. But once I cracked those virtual pages, I was surprised and delighted with how much I liked this tale.
I think that you need to stop judging us “highbrow fantasy people”. Just because you can’t hang with the erudite ones, don’t be a hater! Back to the book now. I loved the originality of this story. There is a tried and true (and often boring) recipe for a fantasy novel and A Keeper’s Tale took that recipe and turned it on its head. Our hero is a young man who is perfectly happy to stay at the castle and take care of the books and the realm’s complaints while his dashing knight of an elder brother and his father the king are off saving the world. Unfortunately, adventure comes to him in a fairly unavoidable manner. This book is full of sharp-witted repartee between Tomkin, the maiden and even the dragon. There is mayhem and disaster galore, much of it brought about by Tomkin himself. Oh, and the ending? So good. Just perfectly satisfying.
Well now that you’ve said everything there is to say about the storyline, I will endeavor to extract some nugget of thought out of my brain to add to this review. The most enjoyable thing about A Keeper’s Tale is the clever dialogue. I loved it for all the reasons Bubby long-windedly stated above. For this reason, I will entreat J.A. Andrews to write MORE! After I read this book and fell completely in love with the anti-hero Tomkin, I wished with all my heart that someone who could write so well would write like six books a year. Is that possible? Unfortunately, there’s only one more right now – A Threat of Shadows, which is the first book in the Keeper Chronicles series. A Keeper’s Tale is a standalone story in the same universe. No matter, it is a keeper (ha ha). Read it! It is available on Kindle Unlimited right now, too! Bonus!