If you follow me, you know the drama I’ve had about this book. I won it in a contest probably 2nd week of April. Had hoped/assumed that it would be to me by the time I got to meet the author on May 8th. It wasn’t. So I ended up buying a copy that night. And actually, although I’d never read any books by Kelley Armstrong before, after hearing her describe it, I was extremely excited to read it, even though I’m not truly a fantasy fan. And I had heard this was high fantasy. Not sure if it really would be considered that or not though.
It was a pretty good story. Ashyn and Moria are twin sisters who are the Seeker and Keeper for the village. Ashyn is the Seeker, and the Seeker is used to find the bodies of the criminals that are taken into the Forest of the Dead, near their village. She is supposed to help quiet the souls of the damned that die in the forest. Her sister Moria is the Keeper. And I’m not completely sure on what exactly she does, other than she is more of a warrior, but she can also talk to the spirits. They each have an animal that is their, familiar, I guess you’d call it. It is a wildcat, that Moria has named Daigo, and a giant yellow hound that Ashyn has named Tova. The twins live with their father. This year will be the first year they do the Seeking on their own. And of course, as you’d expect, it doesn’t quite go as planned. A boy that Moria ran into before he got left in the forest to die is named Ronan. Ronan’s plan is to somehow find a weapon, and be able to live the year that they are expected to survive if they want a pardon. Another character in the book is a boy named Gavril Kitsune. He is from a warrior family, but when his family was disgraced, and his father sent to the forest, he was given this unwanted job of being a guard for the town. After the seeking, many, many things go wrong in the town. The adults are killed by what are called Shadow Stalkers, basically zombies. The children are all kidnapped. Several men, mainly Ronan and his uncle, have survived the year. Soon Ashyn and Ronan, and Moria and Gavril are on their way to find the children in a nearby town called Fairview. They must cross the Wastes, a horrible landscape, where they run into monsters that were only thought to truly exist in the fairy tales that Moria told the children to scare them. The two pairs are separate on their way to Fairview, but they meet up there. And from there they must journey to the emperor for help.
The ending had a pretty good twist, and now I’ll be looking forward to book 2 to see what will happen next. While there was a lot of what seemed to be Japanese type stuff in it, I felt it wasn’t just limited to that, and that may be what did draw away from it a bit for me. I don’t know if I assumed it was just a Japanese type world. But I guess not, it had other types in it. The twins are blond I believe, which talks about being from the North in the story. Still, a pretty good read, I would recommend it to fantasy readers.